How much syrup for new swarm?

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Sutty 

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Just for a general guide, when feeding I've found even a very moderate sized colony can take down 1.5 litres of 1:1 syrup overnight. I've never felt the need to feed a swarm - they may be slower as less space to store it.
 

Beebe 

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At this time of year, isn't it better to give them a smaller amount each fill so that there is a reasonable gap of time between feeds? Personally, I wouldn't want them to be storing surplus syrup; better if they get enough to match their daily needs.
 

Gilberdyke John 

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At this time of year, isn't it better to give them a smaller amount each fill so that there is a reasonable gap of time between feeds? Personally, I wouldn't want them to be storing surplus syrup; better if they get enough to match their daily needs.
There's no hard and fast rule as local conditions and weather patterns change all the time. I haven't had to feed any of the swarms I've collected in the last three years as there's been plenty of nectar brought in. Ordinarily I'd expect to give them one full round rapid feeder of thin syrup. You can look down between frames without pulling frames out to see if comb is being drawn if you have a clear crownboard. Simple and no disturbance to the colony
 

Erichalfbee 

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They were flying well yesterday in the warm weather but it’s been cool and wet most of today.

I could inspect earlier than planned if you recommend? Just don’t want to risk scaring them off
No what you have planned is fine
 

Do224 

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There's no hard and fast rule as local conditions and weather patterns change all the time. I haven't had to feed any of the swarms I've collected in the last three years as there's been plenty of nectar brought in. Ordinarily I'd expect to give them one full round rapid feeder of thin syrup. You can look down between frames without pulling frames out to see if comb is being drawn if you have a clear crownboard. Simple and no disturbance to the colony
A clear crown board sounds like an excellent idea, thanks for the tip
 

hemo 

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Until they have been opened and assessed, one doesn't know what they are doing. Have a quick peak and see don't wait for 8 days. If you see stores being laid down don't feed, if the colony is bare of stores then feed little and often until stores are seen
 

hemo 

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Rain arrived this evening about 1900 hrs, looks to be set in on/off for 8 days or so.
 

ericbeaumont 

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I sense that you're fretting too much because you want to get it right. Don't worry, bees usually know how to get it right.

Answer Dani's question in post 19: is there forage? If you're unsure, look at the speed of bees' exit from the hive and look at the blackberry, the privet, and even thistle.

Why inspect? Either there's a virgin or a laying queen in there and there's not yet a need to find out.

I put a cast swarm into a 5-frame Park polynuc and admit to a quiet 20-second look 4 days later, long enough to spot eggs. That was maybe five weeks ago and since that time I paid it no attention and gave it no feed.

Looked last week and there were 4.5 frames of solid sealed brood, so upgraded them to a full box.

Suggest you work on the basis that a virgin needs peace, and delay eager poking.
 
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Do224 

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I sense that you're fretting too much because you want to get it right. Don't worry, bees usually know how to get it right.

Answer Dani's question in post 19: is there forage? If you're unsure, look at the speed of bees' exit from the hive and look at the blackberry, the privet, and even thistle.

Why inspect? Either there's a virgin or a laying queen in there and there's not yet a need to find out.

I put a cast swarm into a 5-frame Park polynuc and admit to a quiet 20-second look 4 days later, long enough to spot eggs.

That was maybe five weeks ago and since that time I paid it no attention and gave it no feed.

Looked last week and there were 4.5 frames of solid sealed brood, so upgraded them to a full box.

Suggest you work on the basis that a virgin needs peace, and delay eager poking.
Thanks, that sounds like really good practical advice...and yes, I’m doubtless fretting too much.

I’m honestly not sure about the forage situation but I’ll try and assess it. I can make a subjective guess in that my hayfever has been horrendous for the past couple of weeks (worst for years) but has started to settle down the last day or two 😂 The weather has also become a bit more unsettled the last few days. It feels like the ‘flow’ might have eased up a bit.

I didn’t realise you could literally leave them alone for five weeks like you say. I’ll have a quick peak for eggs on Monday and then back off then.
 

Do224 

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I’m intending to follow the advice from this forum as it’s a great way to hear all the options and the different arguments.

It’s much more difficult to assess the validity of advice as a beginner when you hear it on a one to one basis (i.e. when just chatting to another beekeeper who you think should be experienced).

I’ve just been told by someone (an experienced beekeeper with lots of hives) that I should feed, feed, feed until all the frames in the brood box are drawn out....at that point I should add a super and keep feeding until that is also drawn out.

Given the advice I’ve had from you kind people, I’m assuming this is poor advice? Or is there a nugget of truth in it?
 

Murox 

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Drawn comb is very valuable to you, swarms are geared up to build comb and bees only build comb/draw wax when they need the space for brood or stores, the idea of feed feed feed is to speed it up. If there is a flow on its not really needed, though 'a little and often' can be useful. If you end up with supers full of "sugar syrup honey" you may need to extract/spin it all out and feed the syrup back to them later if they need it.
 

ericbeaumont 

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I’m assuming this is poor advice? Or is there a nugget of truth in it?
There are many ways to solve a beekeeping dilemma and you may be given seven solutions to the current situation, but don't be rail-roaded into buying someone else's experience.

