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Feeding a new hive


#1

I am a newbie… I have a flow hive that I will put out in the Spring. I will be picking up a package of bees in mid April. My questions:

  1. What is the proper sugar:water ratio for a brand new hive? I have read that in general in the Spring the correct ratio is 1:1 “to promote brood” and in the fall it is 2:1 to prepare for Winter. Is this the case with a new hive without any honey stores?

  2. How long should you provide sugar water for a new hive? I realize this depends upon the weather. Ideally I think when the local flowers are blooming and natural nectar is available that you would want to take the feed jar away and make your bees start foraging.

  3. Should supplements/vitamins be added to the sugar mixture?

  4. Should I use fondant?

  5. I’ve read mixed opinions on pollen patties as well. Should I use them for a new hive with no comb or stores?


#2

Lots of opinions on this. The traditional info is 1:1 in Spring and for new packages. It is said to promote comb building. However, I think Michael Bush uses 3:5 (water:sugar) year round, and his bees don’t care.

Exactly. A local bee club can help you with info on when the flow has started, if you are not sure.

I wouldn’t. Anything which adds a smell to the feed will encourage robbing, which would be very hard for a package to defend against.

Not in Spring

You probably won’t need them, as bees are very efficient at gathering pollen very quickly. If your local bee club says there is no pollen around, you might want to try a pollen substitute. I am very suspicious of other people’s pollen because of the risk of disease transmission.


#3

What is the proper sugar:water ratio for a brand new hive? I have read that in general in the Spring the correct ratio is 1:1 “to promote brood” and in the fall it is 2:1 to prepare for Winter. Is this the case with a new hive without any honey stores?

If I could make it I would always use 2:1, but it just won’t dissolve in my water. So I make 5:3. Always. It keeps better than thinner syrup. It works just as well for any purpose.

How long should you provide sugar water for a new hive? I realize this depends upon the weather. Ideally I think when the local flowers are blooming and natural nectar is available that you would want to take the feed jar away and make your bees start foraging.

If there is forage, I wouldn’t be feeding them. If they have no stores and it rains for several days, I would feed them.

Should supplements/vitamins be added to the sugar mixture?

I wouldn’t.

Should I use fondant?

Nice for winter. Not much good other times. But if you have no other way to feed them, they have no stores and nothing to forage, then anything is better than nothing.

I’ve read mixed opinions on pollen patties as well. Should I use them for a new hive with no comb or stores?

It depends on how many small hive beetles you want to raise… :wink: