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Fall and winter feeding


#1

Fall is upon us and my bees are slowing down. There are still fall flowers blooming, but their numbers are dwindling. This is my first year with bees and will be my first year of overwintering. I want to do everything possible to get them to Spring. My hive currently consists of 2 brood boxes with several frames full of honey.

  1. When do I start feeding the bees?
  2. Fondant vs candy vs sugar water?
  3. Pollen patties?

#2

I started in August, because I saw this:

As you can see, the nectar flow ended in July, and the hive weight started dropping. I waited for it to drop about 10lb, then an inspection showed frames with space for food in them, so we started feeding.

Fondant and candy are really the same thing. When your overnight temperatures are consistently below 50F, I would feed fondant/candy or solid granulated sugar. The reason is that bees are very reluctant to take syrup when it is below 50F.

Again, you have to assess the brood boxes. If you have at least 2 decent frames of pollen, they probably have plenty until spring. In California, my bees keep gathering pollen all fall and into early winter, so they are almost never short of it. The dry climate allows pollen but stops the nectar. :wink: You may need to ask locals what they do, but I would certainly assess your hive’s stores too.