I just put bees into my first flow hive. I live in mid Michigan USA. Is it recommended to feed sugar water now?
What did you install? Was it a package, a swarm or a nucleus? Do you belong to a local bee club? If so, ask them what the nectar flow is like right now. If it is good, you don’t need to feed. If you don’t belong to a club, join one and meanwhile feed them at least one quart of 1:1 white sugar in water to give you time to ask somebody. That will probably last them 3-7 days, or longer if the nectar is plentiful.
If you installed a nucleus and you have one or two frames of honey, they have a couple of weeks of food stored. In that case, you can just watch what they do over the next week or two, and feed if the honey stores start to drop.
Thank you. I go to my first bee club meeting next week. I will contact them now to ask about feeding. I installed a package of bees. I am using a top feeder with a 1:1 ratio. There are always bees visible.
We checked our hive (Langstrough) today and tested some of the capped honey. It is rather light in color my question is–we have continued to feed a 1:1 sugar water mixture since we installed the nuk (5/20) there is evid nice of nectar n the bees with balls of it on their bodies
Should we stop feeding them so they produce honey that isn’t just sugar syrup?
Firstly those ‘balls’ on the bees is pollen not nectar, the nectar is in their gut. Once the frames in the hive have been built out then you shouldn’t be feeding, you are correct, the chances are it’s just sugar water honey and won’t have all the beneficials in natural honey. As you are entering Autumn now your nectar flow may be over and all the stores they have put away may be need by them for winter.
Half (5) of our frames have this white cap with nectar/honey in them and the other half have darker caps with larva in them.
Yes the bees have pollen balls on them.
Should we event try to harvest anything this year or just leave it all for them to winter with?
Rule of thumb is not to expect a harvest the first year.
Without knowing your winter climate I can’t say. Do you have two brood boxes?
If you have been constantly feeding and you suspect it’s sugar honey leaving it for winter stores would be best. I guess the question is do they have enough for your winter?
We have a Langstrough horizontal hive with 12 frames. Half of the frames seem to be brood frames
We are in Colorado USA and tend to have a moderate winter of 5 months
With your climate, most beekeepers would have double brood boxes in a traditional Langstroth. That would be 20 frames for successful overwintering. As you only have 12 frames, I would leave them everything for this year.