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Feeding sugar syrop

how much syrop and how often would you feed a hive that has 5 populated combs?
Is it possible to over feed the bees?
Will they stop feeding when not hungry or will they just take the syrop and store it?


First … Bees will use n store sugar syrup thru-out the hive. A new startup hive need plenty if the local flow is lacking or poor to feed on n build fresh comb.

When feeding I carefully try to watch that my colony really needs it. Often a colony will store too much cause the queen to search for cells too lay her eggs.

There is NO Cut n Dry answer to feeding our bees. I do check my hives for needed honey supplies as autumn/winter approaches … If they are light on supplies I do feed for a short period to bring up the neccesary stores.

Some people do not feed at all. They believe it’s not natural or good for the bees. I personally don’t want my bees starving so inspect n feed according to the hives individual needs.

Not sure my answer is helpful. I’ve over feed n nearly underfed … Had to learn as I went …

Good luck n happy beekeeping,



how much syrop and how often would you feed a hive that has 5 populated combs?
In a nectar flow, none.

Is it possible to over feed the bees?


Will they stop feeding when not hungry or will they just take the syrop and store it?

They very seldom stop feeding. They are by nature hoarders and they will hoard syrup until the brood nest is full, the queen can’t lay and they end up swarming even with almost no bees…


Thank you both, but still I am looking for some baseline numbers.

As I wrote, I have 5 combs with bees and 3 empty frames (in one of them they started to build the comb at the beginning (when I was feeding them) and then stopped building (when I stopped feeding them).

It seems clear to me that they will use the syrop to build (draw?) the new combs but still I am not sure how much to give them.

Does 2 litters a day of 1:1 syrop sound reasonable for this size of a hive?

Would it be “safe” to make sure they have a “24 hours a day all you can eat buffet” of syrop - at least until they finish building the new combs?

Will they prioritize building over storing? or will they store to some percentage before they start building?



Where is your approx location? Northern or Southern Hemisphere ? If they have stopped building comb it sounds like there is limited or non nectar flow. Is your queen laying eggs, do you see various stages of white larva n capped brood. Is there addition empty cells for her to lay ?? I’m trying to understand also if this is the beginning of your nectar season or autumn (end)…

it’s a little difficult to answer not knowing some of the above info … I’ll see what you have written my tomorrow morning. Gerald

Hi Gerald,
Thanks for taking the time to respond.
I am from Israel. and we are on late summer here nearing autumn.
I will try to inspect my hive today looking for answer to you Qs to the best of my ability and post my findings later on.


I just check Israel high/low temps for average year. Highs: mid 80’s n Lows: 40’s n 50’s. But can drop to upper 30’s once in awhile. I’m not sure of your normal where you live but my temps can drop into the mid to low 30’s n sometimes mid winter into the 20’s. I live SE of Seattle about 20 plus miles in the foothills. So our temps will be a little higher n lower than the city.

With autumn soon upon you n it sounds like a newer Nuc (5 frame) colony needs stores/food/nectar. I would feed them because they have a limited time to prepare for your winter n no flowers n nectar flow.

Our last flowers will completely end late September to mid October. But this will be a limited nectar flow only !! I only have one Nuc (5 frame) I started it mid July. I have a second super on it n feeding them about 1 gallon of 1:1 syrup per week. It has helped them build comb but not enough to horde yet. At mid September I will finish feeding all my hives that aren’t up to quota with a 2:1 ratio syrup so they don’t have to dehydrate so much liquid from the syrup. This feeding is usually no more than a week or two to get stores topped off for winter.

Hope my comments help some. They are only guide lines not exact science. Gerald

. Me with my bees early this morning about 07:00 local time.

You can’t make them eat a specific amount. :wink: I doubt very much that they would take 2 liters per day. I have a hive which was attacked and robbed by Argentine ants - half the honey stores were gone. After we dealt with the ants, I fed them. The first feed, they took 2 liters in about 3 days. Since then, they seem to be using one liter every 3 days. Having said that, this hive was pretty well-established before the ants found them. Two deep brood boxes with the comb fully drawn and full of brood or food in one box, and comb 70% drawn in the lower box. If your colony is smaller, they may not be able to use syrup as fast as mine have. I would put a liter or two in the hive, and keep an eye on the level over a a few days - you will soon get a feel for what they are doing.


They will do what they think the colony needs. If they are short of space, they will build more comb. If they have plenty of empty space, they will store the syrup. It is really impossible to know until you feed and inspect afterwards. :blush:



Sorry to hear about your Ant Issues ! I see a few small sugar ants in my pollen trap tray but so far that’s it up here (Knock on Wood)…

I’m feeding my one 5 frame Nuc to try n get a full second box/super for their wintering over. Never tried to winter over Nuc’s. Actually until I ordered my bees last Fall I’d never heard that word or seen one. Strange how things changed since my early days. We only had 3# packaged bees back then. In started the Nuc 7/14 with borrowed supplies from other hives. My new queen seem to be laying okay so good growth n progression of my Nuc.

