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Winter feeding - are they on the way to being honey bound? Stockholm, Sweden


#1

SHello knowledgeable beekeepers!

My query is about feeding and how long do i feed them for?

My hive is one deep 8 frame brood box only, they have been building since thier split was made in June.
There are 8 frames in total and on last full inspection they were up to 6 frames with bees on. (4 weeks ago).
I gave them sugar fondant in early August to help them get going, but they didn’t really take much until more recently when they gobbled it up very quickly.
There was a bit of time between when they had emptied the fondant and when I had time to get back and give them more sugar. Maybe just over a week, as I’m not sure exactly when they finished the first pack. Now they have both dry sugar on the top inner cover and some candy I made in attempt to recreate fondant with no candy thermometer. :grimacing:
Next week when the weather warms a little (apparently it will go back up to 16-17deg celcius, we have had a two week cold snap 10-13 deg) I will be able to check them properly.

I am adding a shim to be able to dry feed them and will also add a quilt box for ventilation at the same time. After solstice in December I want to add a hard candy board with protein to get them started for spring - BUT do I stop feeding them in the meantime at any stage or just keep feeding them the dry sugar?

They only have thier 8 frames in their box, so minimal honey storage - I’m thinking I might need to keep feeding them, but I also don’t want to over feed them!

Thanks in advance for your tips :pray::slight_smile:


#2

I fed 2:1 sugar water until it got too cold to have it on the hive. Then I put sugar candy on top of the frames and placed a moisture quilt on top of that. I had a hive that was in the same boat as yours with only one brood box where most beekeepers in my area have two. The colony definitely took care of itself. I treated for mites in the fall, fed them as much as I could, and then closed up the hive for the winter and hoped for the best. The colonies numbers were not that high going into the winter but there was enough to keep a cluster over 3-4 frames. In the spring when it got warm I was able to peek into the top of the hive to ensure there was enough sugar candy left. Then when it warmed back up I started feeding sugar water and pollen patties. That particular hive did very well this summer and has more than enough food to get them thru this winter. (Its snowing as I write this). Hope this helps.

John


#3

Thanks John! Wow it’s snowing already? Ours should be a little way off yet…sounds like mine have a chance, I surely hope so! I never started with sugar syrup form, being so new at this I couldn’t work it out. And the bee suppliers gave me some fondant to use instead - it worked. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and I look forward to checking in on them next week, to gauge how often they need to be fed. Then the candy and no peaking! :see_no_evil:
Thanks! :blush:


#4

Help! Are they honey bound?

Do I need to swap things around to give them space in the middle to cluster…
Or do they know what they are doing?

I checked them yesterday. Dry sugar and soft candy all consumed.

No brood

3 frames on the outsides of the brood box were empty & the rest (5) with a mix of capped and uncapped honey.

Yesterday was 16C and they were happily out and about. Today it’s cooled down a bit and for the next week will range from 8/9C at night to 13/14C in the day.

What am I supposed to do?

Also found these 3 littlest dead on the inside cover near the dry feed - is that normal?

IMG_3769IMG_3771

IMG_3774


#5

Definitely not honey bound. Please don’t move the frames around. Two of those bees have the proboscis sticking out - I can’t tell with the 3rd. That can be either a sign of starvation or insecticide. If you don’t have a pile of dead bees outside the front of the hive, I would not worry. Keep feeding, and don’t inspect while it is cold. I would insulate the hive and put a moisture quilt under the roof.

Good luck!


#6

Thanks Dawn! Being new, I overthink things a lot and worry.
Yes moisture quilt box is in the making and ready to add on Sunday.
Dead bees - I’ll check again at the entrance but didn’t notice anything strange there. Could olive oil traces be bad for bees? It was on the paper plates I lined when I made the candy? Still only 3 bees that I know off affected so hopefully it was something random.
Thank you! :pray:


#7

I doubt that the olive oil caused any problems. However, did you use a thermometer when you made the candy? If it got too hot, there may be some toxic by-products in it (HMF). It is not highly toxic, but it can kill bees, which is why it is important to use a thermometer: