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Author Topic: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding  (Read 305 times)

Offline BAHBEEs

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when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« on: September 23, 2019, 10:38:57 am »
If you live anywhere in the North Alabama and surrounding/adjoining states...you are probably experiencing very dry conditions.

I still see goldenrod, it has not yet given up in the low areas around where I live, but it is one of the few things still out there.  we have not had rain for around month now and the ten day forecast is dry as a bone.  Today there is a slight chance, but it isn't likely.  Watching the porch I still see lots of going and coming, and the late afternoon beards are amazing.

Last year we had a late but with rain fall and I got a lot of fall honey...this year...I worry.

At what point should one just give up, pull the supers and put on the feeders.  I know in a normal fall that the frost killing the goldenrod is my pull signal, but this year...in this dry...???

Barry

Offline saltybluegrass

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2019, 09:57:44 pm »
I?ve asked the same Q in my Swarms thread.
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

Offline Nock

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2019, 10:18:15 pm »
I?m wondering the same thing. I got one hive that is drawing some frames. The other I have been feeding. They are still working GR here even with out any rain in a month.

Online van from Arkansas

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2019, 10:32:58 pm »
BahBees, I am in same boat, wether wise, no rain in Sept, no rain in forecast for Arkansas.  Look at my thread, couple down hive weight 106 pounds...

I posted the latest hive weight graph, but I will post again for you.  Hive is losing weight every day.
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Bless the Beekeepers.  Dealing with venomous insects takes courage, patience, dedication and a desire to be with nature.

Online cao

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2019, 10:33:58 pm »
I have not had a noticeable fall flow for the last couple of years so my winter prep starts typically in august.  I try getting each hive either reduced down or adding boxes to give them enough room.  I like them to be at least three mediums or a deep and a medium.  Once I have the boxes set, all I need to check on is the weight of the hive.  If they haven't filled the boxes by the end of September, then they get fed.  Luckily most of my hives are up to weight already.

Online van from Arkansas

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2019, 11:36:23 pm »
Hi Cao, If I remember you have lots of hives, is 80 about right?

Do you community feed, if so what is your set up?  Thanks

Van
Bless the Beekeepers.  Dealing with venomous insects takes courage, patience, dedication and a desire to be with nature.

Online cao

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2019, 01:01:02 am »
The only community feeding that I do is the occasional setting out of cut out comb or leftover jar of crystalized honey.  I normally feed individual hives with inverted jars on inner cover.  The ones that don't take enough feed will get sugar bricks added when it gets cold. 

I really try my best not to feed at all.  My splits are done with by July 1st.  So I really start my winter prep then.  This gives most of them time to grow big enough to overwinter.  This year I have several hives that I have not harvested any honey from that will be donating their excess to the smaller hives.

p.s.
And yes I have a lot of hives, at last count I have 85 hives.

Offline BAHBEEs

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2019, 10:14:43 am »
Thanks for posting that Van.  Since I see them working the GR and the few other tougher flowers I had been waiting...But looking at your graph, I may as well pull the excluders tonight and then clear and pull supers tomorrow.  Then I will put Hive top feeders on em all (6).

This weather is awful...for the beezes and my sneezes.

Barry

Offline BAHBEEs

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2019, 10:28:01 am »
Another related question.  As it is so dry with so little forage, can I assume all the honey in the supers is "dry"...capped or not?

Online van from Arkansas

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2019, 12:47:15 pm »
If the honey is not capped, there is a reason for that.  Most likely the honey is not cured to meet the bees specifications.  The honey must be below 18% moisture and the last step before capping the honey is enzymes are added by the bees.  Some of these enzymes prevent the honey from absorbing moisture.

So the honey may have the correct moisture content, that is DRY, is the words used in the previous text, but enzymes have not been added to the honey satisfying the bees demands prior to capping. 

Either way, capped or not, leaving the honey in the hive will satisfy winter food requirements as long as the bees can get to the honey and there is enough honey.

Van
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Offline BAHBEEs

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2019, 02:31:36 pm »
This would only be Honey from supers.  I run double deeps for brood boxes and with our shorter milder winters (as compared to many folks on here) with a good couple of weeks with the feeder on top, they seem to over winter well.

The local State Apiarist was amazed that I got (as a new beek) both of my 1st hives through last winter, when many lost theirs.   I attribute it chiefly to one thing: from the 1st frost that got the GR last fall, till the 1st hard freeze I kept adding feed.  That is also about when they pretty much stopped taking any.  The lift told that they where quite heavy by the time they went into winter cold temps.

Whatever they have in the bottom 2 deeps they keep.  My question was more targeted at the frames I know are not fully filled, and what to do with what I pull out of them.  I think you still kind of answered it though as if the enzymes are not in the mix, it likely is not going to be honey I want to collect.  I will just follow my usual "collect anything that is over 3/4 capped", let the bees clean out the other less capped frames.

BTW, what brand system are you running for the Genius hive stuff?

Offline Nock

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2019, 02:55:20 pm »
I have not had a noticeable fall flow for the last couple of years so my winter prep starts typically in august.  I try getting each hive either reduced down or adding boxes to give them enough room.  I like them to be at least three mediums or a deep and a medium.  Once I have the boxes set, all I need to check on is the weight of the hive.  If they haven't filled the boxes by the end of September, then they get fed.  Luckily most of my hives are up to weight already.
Why would you want to reduce down?

Offline BAHBEEs

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2019, 04:15:17 pm »
You reduce down because if you don't, there is just too much room in the hive for the bees to effectively patrol, giving pests an opportunity to grow in to a problem.  I think too much room in winter would be much harder for them to keep warm.

Its a balance.  Not too tight on space when they are actively gathering stores so they don't swarm, balanced by not having too much room and then having a wax moth or hive beetle explosion.

Offline Nock

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2019, 06:44:39 pm »
I get doing if nothing there (empty supers). But say you leave a super full on top of two deeps.

Online cao

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2019, 07:46:48 pm »
The main hives that I need to reduce down are 5-6 mediums tall.  I only need 3 mediums for them to overwinter.  4 would be a bonus.  The extra boxes do no good for those bees and I don't need any more honey so those extra frames will go on smaller hives that need the feed.

Offline Nock

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2019, 07:58:01 pm »
The main hives that I need to reduce down are 5-6 mediums tall.  I only need 3 mediums for them to overwinter.  4 would be a bonus.  The extra boxes do no good for those bees and I don't need any more honey so those extra frames will go on smaller hives that need the feed.
Just 3 mediums total?  Both mine are two deeps. I?m thinking that will be fine. I have one that has drawn out couple frames in a super. The other hasn?t yet. My plan is to give it couple more weeks to see what the one with a super does. Then pour feed to them as well. Still trying to get a little honey.

Offline yes2matt

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Re: when to give up on fall honey and start feeding
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2019, 07:54:23 am »
In Charlotte NC, we keep Halloween as a target date for winter weight. (really Nov 1 but Halloween is easier to remember) ... so whatever hive configuration and weight we're intending to take into winter are ready by then.  The bees often have different ideas, of course, but it's helpful to have a plan to deviate from.  We have a really mild winter here, but sometimes a nasty spring. I aim to have a single 10-deep full (70 lbs) and "mountain camp" sugar on top. I wouldn't tell you to do that tho :)

Two years ago all along the edge of the roads within forage range of my house was goldenrod and different asters. Then the developers bought a couple farms, and now pressure the city to keep it mowed. So goodbye poison ivy in spring, goodbye goldenrod in fall. I've got a little trailer here and might have to use it.  :/