My Cedar Hive seems to be a little light on the food supply side. I tried the second pollen trap on that one. They never were happy or accepting of it. Not sure if the four weeks it was on they didn’t forage as good … My Flow-Hive did great with the pollen trap n still has done well adding extra honey/nectar n pollens. Each hive has such different traits. Kind of like my kids ! :smile:. Anyway … I added a top-end feeder to Cedar Hive with 1 gallon in it for starters. She how it goes. Still some good weeds n too early to stuff them with 2:1 ratio yet.

My other hives at the moment seen A-Ok ! :ok_hand:.

Have a great day Dawn,


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Ooooooh ! The raw white sugar was some from a sack of sugar that popped OPEN in the bed of my truck. I just swept into a dust pan n dumped in the feeder dampening it with a half cup of water !

thanks for all the additional comments.
after i fed them for two or three days during which they used aomething around 4.5 litters of 1:1 syrop i did the inspection with my guide and it was a really good inspection.
we got to see the queen and brood in different stages and it seemed like they filled quite many of the cells in the time they where fed. I will continue feeding and i hope that in my next inspection i will find that they continue to build the comb in the additional 3 frames.


Congrats on successful inspection. I am happy you have a guide/mentor to help. It is always good to have another to help n ask questions.

Facing your hive n numbering left to right … Which frames have brood/larva/eggs with maybe honey n pollen in upper corner n across top ? Which frames are empty ? Do you use foundation or not ? If you said, sorry I’m old n have forgotten. :smile:. Have a nice weekend …

the moon here last night, my ESL class last night n my weather station this morning. . Ta ta n take care … Gerald

Jerry, why are your watering a wheelchair? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :smiling_imp: :imp:

Wicked sense of humor today - I didn’t get enough sleep last night, watched a great movie with my hubby “A Little Chaos”… :smile:

Yep, it’s gonna be another hot one today. We must be on the same schedule…up early enough to see the moon and to get out to water before it gets too warm. No breeze today. The girls must have not slept well, they were a little aggresive today when I went to fill their sugar water. They have been really calm until today when two bumped the screen at my face and one ended up following me until I got to the house. Looking forward to a little cooler Temps tomorrow and for a few days into the work week.
Stay cool.


Maybe if I keep giving it Maricle Grow n Water … It’ll grew into a new Truck ! :sunglasses::+1:

Your turn (comment) … :wink::+1:

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just from memory:
1 is an empty frame
2 is an empty frame in which they started building the honeycomb
3 seems to have nectar/honey/polen but no brood
4 seems to have nectar/honey/polen maybe some brood
5 seems to have some brood in the center
6 seems to have nectar/honey/polen maybe some brood
7 seems to have nectar/honey/polen but no brood
8 is an empty frame

but as I said, its just from memory :slight_smile:

my empty frames (and partially build one) are foundation-less

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Hmm, appears light brood maybe … Next inspection make sure you have a Queen … She might be slowing down but there should be some areas 6 to 8" or larger of solid capped brood, various sized larva n some eggs too (my eyes often can’t see the eggs so I look for tiny to larger white curly round larva) … With a good quantity of continuing hatching workers your work force will dwindle thus NO Wax/comb building … How is your drone count ? None/few/many/excessive ?
Next time snap a couple pix’s of the brood n brood pattern … Even a couple of poor pix’s is helpful n best/clear/focus are most help for us to see n give best advice.

. Here’s a drawing from your description. Hopefully your queen is laying okay but slowing a bit as we end the summer. She should be starting to lay some of the hardier winter brood soon. Hopefully they can build more comb but not stuff all the cells with syrup.

Locally we still have some weed/flowers with pollen n nectar but it’s slowing as everything is drying out without rains. I’m
told we have last late season small nectar flow (English Ivy) that will supplement/help top off our honey/nectar supplies but I’m
still watch n learning too on winter prepping. We really didn’t concern ourselves back in the 1950’s n 60’s. We just harvest the honey frames n left double box stacked for winter back then. Seems most wintered okay. And those that didn’t we captured swarms the next Spring or brought in a #3 lbs package or two. Guess we weren’t that professional as I had no local mentor n absolutely didn’t have the Internet :smile:

This first season back I’m experimenting n learning a lot also. Things have really changed in beekeeping. New learning curve !

Got to go bro. Take care,

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