Advice is usually given with good intent and it's fair to say: what's the worst that can happen if you over-feed? Not much, unless it coincides with a strong nectar flow that bungs up the whole lot and the queen has nowhere to lay (which is bad news).

The idea of feeding sufficient to draw out a brood and super of comb has merit in that it would accelerate nest development and give space to store main flow nectar, provided of course that bees haven't by then stored syrup in the super. That balance needs delicate judgement, aka experience.

By feeding only enough to kick-start the colony when little else is coming in you will see how hard a swarm works naturally to gather for winter.

Bees are hardy and proactive and will resolve most needs. For example, a few weeks ago I thought I'd made up a 3-frame nuc with a virgin; opened it last week to find I'd forgotten to add the divider in the nuc box and they were sitting in a 6-frame box and without the prescribed bees on a frame of sealed brood and a frame of stores (I'd forgotten those, as well).

Instead they had a frame of empty drawn comb, two frames of foundation and a gap in the box. Nevertheless the queen was mated and laying on both frames of partially-drawn foundation, achieved without feed during a trickle of a flow; they're doing fine.

The decision to feed a little or a lot and to fiddle or not must be yours because the experience gained - good or bad - will also be yours, and that's a better way to learn.
 

hemo 

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I’m intending to follow the advice from this forum as it’s a great way to hear all the options and the different arguments.

It’s much more difficult to assess the validity of advice as a beginner when you hear it on a one to one basis (i.e. when just chatting to another beekeeper who you think should be experienced).

I’ve just been told by someone (an experienced beekeeper with lots of hives) that I should feed, feed, feed until all the frames in the brood box are drawn out....at that point I should add a super and keep feeding until that is also drawn out.

Given the advice I’ve had from you kind people, I’m assuming this is poor advice? Or is there a nugget of truth in it?
If that advice is taken then any honey stores would have to be forfeit for selling or giving to anyone except using it your self, it would make good for good winter stores for the bees. Chances are that any incoming nectar will be diluted with sugar syrup if fed at the same time.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I’ve just been told by someone (an experienced beekeeper with lots of hives) that I should feed, feed, feed until all the frames in the brood box are drawn out....at that point I should add a super and keep feeding until that is also drawn out.
Given the advice I’ve had from you kind people, I’m assuming this is poor advice? Or is there a nugget of truth in it?
Not poor advice - just a different way of doing things, but the one caveat with taking his advice is, you have to start feeding 1:1 ASAP and at no time must the feeding pause. If there is a short break with no syrup, the bees will cool down and any subsequent feed will just get stored. My advice is, when you have more experience and can gauge the colony better - I wouldn't follow his advice although he is not wrong. Swarms are wax making machines, I've heard of some who would just us a swarm to draw as much comb as possible and forget about them becoming a 'production colony' that season.
The truth is, it's pretty naiive to think that a swarm caught at this time is going to make you much honey anyway.
 

oliver90owner 

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Historically, advice has been not to feed swarms for three days. It can be important if there was any disease in the parent colony. Feeding too much, too early may well mean that the stores brought from the parent hive are stored, not used up. Stored disease pathogens can be then be later passed to the new larvae and infect the colony henceforth. The no-feed interval is therefore to break the chain of disease transmission, if possible, if it exists. Caution is better than a diseased colony.

Often, the swarm can arrive just a few hours after leaving the parent colony, but it may have been hanging on a branch in a tree for several days - they don’t actually need much food for clustering as most is used for foraging and (particularly) for feeding the new larvae (just three days after the queen starts laying Athink here about primes and casts?).

If the origin of the swarm is known (like if it’s from one of your own colonies) any feeding can obviously start earlier - if you are confident your colonies are disease-free.

Not all situations are same so, as usual, it only needs the beekeeper to think before jumping in with inappropriate actions.
 

Do224 

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Is there forage? Are they collecting anything?
I would be tempted to stop till you next look in.
my swarm got 2 litres. They have been out flying.
Did your swarm go onto new foundation like mine or were you able to give them drawn comb? Thought it might make a difference to the amount of syrup they need?
 

Do224 

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I had a quick look at what they were up to this morning (after being warned that they may starve if left until Monday...). They’ve drawn out three frames and cleaned up the old black frame. I could see shiny liquid in perhaps 20%ish of available cells and presume this is the sugar syrup/nectar. I gave them another 300ml of syrup but wasn’t sure whether I should give them a load more or not....they’ve obviously still got lots of new frames to draw out?

No sign of eggs or larvae so I’m guessing that means I’ve got a virgin? Swarm was caught last Sunday.

Only saw literally a couple of cells with pollen in although I could see pollen on the legs of a few foragers going in.

It’s 16 Celsius and overcast but settled here today. Slow but steady trickle of foragers in and out.

Any advice greatly appreciated
 
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