Honeyflow.com | FAQ's |

Feeding 1:1 sugar syrup

I have had my Flowhive2 on the brood hive for about 5-6 weeks now.the bees are getting up there but no sign of honey yet There are a lot of capped cells on the brood frames.
To try and encourage more bees to transfer to the Flowhive I placed 750ml of 1:1 sugar syrup on the board on top of the Flowhive, over the top of the round hole. They knocked it off in 2 days and there are now many more bees in the Flowhive.
Does this mean that there is no nectar or pollen around so they turned to the sugar syrup ?
We do have quite a lot of Banksia’s in flower at the moment.
Look forward to any advice.
Cheers, G

Hi George I don’t know about your area but here the nectar flow has certainly come to an abrupt end. Perhaps you put it on a bit late in the season?

You do not want to feed sugar to be stored in the frames you want to harvest.

How much honey you have in the brood box? I think that if the bees are consuming the syrup at that rate it may mean they are short in honey store or are not finding enough.

I’m a beginner like you and hopefully smarter advice will come below.

1 Like

Hiya George, +1 to Perth’s post, you should not be feeding while you have a super on.
I’d also like to add that I’m not a fan of feeding, yes sometimes it’s necessary however at this time of the season feeding can provide a false economy.
We don’t want the colonys to expand if there isn’t enough natural nectar around to sustain themselves.
The brood nest should be contracting as the bees fill the frames in the brood box with stores preparing for winter.
Its good that the bees have made a start on the Fframes which should speed things up next spring.
If the Fframes aren’t full by now there’ll be no more harvest this year.
Off with the super and check for stores and feed only if required. :+1:

1 Like

Take your super off the colony isn’t ready or strong enough.

Be patient the bees are in charge not us.

I have removed the flowhive2 from the brood hive.
I found 2 flowhive frames with about 15% uncapped honey, the other 4 frames were empty
I will now leave the flowhive2 off till the start of spring.
Is it ok to leave the uncapped honey in the flow cells till next spring ?
I will then place the flowhive2 back on the brood hive.
The brood frames are looking really good and healthy, the middle 5 frames are full of brood and capped honey, there is still some room on the outside frames (3)
I’m still on a big learning curve, Cheers, G

1 Like

Hi George if it was me I would drain them and feed them back to your bees, but I’ll wait for @skeggley’s advice and see what he says.

Hi mate, my understanding is that uncapped cells don’t contain ripe honey, so unless you freeze the frames until next season, the unripe honey in the cells will ferment. I’d hazard a guess that it’s sugar water in those cells anyway if you have been feeding.
I think what you’re saying George is that there is room in the brood box for more honey? Ideally you’d like the brood box’s outer frames full of stores come winter. Yes there is forage wintertime however if we get a week or 2 of low temps and rain the bees will need those stored stores and the more bees in the hive the more stores required which is why you don’t want to be loading the colony up with bees and brood at this time.
So what to do with the uncapped cells in the Fframe? I think Perth is right about feeding it back so they can draw out and fill the outside frames if they aren’t already.
I think you’ll find that the bees were only dehydrating the honey in the Fframes and then moving the honey down to the brood box which they may have done once you stopped feeding.
You could try putting the crown board, with the hole open, beneath the Flow super and trick the bees to thinking it’s outside the hive so they move it down into the bb. Hopefully we’ll hear from somebody that’s done this and can confirm.
Keep in mind as the Fframes are waxed they will need freezing to kill any wax moth eggs and then wrapping over winter in storage.
Once again, now the Fframes are drawn out you will be ahead come spring, if you open the frames to drain the bees will need to repair before filling with the good stuff.
Sorry for being long winded but felt I should explain my reasoning. :nerd_face:
And to be sure, I may be wrong, I frequently am.

2 Likes

Hi @skeggley and @Perth, Thank you for your valuable feed back, especially @skeggley.
I have decided to drain the flow cells which do have uncapped honey in them and feed it back to the bees.
After I removed the Flowhive, I left it out on the deck and a couple hrs later the bees vacated the flowhive and I was able to drain the honey in the shed.
I will store the flow frames in the freezer for a few days and then wrap them up securely.
I will inspect the brood boxes every 4-6 weeks to make sure they have a sufficient supply of honey over winter.
Thanks again for your valuable replies
Cheers. G

2 Likes

It wasn’t my question but still appreciate the time you took to explain mate. As a fellow beginner I learn from these ‘long winded’ replies.

Thanks.

No worries mate.
I’m a multiple trade tradesman and have worked with a wide range of people and I’ve found that there are too many tradies out there who don’t share their knowledge, whether it’s because it’s their job security or selfishness I don’t know, ‘magic’ was a word I’ve heard too much. I learned the most from those who explain why or how something happens and it’s consequence so I try to do the same and I guess it’s rubbing off on here. :crazy_face: Sometimes explaining something helps to understand it better yourself.
I come to these forums with the desire and willingness to learn like yourselves. They say it’s best to learn from your mistakes, I say it’s best to learn from others mistakes. :wink:
To be honest I’m still a newbee myself and appreciate all time and information everyone puts in on this and other forums which is what makes me come back to these communities and am happy to help out where I can.
Thanks.

3 Likes

Just a note to Australians, it’s against our Biosecurity requirements to feed honey to bees. This is part of our AFB prevention. Any plan to feed honey back to the bees would have to exclude any possibility of other bees accessing it. Open feeding or leaving equipment out for the bees to clean up including stickies, Flow frames, extractor, buckets, filters, tools, gloves or anything else with honey is forbidden. To feed honey back to a hive would mean putting that honey inside the hive as long as there is no possibility of robbing.
Cheers,
Mike

2 Likes

Thanks @aussiemike I am aware of that. The honey was placed under the roof of the flow hive. Only the bees in my brood box have access to that. The entry is narrowed down to 45mm wide and protected by a wire screen to prevent any robbing. However, your point was well made and will be useful to anyone not aware of these requirements.
Cheers, G

Here in the West it is illegal to open feed honey however you can open feed sugar syrup.

Excellent method, George. There’s a lot of new Aussie beeks that get information from YouTube where feeding honey is common place, so I thought it best to clarify. When I first started, I didn’t know and left gear out for bees to clean up until one of our Biosecurity officers did a presentation at the bee club. Fingers crossed, still no AFB.

2 Likes

Skeggley, I think sugar syrup open feeding is fine throughout Australia, as long as the feeder is place far enough from any hives that it won’t trigger robbing.

1 Like