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Keep feeding first year colony

I am feeding my two first year hives. They consume over a gallon of sugar water a day, i am using a trough type feeder.
Should i feed them everyday? Can you overfeed?
Any thoughts appreciated as always

Hi @Marc1.

They are not going get obese and suffer shortness of breath on attempt to climb couple of cells up. But your sugar needs room in hive to be stored. At some point it is going to limit nest size and may provoke bees to swarm.

To help with answering this question, could you please explain what are you trying to achieve feeding them a gallon a day? How many days are you doing this? What is your heves setup and size of the colonies? Is it a nectar dearth in your area?

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That is a heck of a big volume for one hive. Do you mean a trough outside the hive, or inside?

how strong are you making the syrup? could they be using it as water as much as food? i’m completely new to this, just got a nuc a few weeks ago & i’ve been using a jam jar feeder on the crown board, since we had a spell of wet/cool weather as soon as we got the bees. i made a fairly saturated mix because i was a bit worried it’d all just run through the muslin & over the bees if it was too thin, & they’ve been working through it, but one jar (containing about a pint) has been lasting the best part of a week.

Are you feeding the hive internally with the syrup? If so that isn’t a good practice and might be illegal there as it is here in Australia.
During the drought and dearth last year here I was internally feeding my hives to help them survive with about 1/2 pint per hive per day.

Peter, did you mean externally in the first sentence?
If so, I agree, its very much to be avoided as it encourages robbing and bad behaviour.

If these are nucs that were created earlier this year and are still building up numbers and comb, then it might be appropriate to feed them.But if they are nucs that have been overwintered they really should be able to stand on their own feet in what is midsummer in the US.

When you feed you should ask yourself why, based on an inspection of the brood box eg to build up winter stores, to help the bees draw out comb or because poor weather has created a risk of starvation.
And of course, only feed in summer when you have ruled out taking a honey crop.

Really? Feeding inside the hive is considered best practice in the US and the UK. I am confused…


Thanks @JimM for picking up on my mistake. I meant external feeding is illegal and bad hive practice in Queensland Australia. Maybe it isn’t illegal in the US as Dawn didn’t mention it in her reply and I can’t see a single hive taking up that amount of syrup. I have no excuse for my lack of thinking for a typing error.

It’s not illegal here in Australia but you would be crazy to do it in an urban or suburban setting which is why it would mostly be done far out in rural areas by commercial guys running hundreds if not thousands of hives.

It’s a pointless exercise if you only have a few hives that you can feed internally with a lot less trouble. You’re probably just going to end up feeding everyone else’s bees and and any feral colonies that are nearby. When there is that much sugar around the bees also go insane and not in a good way.