What weight of sugar do you need to feed a typical colony.

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Beebe 

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Somehow it's escalated to seven.
I'm aware that there's actually no such thing as a "typical colony", that some people don't feed their bees, that how much you need to feed depends on all sorts of factors and I know that the weight of the hive and a slowdown in the bees taking up syrup should give me notice that we are finished. But although I actually enjoy mixing the syrup, I'm getting bored of bringing home sugar from the supermarket and to have aheads-up that the end is in sight would be a relief.

Does anyone know the average of the amount of sugar each of their hives takes for winter feeding?

I'm in the north of Scotland, so I started fairly early with feeding, I guess each of my hives has had an additional eight or nine kilogrammes of sugar so far and they are slowing down a bit.
 

elainemary 

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I'm aware that there's actually no such thing as a "typical colony", that some people don't feed their bees, that how much you need to feed depends on all sorts of factors and I know that the weight of the hive and a slowdown in the bees taking up syrup should give me notice that we are finished. But although I actually enjoy mixing the syrup, I'm getting bored of bringing home sugar from the supermarket and to have aheads-up that the end is in sight would be a relief.

Does anyone know the average of the amount of sugar each of their hives takes for winter feeding?

I'm in the north of Scotland, so I started fairly early with feeding, I guess each of my hives has had an additional eight or nine kilogrammes of sugar so far and they are slowing down a bit.
Hi my colonies (av between 10-12) on average used 10.5kg (23lb) stores over winter last 2 seasons from end sept to March if this helps, but of course depends on many variables not least location and type of bee. Mine are reasonably frugal.

The way I assess (I’ve been doing this week) is to go through the nest and estimate the amount of stores assuming each full brood frame is c 5lb (2.2kg) & I also leave on a full super of 9 frames. I then top up to 18kg or 40lb total. I just equate the balance needed in kg to the same amount in litres of thick syrup plus about 10% more to account for water reduction of inverted syrup to honey strength.

This is more than their winter use but protects against isolation starvation and hedges against a bad winter or long cold spring, without needing to use fondant
 

Murox 

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I'm aware that there's actually no such thing as a "typical colony", that some people don't feed their bees, that how much you need to feed depends on all sorts of factors and I know that the weight of the hive and a slowdown in the bees taking up syrup should give me notice that we are finished. But although I actually enjoy mixing the syrup, I'm getting bored of bringing home sugar from the supermarket and to have aheads-up that the end is in sight would be a relief.
Does anyone know the average of the amount of sugar each of their hives takes for winter feeding?
I'm in the north of Scotland, so I started fairly early with feeding, I guess each of my hives has had an additional eight or nine kilogrammes of sugar so far and they are slowing down a bit.
I just looked at my records for a 14X12 I run. Started feeding syrup early to mid August this year, up until this Monday they have had 15 litres of heavy (began a little early as I was cycling out some Dn brood frames). Thats 12 Kg sugar. On Monday after looking at the frames I stopped syrup and gave them a one kg block of fondant.
 

hemo 

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Similar to elainemary, from now on in I add up the comb stores and then make up the difference with syrup or fondant. I look at 30 - 40lbs of stores for them, I don't endlessly keep feeding without knowing the approx. stores they already have and the amounts I am feeding.
I tend to be a bit conservative with totting up frames of stores, based on National frames. Shallows if left on 1lb per full side & deep 2..25lbs per full side, those using 14 x 12, 3.25lbs per side.
I mix 5kg/11lbs of sugar with 6 pints water for a fairly thick syrup to give approx. 13.5lbs of stores.
Variations of colony stores used will depend on locality and knowing your bees usage rate after a few years.
 

hemo 

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Last week I checked stores on colonies and noted most only had 5 - 8lbs of stores so made it my to do job for Monday this week to start some feed. On feeding I gave another cursory stores check and noticed most had increased stores by a few lbs so looks like they have found some late forage and a faint whiff of ivy is in the air.

One colony had 18lbs of stores so they got 18lbs 2/3rds from a block of fondant.

I set out my stall and decide to use lbs to calculate all stores but am conversant in kg to lbs conversion and prefer to use lbs over kg in weighing up stores.
 
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hemo 

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One would think even in Scotland 40lbs is plenty for a colony, one also has to take in to account hive type and insulation as well. An insulated colony will/should be a bit more frugal then one not.
 

masterBK 

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6 colonies had enough stores to winter on didn't need any (but gave three of them one feed of 3kg just in case we get long cold winter). The other 25 were topped up based on estimates of existing stores. Most were given 12 kg ( 3kg per feed using so called English feeders) but one was so light it got 18 kg and a few others got 15 kg. All colonies on Dbl broods. Not had a colony starve in decades.
 

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When I weighed all seven hives on 10th September , the average weight was 27.7kg. I reckon 35kg is a suitable winter weight. So I need to add approx. 50kg of weight (7x7.3). (Insulated /poly Langstroth Jumbos so not relevant to Nationals)
They are currently bringing in HB pollen and nectar.

I am in NO hurry as I want to leave as much space for winter bees as possible and will feed strongly start October after reweighing. So I am feeding fondant at present which they are eating approx12kgs a week in total. So by October they will have taken approx 36kg of fondant.

