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Bees not taking syrup feed at all

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The Riviera Kid 

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In mid September I began to feed my second, smaller colony... I went to top the feeder up several times but on each occasion it's clear that the bees have not touched a drop of the syrup.

Why is this? What should I do? I don't want to lose them through starvation.

Have not "hefted" the brood box as it's hard to do that now as it has 15kg of syrup slopping in the feeder sitting on top of it

I am using the standard 2:1 recipe for sugar and water and my other colony couldn't get enough of it (see my previous thread about overfeeding!).

The colony seem happy and queenright and on good sunny days they are very vigorous and out foraging for pollen.

The only thing I can think of is that the crown board and roof stink of apiguard and that maybe that is putting them off coming up to feed. the crown board and roof are of course on top of the feeder.

any suggestions please???

thanks.
 

richardbees 

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Hello Kid, 15kg of Syrup? wow! what sort of feeder are you using?

We are in for a few warm days so I suggest you remove it tomorrow .....maybe I'm out of date but you are doing something wrong and more expert posters will soon give recommendations here on what to do

Richard
 
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the naked beekeeper 

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you have Nationals, you have bottom bee space....so if you've sat the feeder on top of the frames, then they can't very easily get into it.
The feeder should be on top of the crownboard (they'll access it through the feed hole) and the roof on top of that....
 

admin 

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Have you dipped your hive tool into the syrup and wiped the top bars below the feeder with it ?

The bees cant smell syrup,so if you dont show them it is there they will ignore it.

I think you said the position of the crownboard and roof the wrong way around,unless you have the feeder outside the hive on the roof.
 

Gardenbees 

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Possibly the bees haven't recognised it as a food source. They don't normally lead each other to nectar sources directly within the hive, and can simply ignore it unless it has a bit of scent or flavour to attract them. A tiny bit of their own honey smeared over the entrance to the feed (or on the mesh if it's a contact feeder) can help to alert them to the food source. Or a hint of peppermint in the feed. Or stir in a spoonful of their own honey once the mixture is tepid. Then trickle a trail down into the frames so that they can trace it to the feeder.

I can't think of any other reason they'd ignore food altogether unless they're ill, which doesn't sound like the case with your bees.

oops - crossed posts with Admin. Same point.
 
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chycarne 

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We had this happen, we then put up a feeding station outside, yes I know what else are we feeding? Ah well dont care, there is a bee highway from hives to feeeders (which are amongst flowering plants and next to the ivy refilling these can be an experience with a couple of hundred bees and a few wasps (dont say it!!) wizzing around your hands and bottle. About 4 seconds later there is silence (you have to imagine the intense slurping) If the feeders are empty fill them go make a cup of tea come back out, 200 hundred bees slurping. Cover or bring in at night, put out at just before sunrise. YES BE AWARE OF NEIGHBOURS AND DISEASE ON THE BEE DISEASE MAPS >>> YES THER IS POTENTIAL FOR DISEASE IMPORT BUT THEY LAND ON THE SAME FLOWERS SO>>> AND WELL FED WELL TREATED SHOULD BE STRONG - INSPECT REGULARLY... bees are drawn to the right place and well it works, if you can and the area is clean then...
 

richardbees 

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Kid, apologies, I had to end my first reply because of urgent phone call

No one else is addressing the question = what is this jumbo size 15kg feeder you're using?

If it was a typo for 1.5kg then still do as I suggest and remove it tomorrow - maybe the syrup has crystallised and you have to refill.
 

Silly Bee 

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Have you dipped your hive tool into the syrup and wiped the top bars below the feeder with it ?

The bees cant smell syrup,so if you dont show them it is there they will ignore it.

I think you said the position of the crownboard and roof the wrong way around,unless you have the feeder outside the hive on the roof.

Ageeed , but I usually pour a bit of syrup down through the hole into hive, then put the lid on.
 

The Riviera Kid 

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Hello Kid, 15kg of Syrup? wow! what sort of feeder are you using?
The feeder is a sturdy home made miller feeder and to save trips to the apiary to fill it up I made it large enough to take about 15 litres/kg of syrup so that I could feed them more or less in one go. It is a big feeder!! but it seems to work... usually...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you have Nationals, you have bottom bee space....so if you've sat the feeder on top of the frames, then they can't very easily get into it.
The feeder should be on top of the crownboard (they'll access it through the feed hole) and the roof on top of that....
The feeder is sitting on the queen excluder, which has a wooden frame around it that acts as a rim such that the mesh is a bee space away the base of the feeder. The crown board sits on top of the feeder and the roof on top of the crown board. I will try swapping things around so that the crown board is under the feeder.

I have tried dribbling a bit of syrup through the access holes and the bees start to drink it. there are usually a few in the feed chamber but not climbing up to take the food. I haven't tried the honey idea - will give that a go if rearranging the hive doesn't work.

