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I am a little confused over when to stop feeding syrup or when to use fondant. Is it possible to overfeed the bees? If not, why not just feed to excess with syrup and then stick a lump of fondant on as well? The syrup and fondant are not particularly expensive and I would have thought using far too much would simplify things.
 

Heather 

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If you pile too much syrup in- then the queen will not have enough room for the winter brood! This is a careful balance.
I will pos put fondant in during the winter months if it going to be a long winter
 

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The advice given to me so far, by the 'old-timers', is to 'heft' the hive. This means lifting one edge of the base upwards so as to assess the weight of the contents.

When it's heavy enough, stop feeding !

I have no idea what's 'heavy enough' and am told that my judgement will improve with experience !

The only thing I can think of is to surreptitiously go and 'heft' their hives while they're not looking and get my experience that way ;)

JC. p.s. I suppose you could always look inside and see how much stores is present. :)
 
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You haven't said how much they have taken down already, my colonies have taken down about 15 rapid feeders worth each with my carnolians taking a bit more.

It's probably time to stop feeding now anyway, beginning of Oct is said to be about the latest to do it.

You can always give them fondant later on early next year.

If you've got more than one colony you'll be able to make a judgement about the different weights.
 

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I have 3 colonies, but I acquired them as nucs at different times this year, so they are at different stages.
Leaving room for winter brood makes sense and explains why beeks cant just feed to excess.

In one colony I have, there is one frame at the back of the BB, not drawn out but the other frames are full of stores. I was hoping the Bs would draw the last frame out, but I guess I'll give up on that and stop feeding. My second colony has all frames drawn out and full of stores, so I stopped feeding that one last week. My third colony has only grown from a 4 frame nuc to about 7 frames so I'll continue feeding for a while longer.

Thanks for the info.
 

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I feed until they will take no more.

They will consume stores as they will and the queen will utilise that space to lay up in spring. She should have no need to lay in deep winter.

Poly hives will start to lay about a fortnight to three weeks after the wooden ones start, not a sign of weakness but a sign of dryness.

PH
 

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But if the bees are racking up stores in the brood area, but not a strong enough colony to warrant a super on, then what if the still prolific queen is laying now, but room is taken with capped stores? Surely this limits her desire to keep laying eggs for those precious winter bees. ( I am using deep nationals.
 

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First, you should deminish the number of frames so that the hive has a winter size. Then feed it so much as it takes. Combs must be full, otherwise they do not cap the food. It they do not cap, syrup takes moisture from air and ferments.
 

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Yes, Finman. I have removed all supers, except on the 2 very strong colonies.

The reamaining hives mostly have 11 deep brood frames, and they are filling all fast. Weather here still very warm for October and pollen also still coming in. Queen still laying, so I was concerned that she may not have the room for any more brood if I pile in limitless syrup. My 9 hives have shared 50 pints of 2/1 syrup, and feel heavy. Lots capped.
 

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Queen still laying, so I was concerned that she may not have the room for any more brood if I pile in limitless syrup. My 9 hives have shared 50 pints of 2/1 syrup, and feel heavy. Lots capped.
Of course, where ever you live, you must learn the natural cycle on bees and climate, when is the last time to feed and when you are so nervous that you stuck brood area with feeding.

One autumn we got a huge honey dew yield and hives were full of brood when it was the last time to feed them.

I put an empty deep over the brood in every hive and feeded them full.

Juts now we had in whole western Finland at night -5C
 

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I am now completely confused ........

I've been trying to get feeders on for the last 3 weeks, but my bees are still going like a train, bringing in pollen and nectar (darkish) and filling the BB and putting it in supers as well.

They don't seem very interested in sugar syrup at the moment ! The days have been sunny and the nights fairly warm for the time of year. They are more active now than they have been all year. All were nucs, new this year, or captured casts.

Am I doing this all wrong ? should I be stopping them somehow ? and making them take the syrup ?


:confused:
 
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jezd 

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I am now completely confused ........

I've been trying to get feeders on for the last 3 weeks, but my bees are still going like a train, bringing in pollen and nectar (darkish) and filling the BB and putting it in supers as well.

They don't seem very interested in sugar syrup at the moment ! The days have been sunny and the nights fairly warm for the time of year. They are more active now than they have been all year. All were nucs, new this year, or captured casts.

Am I doing this all wrong ? should I be stopping them somehow ? and making them take the syrup ?


:confused:
are these contact feeders? i have yet to have been ignore contact feeders and find it worth squeezing a little down so they know its there

its about to get much colder so I suspect they will take more notice once this happens, mine are busy on the syrup and bringing in lots of pollen on sunny days (weather changing now mind).

about to move fondant blocks on this weekend.
 

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JC,If its Ivy they are taken in then sugar would be better for them but ca sara sara.
Have you dripped a couple of teaspoons onto the frames below so they know the syrup is there? They cant tell it is otherwise and will ignore it..
 

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JC,If its Ivy they are taken in then sugar would be better for them but ca sara sara.
Have you dripped a couple of teaspoons onto the frames below so they know the syrup is there? They cant tell it is otherwise and will ignore it..
that is true, i can spill syrup on the ground 10 foot away and have thousands of bees on it in an hour, yet stick a feeder on a hive and sometimes they just dont see it unless you offer a taster/trickle
 

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Sorry Jezd we posted the same reply at the same time there :cheers2:
 

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No contact feeders, I have been putting on rapid feeders 'a la Hedgerow Pete' home made, with a couple of Ashworths (acquired s/h and renovated). The bees know they are there because there are bees in the slots taking syrup, just not that many !

Perhaps I've got dim bees, ha ha.
 

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I'm not too sure about the idea of a brood chamber being 'too full of stores so there is'nt enough room for winter brood'. My queens usually stop laying in the winter months and therefore fill the brood chamber as full as possible. If i'm not feeding, i'm sure that they will just bring in ivy nectar or whatever is around- until they have full frames.

When space becomes a problem is in the spring, when they start to move remaining winter stores as the queen starts again. This is when it is when I get ready to put an empty super on, to give them 'space'. My nucs have developed differently, but I have learnt that by being clever with moving frames around 'inserting a new frame between stores and brood nest', the bees draw them out, whereas as most of us know they are reluctant to start on new frames at the outside.

hope this helps
Chris
 

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I'm not too sure about the idea of a brood chamber being 'too full of stores so there is'nt enough room for winter brood'. My queens usually stop laying in the winter months and therefore fill the brood chamber as full as possible.


If i'm not feeding, i'm sure that they will just bring in ivy nectar or whatever is around- until they have full frames.
Yopu know your system and its is then OK.

When space becomes a problem is in the spring, when they start to move remaining winter stores as the queen starts again.
If I have too much winter food, I move capped frames off and use them later.
Or, mostly i put to those hives which have lack of food.
Normally I do not feed hives in spring. I even stores between hives.


**********

When nights are still cold and hives has only 2 boxes, I do not disturbe their frame order. When I put honey super on, I can change the place of brood boxes. Bees move the rest winter food and mix it with honey and move to the supers.

There is no use if bees move food inside brood boxes.

.
 

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