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Feeding sugar water in Australian drought

The Drought here in Australian continues. I live in South East Queensland and my nucleus hive is struggling. I would like to know if two sugar to one water is correct for feeding. I have them in a 10 frame box and the outside frames are new foundation. Will they use that ratio for feeding as well as wax making or do I have to go to a 1:1 ration? I would like to know what other beekeepers are doing. I put a second empty story on top just for feeding. I plan to use a one and a half lt chook waterer to inside to feed them.

1:1 would be correct at this time of year for you. Two to one is an autumn feed. :wink:

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I came across this seasonal diet before, but I do not know why it is so.

Why twice the concentration in autumn? Is the nectar they naturally collect in autumn twice as sweet?

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Hi Greg,
I had to do a few months of feeding 1:1 internally with an empty box on top and a chicken water hopper gizmo. Amazing how quickly the bees will take it up. I’m at Coolum Beach and was feeding from April till July but then there was enough nectar in the heath and bush land for them since July.
The bush fires haven’t been kind but it could be a lot worse.
It will soon happen that your colony will really take off in size and they will build out the comb for a full hive of brood.
Cheers

1:1 prompts brood and comb building. It is said to simulate a more natural spring/summer nectar

2:1 prompts stores as it is more quickly processed to a lower water content.

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Thanks everyone. I will feed 1:1. I will take a pic of the feeding and send soon.

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Thanks Adam, I thought there must be some logic behind it.

There is plenty of research to show there is no difference to the bees between 1:1 and 2:1 when the weather is warm. I would feed 2:1 all the time if I could get it to dissolve in my water and not crystallize. As it is I make 5:3 all the time. It will take the bees less work and you have less syrup to haul but most of all, the syrup will not spoil for a very long time when it’s thick compared to 1:1. And because of that I would never ever make 1:1 syrup.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#ratios

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With all due respect to @Michael_Bush’s post (and he always deserves respect :blush:), there is an argument in hot climates that 1:1 syrup is better for the bees as it provides them water for cooling as well as food. Any syrup that you feed them will be dehydrated if they take it, and they do this by fanning. Consider that ripe honey is no more than 18.6% water, and syrup is 25-40% water, depending on how you make it. The extra water in more dilute syrup may well help with hive cooling, especially if water sources are scarce around the hive.

Just a thought. :wink:

The theory behind that is based on what I said above. In order to store the syrup and use it, they will have to dehydrate it. That means fanning, which cools the hive. Cooling the hive in autumn is not necessarily the best thing to be doing, so the higher concentration means less fanning. :blush:

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I would like to see the chicken water gizmo because I have a chicken water feeder myself and the bees crawl up into it.

Thanks Dawn for explaining that. Knowing why, I find it easier to remember.

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I guess in your climate there is not the evaporation rate as I have of the water. I tried a 2:1 rate and ended up with a layer of sugar crystals in the bottom of my feeders so I reverted back to 1:1 figuring it my better option.
Cheers

I ended up at 5:3 because 2:1 crystallized here as well. But there are people who seem to have no issues, so I assume it’s the minerals in my water.

If your bees need water it should be readily available at all times, not just when you are feeding… Spoiled syrup is not very useful and is very wasteful. I suspect it’s not very good for the bees either.

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I’m not sure if it is the minerals in the water or just the ultra low humidity and high temperature causes the evaporation here with me. Good luck to those that don’t have that issue. JeffH is only about 10 miles away from me and he hasn’t needed to feed his bees, a different micro climate.
Research is fine if it is not done to get the results that are wanted, but that sort of research is seldom done with an open mind.
Cheers.

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Here is my 1.5 lt waterer used to feed my bees sugar water. It has a small hole to let the liquid out.

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That is the same one as I use Greg, they do a perfect job and I like the extra capacity over others I have tried. The coke bottle entrance feeders are a real lemon. Thanks for the pic.
Cheers

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Feeding inside the hive hopefully eliminates robber bees and ants. Everything is hungry in a long drought.

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I agree with you there, but I can’t remember the last time I had 1:1 spoil. Yes I have seen it, but it must more than 25 years since I last saw mold etc. I currently acidify with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) powder to pH 4, testing with pH paper strip, and it never seems to spoil. The pH adjustment also takes it closer to nectar pH, which must be better for the bees too.

Before that, I used a teaspoon of household chlorine bleach per gallon, and that never spoiled either, even after a month. I know that bees will drink swimming pool water, but I got the sense that Vit C would be better for them than bleach (you can’t use both), so I switched to that. It seems just as effective at keeping the black strands away.

Not necessarily I found out this weekend Greg. I saw ants crawling on the crown board next to my feeder this weekend. I greased the legs of my hive stand but the little buggers teleported themselves inside the hive anyway. Or they found a bridge.

Enterprising critters those ants.

Just replying to Dawn, and others about the sugar water going off. The One litre that I give them is gone after 24 hrs, so is it the storage of sugar water the problem? I keep mine in the fridge for only about two days.

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