Are my hives honeybound?

The plan looks like its working mate!

Had a quick look today and all the extra frames I’ve put into the colonies were at least half drawn and all with eggs!

I just hope the weather stays warmish enough for the next 3 weeks that the brood doesn’t get chilled

I put pollen patties on because I haven’t noticed much pollen coming in. Do I put the pollen patties above or below the hive mat?

Also, most of them have finished their 2L feeders in 3 days. Wouldn’t it stimulate more if it was smaller bursts of feed? Say 1L?

Glad to read the update RaniK that the colony has the room to expand and the feeding is working to stimulate the bees to making comb and room for the queen to lay eggs.
As you have insulated the hives that will make it easier for the colony to maintain the inside temperature in the hive. As the bee numbers build up it will get easier for the bees.
If you need to add pollen patties then put it on top of the hive mat, it is a hard one to advise if you need to feed the bees pollen, when I was in the Hawkesbury I never had a shortage of pollen there. I would think if you look at bees returing to the hive and about 30% are bringing in pollen then they probably are foraging enough. Actually up here I have to remove frames of pollen, the bees don’t seem to accept enough is enough and the frames become pollen bound.
If the colony is going thru 2L of syrup in 3 days then it is because they need it to make comb and to get the colony up to normal hive strength and maybe even build up their stores for Winter. I would feed them constantly as as much as they take till they stop. When the colony is finding enough nectar from flowers they will take up less syrup. Cutting back on syrup won’t stimulate them, it will have the opposite effect. Once all the frames are built out with comb and the frames are covered with bees if the store cells are empty you might then consider feeding 2:1 sugar to water till there is food to get them thru to Spring in the cells.

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Quick questions Peter, every how often do you sterilise your feeders?

Should I be washing them every time I refill?

I use hot water out of my hot water system to dissolve the sugar faster. I really doubt the feeders need sterilizing too much but I play it safe and soak them in Nappy-San when they have been on a hive for 4 weeks or when I have finished feeding that hive before doing another. I don’t rinse between refills, I use an air tight 20 litre plastic jerry can with a tap on it.
I know another bee keeper who doesn’t even rinse them out when he finishes using them and says he doesn’t see the point.
A busy day for me, one of my regulars rang me last night with an order of 70Kg’s of honey for a pick up tomorrow. Some of my Poly hives were honey bound so I extracted 4 frames from each hive to fill the order.
Really cold today here, just made 26C at the apiary…

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Yeah I had some syrup sitting outside for the last week or so, even though it hasn’t been warm here over the week I think I should dump it and make another batch.
I’m starting to see some greyish spots on the white pale feeders.

I’m thinking of putting in some citric acid and apple cider to prolong its life. Also considering adding some vitamin C… Thoughts?

By the way, what did you mean when you said “just made 26C at the apiary…”?

The grey spots sounds like bacteria so I would sterilize them. I would only make up enough syrup the night before you put in in the hive. The only additive I add is a table spoon of sea salt in 20 liters of syrup. Just an observation but bees will head for a salt water swimming pool in preference to clean water.
There is a video on YouTube with research on bees going to 5 different offerings, tap water was the least visited (maybe they don’t like the smell of chlorine in tap water) but by far the most visited was the water with sea salt added. I don’t recall what the other 3 had added to them.

Yesterday it only got to 26 Celsius at my apiary, the coldest day so far this season.

That’s very interesting, haven’t seen that before. He used 1 teaspoon per litre. But obviously that’s for water. So stick to 1tablespoon per 20l of syrup?
I have the pink himalayan salt

You’re lucky mate, the warmest days we’re having top out at 19C

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Hey Peter, I have noticed that the bees bring down the syrup slower with a hive mat on.

Is it because they’re not in contact with it?

I haven’t found that when I feed my hives, with a hive mat they can still smell and find it. So they will take it down into the hive if they need it and there is storage room for it.
They will reduce taking it if there is an increase in nectar available in their foraging range as bees much prefer that to syrup. That they are not taking it as fast I would take as a good sign that nectar is about.

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Up here in Warringah my hives have been hauling in loads of pollen and nectar for the last week, slight slow down with the colder temps in the last few days but still active from about 9-10 degrees C.

I was worried I needed to feed but there is an overwhelming smell of evaporating nectar almost daily, they never stop in Sydney cos we don’t really have winter lol.


Food for thought to consider Steve, your mid Winter isn’t much different to mid Summer in places like Canada, Scotland and Norway. Bees are very adaptable to a big range of climates, amazing insects.

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Hey Peter, it’s now been 3 weeks exactly since I opened this thread.
I’m still feeding 1:1 and they’re still taking it down. Couple of hives take a litre a day while others a litre in 3 days.

Should I keep it up?
I’m worried that there might be too many mouths to feed if the colony is too jig and they won’t have enough stores to last, whilst it’ll be too cold to feed 2:1 for them to build stores…?

I would start to reduce the amount given to the hives that are reducing the amount they take but the hives taking a litre a day obviously still have room to store it and this being the first week of Winter I would continue feeding those hives till they also take less in, then cut back on them too. Probably too cold there to even get a warm enough day to do an inspection to check for how much stores is in the hive. For those hives still hungry I would change to 2 parts sugar to 1 water now which will become Winter stores.
I’m hoping when out state borders open up to get down to my brother in the Southern Highlands and will be passing thru Campbelltown so could call by if you like, even if just to put a face to the name.

Heck yeah mate I’d love to meet you in person! Your help and advice has been invaluable!

What’s the minimum temp to do a quick inspection of just the outer frames (stores)?

Also just confirming, with the hives taking the syrup slowly keep it at 1:1? And the ones that are fast switch to 2:1?

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The hives that are slow taking the syrup I would stop feeding now as I’m suspecting the frames are getting full of stores. The hives still hungry I would keep feeding till their uptake drops off.
I figure that the comb building need is tapering off so those on 2:1 I would switch to 1:1 which will become Winter store supplies. The hives not taking up the 1:1 I would stop feeding, I suspect there is not much in the way of empty cells for stores, ok.When the bees in those hives reduce to about a litre every 3 days then I would stop feeding them as well. They will forage locally for what they need and what they have stored should carry them thru.
When you see the first of the Wattle flowering it is a sure sign of Spring and good foraging for pollen and nectar. So then make ready with supers.
PM me your email and phone number and when I am making a schedule up for heading down I will let you know. I have quiet a few to call on down your way but always happy to call by and get out from driving for a while.

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