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Vergilius 

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Hi all,

Recently I have heard a lot of conflicting information on when to give the girls their Autumn feed. Last year I fed them in late September but I have heard that it is better to start right now.
Supers are all off but there is food in the brood box.
Thanks, any advice welcome!

Ben P
 

oliver90owner 

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What were the downsides of feeding them late September? Any at all?

I would say that varroa treatment is likely more important now such that over-wintering bees are from the least varroa-affected larvae.

Feeding for the winter is best delayed as late as practicable - but that will depend on your location and the weather, the latter being the problem to sort out reliably. Most feed earlier to be safe and sure that all will be filled, reduced and capped.

Also depends on how you intend to over-winter, one box or two or if you are prepared to dummy out any unused space (for heat retention) and if you are prepared to feed fondant in the later winter months.

Also depends on whether you wish to be administering any treatments too, (thymolised syrup, fumagillin, or other) as part of the feeding.

You could feed heavily now if there is a good area of brood, removing the feeder after a few days (as soon as the take-rate falls), so that the brood nest is not continually filled as bees emerge, thus leaving adequate space for late brooding of over-wintering bees; then top up later, if time and need.

As with most things about beekeeping there is not just one way to do it, as long as the required result is obtained.

I will not be feeding much, if any, because most of my broods are already well provisioned and I envisage there being little need for extra supplements of sugar. That situation could change, but I am more likely to unite and redistribute feed frames as necessary. That is just what I prefer; strong colonies into winter and hopefully strong colonies out at springtime. Does not always work out perfectly (lost one large full colony last winter, after the spell of snow, as they were seen flying both during the period the snow was laying, and afterwards) but generally seems a good method for my needs.

Hope this helps.

Regards, RAB
 

Polyanwood 

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Vitafeed Gold and Vitafeed Green

I was just going to feed 2:1 syrup with thymol added as per the Hivemaker recipe.... but just wondered, does anyone think there is any value adding either of these Vitafeed treatments too? I have some just sitting there and it seems a waste not to use them, but on the other hand, I guess they have not been tested for use wiht thymol.

Views???
 

Poly Hive 

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I would be interested to hear if anyone has had much success with this brand.

Last I heard was rather on the minus side.

PH
 

Moggs 

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Talking of thymol. Found some thymol crystals today. Surgical spririts too. Holland and Barrett had some soya lecithin granules so I have made up Hivemaker's thymol soup (I think).

Have I got this right? 1kg of sugar in 1 pint water = 2.25 pints syrup (?). Therefore 25kg sugar in 25 pints water = 55.5 pints syrup. At a rate of 5ml Hivemaker Soup to the gallon I should add 35mL to my 6.94 gallons?

Doubting my own basic maths now!
 

trapperman 

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Talking of thymol. Found some thymol crystals today. Surgical spririts too. Holland and Barrett had some soya lecithin granules so I have made up Hivemaker's thymol soup (I think).
I used to put lecithin granules in my protein shakes when i was into bodybuilding, cant remember why now as it was years ago.

What do they do for bees?.
 

Moggs 

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Builds 'em up big and strong! No, not really, the lecithin is an emulsifying agent to get the thymol mixed into the syrup in solution. Otherwise it floats as an oily film on the surface. Of course, it might build big bee muscles too... (visions of miniature bee weightlifters pumping iron as we speak).
 
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Moggs 

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No doubt some 'computer-yoof' is playing on a 'Bee City' game somewhere, as we speak, images of bees lounging around in bars, taking trips to the honey factory, beehive real estate, the bee gym and so on.

Oooerrrr. Please don't tell me that there is such a thing - I daren't look.
 

Finman 

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You have a skill to make beekeeping complex.
Just feed syrup 2:1 as much as bees take it.first restrict the wintering space.
 

oliver90owner 

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No doubt some 'computer-yoof'

Don't know about, that but my wife has 51 bees in 'farmville' (for pollinating crops) and 2 beehives in 'countrylife' (where they just pollinate clover).

Regards, RAB
 

jezd 

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I would be interested to hear if anyone has had much success with this brand.

Last I heard was rather on the minus side.

PH
I am 50/50 on it but I know commercials beeks who rate its use.
 

Adam 

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What were the downsides of feeding them late September? Any at all?
Yes, a rather major one. You wear out your winter bees processing syrup.

I would say that varroa treatment is likely more important now such that over-wintering bees are from the least varroa-affected larvae.
Agree, but that doesn't preclude feeding in any way? I know loads of people, myself included that feed with Apiguard on. It works fine.

Feeding for the winter is best delayed as late as practicable - but that will depend on your location and the weather, the latter being the problem to sort out reliably. Most feed earlier to be safe and sure that all will be filled, reduced and capped.
R.O.B Manley, and indeed most authors would appear to disagree with you. (not that that means you are wrong, but I've never heard it recommended to feed as late as possible before - so here is a different take on proceedings). He suggests it is ideal to have all colonies fully fed by mid September if at all possible (which is practical for most amatuers). Late feeding means it's colder, so the bees work harder to fan the water off. Far better to make life easier when it's warmer in late August / Early september. As mentioned above, you get the remnants of the summer bees still dying off in August / September, so you finish them off processing syrup but leave your winter bees fit, strong, and healthy without having worked them hard into the autumn, and the bees have time to process the syrup before it becomes too cold, at which point it may ferment and give them dysentry.

Adam
 

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Adam,

but that doesn't preclude feeding in any way?

No. I didn't say that did I? I used the phrase 'more important'.

The last several years have had the bees brooding late intothe autumn. Like as not summers and winters were a little more defined in days long past, than of late.

I did say 'as late as practicable'

2 years ago the bees were actively foraging (seen taking in pollen) during the week before Christmas. I don't go by dates, even months. We were harvesting runner beans in November. I go by the bees. As I have said previously I don't actually feed very often. I am a hobbyist, not a beefarmer. My colonies are mostly well provisioned already. I might unite rather than feed late. Fondant is a fall-back option. One only has to look around to see the autumn developing. I just find it so much better to follow the bees, than recite the books to them and expect them to conform.

Lots of ways of doing it. You can stick to yours and I will continue with mine. As late as practicable this year might be earlier than the last few. I will be deciding when, if it becomes necessary. Feeding should not take long unless they are, or have been, seriously depleted of stores.

RAB
 

Adam 

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Lots of ways of doing it. You can stick to yours and I will continue with mine. As late as practicable this year might be earlier than the last few. I will be deciding when, if it becomes necessary. Feeding should not take long unless they are, or have been, seriously depleted of stores.
RAB
I didn't detail my own method, just suggested what the greater concensus of authors recommend. People with far more experience than me, both recent and historic.

Returning to the original poster, as it would seem to be a novice question, would seem better to feed earlier, as it is significantly less risk. Experienced beeks can judge colony strength vs. outside temperature vs possibly addition of thymol to the syrup vs hefted weight easily enough and make a good call on most occasions. For a beginner - better to get the feed on early in my opinion.

Adam
 

oliver90owner 

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Post #2 p. 3

I said:Most feed earlier to be safe and sure that all will be filled, reduced and capped. So reasonably well covered, I thought. But not for all.

His late September was obviously OK for last year. You can compare with whatever you like; autumns are different than twenty years ago, OMFs were hardly invented then. Things have changed. New strains have been imported. I still stand by my as late as practicable - without fear of being too late. I don't like being prescriptive on dates.

I don't know the strength of the colonies - one I checked through today has oodles of brood in a 14 x 12 and onto several frames in the 14 x 12 below. Some will shortly be reinforcing another smaller colony, you can be sure of that.

We have another thread running paralle to this oe on the merits of moving bees to the heather on the glorious 12th. PH says he does not go by the date and then quotes the 21 of July. I have to have a little chuckle when dates, appliccable in the 1940s are taken as gospel. Think what the bees would do. They would not stop feeding in the middle of August - they would likely swarm. They provision for winter whenever they can forage. I just help them on their way as best I can without forcing them. Better way to keep bees, I think. But as I say, I'm not a bee farmer.

RAB
 

Hivemaker. 

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I believe as long as the bee's are still foraging, its okay to feed thick syrup....ivy nectar is rather thin, but the bee's carry on collecting it well into november.....perhaps they don't have the same ideas as some beekeepers regards processing nectar so late in the season.
 

Finman 

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Returning to the original poster, as it would seem to be a novice question, would seem better to feed earlier, as it is significantly less risk. Fo
Adam
what is early? I am just starting winterfeeding in finland. I suppose that your colonies are rearing winter bees now. Makes no sence to feed 'early' and stop brood rearing.


I have not seen what you discuss how to get a strong winter cluster. What that operation needs from nurser.
The earliet winter feeders arised in july.
 

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