Thanks for all the help.
 

Rosti 

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You'll probably have to bin the syrup you have in there now but when you remake place one drop of lemongrass oil (ex Boots about £3.00) per 10 ltr syrup and whizz it in with a hand food blender and as previously posted make sure you 'spill' a bit into the hive when you put the feeder on.

Alternatively of course, it's been and continues to be warm, HB has had a long good run of it and ivy is strong and still going well (round us anyway), perhaps they are full-up? Heft / mini-inspect before trying again
 

drstitson 

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"whizz it in with a hand food blender"

surely just as easy to just shake up the bottle you are transporting your syrup in!
 

Hebeegeebee 

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If your feeder has bee on for a long time the syrup may be fermenting which is not attractive to bees an any shape of form and should be discarded - you can tell by the smell.
 

the naked beekeeper 

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The feeder is a sturdy home made miller feeder and to save trips to the apiary to fill it up I made it large enough to take about 15 litres/kg of syrup so that I could feed them more or less in one go. It is a big feeder!! but it seems to work... usually...



The feeder is sitting on the queen excluder, which has a wooden frame around it that acts as a rim such that the mesh is a bee space away the base of the feeder. The crown board sits on top of the feeder and the roof on top of the crown board. I will try swapping things around so that the crown board is under the feeder.

I have tried dribbling a bit of syrup through the access holes and the bees start to drink it. there are usually a few in the feed chamber but not climbing up to take the food. I haven't tried the honey idea - will give that a go if rearranging the hive doesn't work.

Thanks for all the help.
Why do you need the queen excluder on at all?
From what you're saying this is a single national hive right?
Remove the excluder. If it's one of those slotted ones, then I've never found them any more than very reluctant to pass through them anyway. Do't make it harder for your bees to get the syrup!

If you have a single national, then it's brood box, crownboard, feeder, roof. If the feeder won't fit under a roof, then you can put an empty super around it.

Hope this helps...
 

Rosti 

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"whizz it in with a hand food blender"

surely just as easy to just shake up the bottle you are transporting your syrup in!
No, it may be easier to shake in a bottle but not so effective, you also need very little of this - one drop in 10ltr - that's one big bottle and then there's still no head space to allow shaking so thats now a 15ltr bottle :confused:.

Lemongrass is an essential oil - fat based. It's not practical to form an emulsion but a very fine dispersion is possible and holds for a resonably long period.

For very little extra effort you get considerably greater performance. No point having lemon grass on the surface when that surface is only open to the feeder lid!
 

Silly Bee 

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Some of my bees were slow with syrup (small swarm, old queen, I'm hoping to over winter)

The syrup does ferment, and looks and smells manky.

I now use homemade fondant, they take it at their own pace, and touch wood, it seems to last better.

My better hives, also get fondant now, and all seems ok.
 

Arfermo 

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In mid September I began to feed my second, smaller colony

Why is this? What should I do? I don't want to lose them through starvation.

Have not "hefted" the brood box as it's hard to do that now as it has 15kg of syrup slopping in the feeder sitting on top of it

I am using the standard 2:1 recipe for sugar and water and my other colony couldn't get enough of it (see my previous thread about overfeeding!).QUOTE]

What sort of feeder - rapid, contact, Miller Ashforth? You say 2:1 syrup. Two to one of what? This time of year it should be the heavy variety ie 1kg to 1 pt or its equivalent in all metric. Must go under the crownboard too. If it is rapid or contact (llatter not advisable due to temperature fluctuations) then stick it in an empty super. 15kg does seem a bit big as other posters have said. Are you sure? That quantity would make about 3 gallons of heavy syrup or more!!
If they are foraging well maybe they don't want feeding anyway. Heft the thing quickly soonest.
 

Peter Cox 

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You say 2:1 syrup. Two to one of what?

Guess we in the US are unusual 2:1 means 2 of sugar to one of water. Being lazy most people work on the principal of volume so 2 gallons/litres/pints/quarts whatever of sugar to 1 measure of the same size of water is your 2:1 mixture.
My Miller feeders also will easily hold 3 gallons which is pretty close to 15kg.
 

Rosti 

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Why do you need the queen excluder on at all?
TNB, earlier this year I helped a friend with an inspection to find and mark one of his queens that was proving elusive. He was feeding at the time and had just discarded the empty feeder before the inspection. We could not find HM. I don't know why but as I was leaving I checked the discarded feeder, she was in there. Happy ending, marked and returned safely.

... thats one reason to justify a QE between the feeder and the brood box
 

Silly Bee 

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And thats another reason I put fondant in my feeder instead of syrup, (after taking off the cup)

If she wants to help herself, she can, and doesn't get trapped.
 

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