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Is it now time to winter feed?

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RoseCottage 

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So I took off our remaining honey a month ago and then fed them a couple of kilos of sugar to help them along during their varroa treatment.

Both our hives had a super on top of a deep bb.

I was a little surprised that the girls didn't store any honey in the supers (which were pretty well empty) but took it all down into the BB.
I was also a little concerned as this seemed to reduce the amount of laying space for the queen.

We checked both hives about 8 days ago and they were very busy in the warm weather bringing in pollen. The queen, however, in both hives was only really laying on 2 or 3 frames at one end of the hive. She was also laying some drone eggs too.

So I figured that rather than Winter feed I would give her some time to continue to lay if she felt she needed (perhaps the treatment had put her off her stride a little). If she was laying some drones I assumed she was still thinking she had laying to do and wasn't trying stop for year end.

So I intend to visit at the end of the week and am now conscious that the glorious weather is beginning to ebb away. Do people think that it is time to start serious winter feeding or shall I let them enjoy the ivy a little longer and give her more time to lay?

What are others doing, and how are you assessing your hives and making yor judgements?

I remember Finman earlier in the year reminding everyone that when winter feeding starts they will only take a week to fill up their stores.

The BB is already quite heavy with all frames feeling heavy to the touch (probably 8 frames in each with just stores). Frames are not capped yet, well they were not 8 days ago, and some of the cells held white crystallised stores. These I assumed are Sugar Syrup that is being dried out by the girls.

All the best,
Sam.
 

Heather 

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I have been feeding weekly for the last 4 weeks. A balancing act to allow her space too- but they have whopped it down- 4 -6 pints a week and my hives still feel light- but they need to reduce and cap it so time getting short, weather now on the run in to winter I think.
 

Finman 

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If you take that super off, do you think that all bees go inside. Try it. Shake all bees from super frames in front of hive and they wallk in.
you should have about 5 box hive a month ago if the hive needs brood and half. after that you need not much to feed. If you have now 4 frames half full brood, to fill them with syrups needs 4 kg sugar.
 
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Finman 

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I have been feeding weekly for the last 4 weeks. .
what is the idea of prolonged feeding? It keeps brooding on mut the feeding box above the hive keeps the hive cool and hinder brooding. It makes chimney effect.
 

drstitson 

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a miller feeder sat on top of the hive doesn't cause heat loss.

mine (UK) have had the necessary feed for nosema treatment (5 litres) and i've carried on.

as of last night the super was fully drawn and frames either capped or 75% full.

brood had a decent amount of stores (still room without affecting brood area) and have 4 good frames of brood - both sealed and lots of larvae).

intend to do one last top up either friday or next tuesday.

then it'll be time to remove feeder and put my new crownboard on - feeder will stay on until CB completed.
 

Finman 

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a miller feeder sat on top of the hive doesn't cause heat loss.
i have miller typer feeders and they are not air tight.

If the box is on 4 weeks bees suck in one day box full syrup. 4 x 7= 28 d. box is there 24 d just sitting.
 

Finman 

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I keep a week pause when i have given 2/3 of food. They have time pack and arrange food in the hive. It gives time too that last brood emerge.
 

MuswellMetro 

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I have been feeding weekly for the last 4 weeks. A balancing act to allow her space too- but they have whopped it down- 4 -6 pints a week and my hives still feel light- but they need to reduce and cap it so time getting short, weather now on the run in to winter I think.
almost exactly the same as i have done with my four, except my bees a italains so they're metric :), 2L-4L, bit more goes in brood than most bees

now trying to get them full but they seem reluctant to cap some of the stores this year

might buy more ambrosia as the winter could be quite severe according to accuweather uk blog
 
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admin 

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might buy more ambrosia as the winter could be quite severe according to accuweather uk blog
I was warned yesterday by a friend that they had been hearing reports of a cold winter to come.
 

drstitson 

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winter stores

aren't the met office quoted as predicting a winter similar to last year - based i presume on the following figures - 33.4% chance of hard winter, 33.3% chance normal mild british winter, 33.3% chance "BBQ winter".
 

Hebeegeebee 

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You're very late..

August : Apiguard/Varroa treatment, feed if no forage.
September :Feed for the winter. (should be complete by the end of the month)
 

mbc 

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My bees are working flat out on the ivy and still taking syrup . Rapid feeders may be a better idea than contact feeders at this time of year ( the bees can then choose wether or not to take the syrup and they wont get a drenching thats possible from a contact feeder as the vacuum loosens when the day warms up ) but I certainly wouldnt be going round telling people that their too late for feeding !
 
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Rosti 

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Guys, surely a hard winter is good for us?
If you have got the stores into your colonies of course which is where this thread started.

Condensation is much more of a colony killer than cold I thought?
A consistent cold winter means less movement / ball expansion, no unpredictable warm spells in Jan / Feb means no sudden higher energy requirement and/or volatility in the nest ball that might leave stragglers vulnerable when it cools again.

Thoughts?

P.S. interested to know what long / med term weather sources you are using, always been of the view that you need multiple opinions on forward weather but never gone to the trouble of assembling such a group of sources.
 

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