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Cold Bees: Syrup or Dry Sugar?


#1

Today/tomorrow: 45F-55F
Sat/Sun: 45F-60F

This is a newly-installed package (yesterday); my first.
I assume these bees are starving/dehydrated.

The feeder bag’s contents don’t seem depleted. Too cold for bees to drink?
Time to give them dry sugar?

Later today, I’m due to take receipt of a center-entrance top feeder.
Since it’s two spaces partitioned by the entrance slot, should I put just syrup in both sides , just dry sugar in both sides or put dry on one side and syrup on the other?

Once the temp approaches 60F this weekend, I assume they can start drinking, but my concern is their immediate survival needs as I approach the 24hour mark after installation yesterday.

Thank you.


#2

I don’t know what you are using for a shim for the baggie. If it’s a full box that has risk, even with the baggie feeder, of them getting up in that box and building comb. If it’s only a inch or so, then yes, dry sugar could work on top of one sheet of newspaper on top of the top bard. A complete empty box though, is risky as they may get up there and start building comb. You can also just heat the syrup as hot as you can stand to put your finger in, so it won’t burn the bees, but will stay hot as long as possible. Of course that will cost another baggie. usually, though, the baggie feeder, being on top and (I assume) on top of the top bars it’s usually in contact with or just next to the cluster and this usually keeps it warm enough in the temperatures you are listing (45-55F). It’s still a matter of what temperature the syrup gets to and at 45 F at night it still might not make 50 F in the day eve if the outside temp is 60 F unless it’s in contact with the cluster.


#3

Thank you Michael.

Let’s say I can put a screen under the Flow gabled roof to prevent comb building there…

What should I do once the top feeder arrives w/r/t drysugar vs. syrup. Both, or just one or the other?


#4

Most of those feeders have a one gallon capacity per side. I don’t think you need to make up that much, so I wouldn’t fill both sides. I would put a quart or two of syrup in one side, and leave the other empty for now. You have the option of trying dry sugar, or even a feed patty with protein in it in the other side if they aren’t taking the syrup. However, if you warm it, or put in something like Honey-B-Healthy, I bet they will go nuts over it! :smile:


#5

Bees going nuts over syrup seldom ends well…

Not sure I understand. Where will the sugar go? For the most part I only use dry sugar in the fall to get through winter. It’s not a great idea to have excess space when the colony is in build up mode in the spring. So IF you are doing to do dry sugar it should be in contact with the cluster (that is kind of the point) and the space it’s in should be small enough to not tempt them too much to build comb there. So I want it directly on top of the top bars (on a sheet of paper) and I want it in a space not much more than an inch tall so they won’t try to build comb there until they run out of room and I hope to have it off before then.


#6

I’m getting a nuc on Sunday and was thinking of putting a sheet of newspaper with some dry sugar on top of the frames when I move them over from the transport box into the permanent one.
It is spring here but I asume they will most likely need a day or two to find their way around to some food.
Is this a good idea? How much sugar should I leave them if it is?


#7

I would ask your nuc supplier what they think. If they are fairly local to you, they will know how the nectar flow is going. Second, inspect the frames when you install them. If you have a whole frame’s worth of stores of honey and pollen, they have a week’s worth of food and shouldn’t need extra.


#8

This is a bad time of year to leave bees any excess space where you don’t want them building comb. That’s why I would seldom use sugar this time of year. Cold would be my only motivation to do so.