Last years I has lots of surplus honey in the two weakest hives so I assume I fed too soon too quickly last year with resulting pressure on laying space.
 

enrico 

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My bees are busy too. Weight in all hives. Not started feeding yet.
 

drdrday 

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Mine are still bringing in plenty, so I'm not feeding them yet (except for one small nuc), and it's looking like I may not have to feed them at all. My hives are all on double brood, so they tend to have quite a few brood frames full of stores by this point in the year, and it's only increasing at the moment. It'll be at least a couple of weeks before I weigh each hive and based on that I'll only feed those that are below the target weight.
 

Beebe 

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Somehow it's escalated to seven.
I just looked at my records for a 14X12 I run. Started feeding syrup early to mid August this year, up until this Monday they have had 15 litres of heavy (began a little early as I was cycling out some Dn brood frames). Thats 12 Kg sugar. On Monday after looking at the frames I stopped syrup and gave them a one kg block of fondant.
That's very helpful and points me right. Thank-you.
 

Dutchman 

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I have been feeding a bit but mainly to stimulate them to start rearing winter bees before the ivy flow started. I find that any good sized colony will collect its own winter stores and more than they need from the ivy. But its good if they also have a bit of sugar syrup(or summer honey) so that if it gets very cold they have some stores that are not crystallized so they can access them without the need for water.
 

hemo 

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Ivy can't be fully relied on, unless you have an idea locally how much is around. If I fully relied on them to forage ivy I would have dead colonies come spring, they do find and collect it but not 40lbs worth.
 

oliver90owner 

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Feed until full, then stop. Can’t be much simpler than that? The clever beekeeper notes how much space needs filling and works on that figure when making feed and feeding.
 

Beebe 

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Somehow it's escalated to seven.
Feed until full, then stop. Can’t be much simpler than that? The clever beekeeper notes how much space needs filling and works on that figure when making feed and feeding.
The clever, but inexperienced beekeeper asks and listens to other clever and more experienced beekeepers and hopes they will advise him on the specifics of his question.

Even an inexperienced beekeeper knows that location, weather, available forage, habit of bee type, previous colony development and a myriad of other factors will affect the amount of feeding his bees will need. Therefore this inexperienced beekeeper is grateful that some earlier respondents "got" the question, gave a straight answer and didn't imply that he wasn't a "thinking beekeeper"; not that he has aspirations to claim that as his primary title.
 

Curley 

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The clever, but inexperienced beekeeper asks and listens to other clever and more experienced beekeepers and hopes they will advise him on the specifics of his question.

Even an inexperienced beekeeper knows that location, weather, available forage, habit of bee type, previous colony development and a myriad of other factors will affect the amount of feeding his bees will need. Therefore this inexperienced beekeeper is grateful that some earlier respondents "got" the question, gave a straight answer and didn't imply that he wasn't a "thinking beekeeper"; not that he has aspirations to claim that as his primary title.
So if you are inexperienced then keep it simple. Not wishing to speak for RAB but basically feed them till they will take no more.(a la Ted Hooper) is good advice for inexperienced beekeepers. You can do more complicated things involving going through the hives calculating what stores they have and feed accordingly but many things vary including but not limited to, where you are, how frugal your bees are, how big your hive is, how much of the comb is useable, what else you have available for late forage, how willing you are to lash out on fondant. etc. You are in Scotland using national hives, You will need to get 20 Kg of stores in there and have room for a bit of brood. So feed til they stop, remove any syrup they are not interested in and heft regularly from January onwards. Be prepared to take frames of stores out in the spring if they have been very frugal and the colony looks honey bound. Reserve these for making up nucs etc. You will be sick as a parrot if you feed your bees a calculated amount and they starve as a result.
 

Beebe 

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Somehow it's escalated to seven.
So if you are inexperienced then keep it simple. Not wishing to speak for RAB but basically feed them till they will take no more.(a la Ted Hooper) is good advice for inexperienced beekeepers. You can do more complicated things involving going through the hives calculating what stores they have and feed accordingly but many things vary including but not limited to, where you are, how frugal your bees are, how big your hive is, how much of the comb is useable, what else you have available for late forage, how willing you are to lash out on fondant. etc. You are in Scotland using national hives, You will need to get 20 Kg of stores in there and have room for a bit of brood. So feed til they stop, remove any syrup they are not interested in and heft regularly from January onwards. Be prepared to take frames of stores out in the spring if they have been very frugal and the colony looks honey bound. Reserve these for making up nucs etc. You will be sick as a parrot if you feed your bees a calculated amount and they starve as a result.
Maybe I wasn't clear enough; I don't intend to give any hive a fixed amount of feeding and won't stop until they stop.
 

Curley 

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Actually feeding till they stop is bad advice. Queens are still laying winter bees. If you stuff the brood box with stores you will have fewer bees for winter
Meh. You might be right. However most of the winter bees will be in the cells by now and some will have emerged. Many colonies go broodless in October so laying must be slowing/stopping around now (possibly because they have been over fed ;). ) We are talking advice to an possibly inexperienced beek here . To be fair Beebe sounds pretty clued up nevertheless IMO simple advice is to feed till they stop .
 

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