I’m a new beekeeper, just installed a package yesterday and am looking for tips or things to pay attention to when beekeeping in More wet climates. I’m in Grays Harbor county in Washington state and it’s constantly raining, luckily we’ve had our first streak of sunny warm days. What I’m worried about is the bees not being able to work as much when it does rain or things I should be on the lookout for due to the rain. I’ve put out a feeder with sugar water and they are going to town on it, is the sugar water necessary? And for how long should I keep the sugar water out there? I was told I should leave it out there until they are situated but I’m looking for more perspectives. Also, we get about 14 hours of daylight so the sun rises very early and sets very late, will this affect the bees? Any advice is greatly appreciated, thank you.
Since you are in Washington state I would look to @Gerald_Nickel for advice. He also lives in Washington and could provide some tips and techniques that will help in your climate.
Yes it is. If it is raining too much for them to forage, they need the syrup to help them build comb. I would continue until the weather improves and you can see honey being stored in the comb. If it was a nucleus, you may not need to feed, but for a package, I definitely would.
Bees have adapted to huge variety of climates over millions of years. Bees have been kept in the UK for many centuries and they do very well there. Given that the UK is around 5 degrees north of your latitude, those bees have even longer days and it doesn’t cause any problems for them. Just gives them a longer day to forage for nectar to build up their stores for winter.
Morning Neighbor !
Welcome aboard the Flow-forum. Looks like John n Dawn filled you in a couple days ago on helpful info here.
I live SE of Seattle 20 or so miles between Renton n Issaquah. It’s been nice getting a well deserved dry sunny spell now. Looks like might last near into the weekend (crisscrossing my fingers).
Your package of bees is starting from
Scratch (nothing). For now they will need 1:1 syrup forsure. It takes about 8 lbs of honey to produce 1 lb of beewax. So keep them feed for now.
Question: what type of feeder are you using. I normally use all top-feeders to help stop/prevent robbing from neighboring apiaries n wild colonies. Could you post a pix or so at your convenience please … I enjoy seeing others beeyards/apiaries.
I’ll add a couple pix’s from my Apiary I just took. Oooh don’t sweat the day light hours … your bees just go with the flow n inside your colony is buzzing in the dark anyway. Tonight sneak out (with a flashlight so you don’t kill yourself)… put your ear up tight to your new hive brood box n listen to the low drone of humming ! Kind of cool
What day did you install ??? And are your using foundation or foundationless. Especially if fountionless check once a week !! Our bees often do prefect up n down comb from the top-Bar but not always. The girls can sometimes get a little creative with side comb … Side comb n bridge comb needs removed n any comb not in straight up n down in the frames needs help/correction (put back in the vertical plane)…
Anyway … send best wishes n good luck …
Gerald @ Coalfield
Great catch, Jerry @Gerald_Nickel ! I missed that one. Jerry has a very important point, @Queenofthecrop. An outside feeder is a recipe for disaster, inviting robbing etc. Some form of hive top feeder inside the hive is my preference too. I use pail (bucket) feeders with a fine mesh in the lid. You just put the inner cover on top of the brood box, invert the feeder over that, put the Flow super (no frames) on top of the inner cover to make space for the feeder on top of the hive, then put the roof on. It won’t fit perfectly, but it works well enough.
If you don’t have time to get a purpose-made feeder, you can use a mason jar (or an empty jelly jar) from the grocery store over the hole in the inner cover. Just punch some very small holes in the lid with a thumb tack or similar, fill with syrup and invert the lid over the inner cover hole.
You can also use a ziplock baggie - just search the forum for baggie feeder to get the details.
Well I learned something new today “baggie feeder”. I have to feed from time to time, I’ll certainly keep that in mind. cheers
I used ziplock baggies to feed syrup to the little swarms I captured last year to give them a head start building combs. I only needed two snack sized baggies per hive over a couple of weeks and they seemed to work a treat.
Hi Cathie, I’m looking at some sandwich bags now thinking that I could hang one between frames with a tiny hole in the bottom. I have some honey from a fibro cut-out that no one wants to eat. Can’t blame them really, it was an older house.
I know someone with a feral colony in an old fibro dunny (outside toilet). Been there 16 years. Anyhow, she likes the bees and reckons they are bumblebees. Hope you see the humour. Anyhow, I guess not too many takers for that honey either
That cracked me right up @Dan2 . Maybe the honey is a bit on the dark side but the nice aroma of ode de toilete.
For those outside of Au, fibro before the mid 1980’s contained asbestos. I used to be a wall board plasterer before that & the stuff we used in wet areas, Villaboard & Versilux also contained asbestos. I don’t seem to have any effects after working with it for 10 years. Maybe giving up plastering to go fishing might have been a good move. No asbestos dust 30 miles out to sea.
PS, I AM a slow dimwit, I saw the funny side after reading Pete’s comment
I believe I installed four or five days ago, I had no idea about outside feeders being such a pest! I did make some odd makeshift drip feeder, it’s quite rough looking. I’m currently out of state but when I get back I’ll update you! I didn’t know there was another method for feeding inside the hive, I do have some questions, after watching flow hives videos on YouTube, when Michael bush was installing a package he said something along the lines of if you leave the hole uncovered the bees will begin building from the roof. By “the hole” I meant the hole that lets them enter into the super, and by the roof I mean the roof that goes on top of the flow hive. So if I uncover this hole and place a feeder with the super on top and no frames will the bees randomly build combs throughout the super? Also, if I place a drip one on top of the hole not allowing them to escape into the supers space will this soak the wood below if they drip down? Will this cause any type of rot or problems?
The way I used them @JeffH was to fill the baggie and lay it on a plastic lid from a two litre icecream container right on the top of the frames. When I got it situated I took a safety razor and slashed a couple of small gashes into the top of the plastic bag. Because of the surface tension it did not pour out, just oozed along the slash. I think the bees would have just lined up along the slashed edge to have a feed. The bag was empty a few days later with no sign of bees having been harmed.
Re the fibro honey, I guess giving it back to bees, if they didn’t eat it, would just transfer it to a different honey cell so people still wouldn’t want it. Is there a real risk that you know of?
I’m getting confused by what you are describing with the hole the bees go through to enter the super. Do you have another super apart from the flowhive?
Just wanted to say, the board with the hole in the middle is called the inner cover and should always be located directly under the roof, unless you need a dummy box to fit larger feeding containers on top of the inner cover under the roof.
I read your comment as if you put a super or flow super on top of the inner cover!?
If that is so, I reckon that’s wrong.
Apologies if I completely misunderstood your description of your hive configuration.
Hi Cathie, I saw a bloke on youtube doing it like you describe.
Lucky I only have about 3 kg. I’ll feed it to nucs, they’ll consume it or make wax out of it.
Don’t worry or painic ! When get home then you can deal with the hive, feeding n checks/inspection. I watched n read a lot … there’s a lot things that can happen but don’t sweat the small stuff. It really just one big learning curse.
If you need to … we can talk ! Here’s a couple demo feeder ideas.
Hello again Gerald! Just came back from a long trip and was eager to see what they’ve done or if they needed any extra help (More sugar water or protein patty) I’m new to all this but seeing the progress they’ve done since the last time I posted and opened the hive which was fifteen days ago I believe. They seem like they’ve gotten A LOT done, there’s an abundance of pollen in my neck of the woods, so much in fact it puts a yellow coating on EVERYTHING! Would putting a pollen patty or protein patty help even more with building comb in the hive ? I’m currently switching out the feeder I’m using because when I started I didn’t have the time or money to go out and buy one so I made my own makeshift one outside the hive which I am going to replace with a traditional feeder. The bees have filled the frames half way length and halfway width with comb.
Not really. Pollen makes baby bees, not wax. Whether they need feeding with syrup still will depend on:
- Your local nectar flow right now
- How much comb they have drawn
- How much honey they seem to have stored.
Some photos of frames fully out of the hive would help us to give you an opinion on points 2 and 3.
Very nice, thank you! You have a lovely brood pattern there, and a good amount of comb. They don’t look short of space.
I would not feed them if the weather is good enough for flying (not raining and wind less than 20mph). If they have that much brood, they don’t need any more patties.
I would inspect again in a week or two, and if it hasn’t changed much, consider feeding them some more syrup. On the other hand, if they are still building well at that point, then you don’t need to feed them any more. You should be having a good nectar flow right now with plenty of pollen, but perhaps @Gerald_Nickel can comment on the local situation.
You have done a nice job, well done!