I am curious as to why you would feed them at all when there is nectar coming in?
It is an irrational obsession…
Is it not preferable for the colony to grow in relation to available food source? Is the feeding simply to increase colony size in anticipation of a good flow & therefore more honey to rob, & wouldn’t doing so create issues with ratios of bees to brood/pollen/comb etc in terms of them managing the hive?
If you had a crystal ball, and if you were careful not to set off robbing and if you don’t attract ants, in theory you could help them build up in anticipation of a flow…
I am simply curious as to what people understand as benefits/negatives.
I think it’s the usual single level thinking. They think they are helping by feeding and don’t consider all the problems that feeding entails.
I thought perhaps by giving them wax foundation you would offset need to feed if the purpose of that was to provide bees with necessary to increase their comb building.
That is a theory, which I see no evidence of.
Oh and last thing why does having foundation make them slow down?
The way that bees build comb is that they festoon in a cluster and they work back and forth from one side to the other as they build. Foundation interferes with this process in several ways. It makes them build a particular size when they have in mind a different size, causing indecision, and it interferes with the communication involved in normal comb building. It gives them very little extra wax and according to many experts of the past, they will make the same amount of wax anyway, it’s just a matter of whether it gets used or not.
"Again, at all times of a heavy yield of honey, the bees secrete wax whether any combs are built or not; and if the sections are all supplied with foundation, and the hive filled with comb, this wax is wasted or else the foundation given is wasted; have it which way you please…To show that I am not alone in this matter regarding the waste of wax, I wish to quote from two or three of our best apiarists; the first is Prof. Cook, and no one will say that he is not good authority. he says on page 166 of the latest edition of his Manual ‘But I find upon examination that the bees, even the most aged, while gathering, in the honey season, yield up the wax scales the same as those within the hive. During the active storing of the past season, especially when comb-building was in rapid progress, I found that nearly every bee taken from the flowers contained wax scales of varying size, in the wax pockets.’
"This is my experience during “active storing,” and the wax scales are to be found on the bees just the same whether they are furnished with foundation or not; and I can arrive at no other conclusion than that arrived at by Mr. S.J. Youngman, when he says on page 108: ‘The bees secrete wax during a honey flow, whether they are building comb or not; and if they are not employed in building comb, this wax is most certainly lost.’
“Once more on page 93, of the American Apiculturist, Mr. G.W. Demaree says: ‘Observation has convinced me that swarms leave the parent colony better prepared to build comb than they ever are under other circumstances; and that if they are not allowed to utilize this accumulated force, by reason of having full sheets of foundation at hand to work out, there will necessarily be some loss; and I think that when the matter is computed, to find the loss and gain the result will show that the foundation really costs the apiarist double what he actually pays for it in cash’…Now, I have often noticed, and especially in looking back over the last year, after reading Mr. Mitchell’s “Mistaken Economy,” that swarms hived in June would fill their hives full of nice straight worker combs, and the combs would be filled with brood during the first two weeks after hiving; while a colony not casting a swarm would not make a gain of a single pound of honey; nor would a swarm having a full set of combs given them, or the frames filled with foundation, be a whit better off at the end of two weeks. Mr. P.H. Elwood has noted the same thing; thus proving that the theory that it takes 20 pounds of honey to produce one pound of comb, will not hold good in cases where bees desire comb and have free access to pollen. As most of my comb is built at this time, the reader will readily see that the combs cost me but little, save the looking after the colony once or twice while building comb, which is far cheaper than buying foundation, or fussing with a foundation mill.”–G.M. Doolittle ABJ Vol 20 No 18 pg 276