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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #4803  by Chrisbarlow
 12 Sep 2019, 13:25
NigelP wrote:
11 Sep 2019, 20:48
Not sure where you are JohnB, but would suggest be careful about overfeeding at this time of year. Queens are laying winter bees around now and need room to lay. The workers, however, will happily fill every space with feed if it's available.
It's a balancing act, a tough one to get right.
I've given about 2 1/2 litre of 2:1 (imperial measures) to most of the hives I've brought back from the moors as all are very light. BUT that is all they will get until October when I'll feed in earnest. It doesn't take them long to take down enough stores for winter...about a week. with a 10 litre Ashforth feeder filled twice.
is that a 10litre ashforth feeder from Abelo made of poly? if so, bees will take syrup from those feeders much later than other plastic rapid feeders, I suspect due to the insulation they provide.
 #4804  by Chrisbarlow
 12 Sep 2019, 13:36
AdamD wrote:
12 Sep 2019, 08:52
Nigel, you have a different practice to mine as I would feed steadily over a longer period of time rather than wait until October.
I am the same due to time constraints as much as anything, I tend to feed over a longer period from september, If I find anything IMO is overfed I move frames from one box to another and stop feeder.

I know about 5years ago I changed my views though on what over feeding actually is and I am not convinced you can neccesarily do it. I went to visit a new beekeeper, first summer and she had her bees on a brood and a half and I hefted the hive, I thought it was nailed to the stand , it was that heavy, It was rammed with stores. I found it extremely difficult to heft. she had fed and fed and fed. This was mid September. I told her to stop feeding and just leave them and see how they go. I thought she had sabataged herself and her bees and that they wouldnt get through winter. I think it was the 2013/2014 winter but not 100% sure in that. I have never had a brood and a half so heavy before then or since.

Anyhow come the Spring, she did a little complaining about the state of her bees to me , I asked how they had done, and she was complaining about how many bees there were and how the brood and a half was full of bees and she was worried about them swarming. This was early April. I was at the time a little frustrated about her comments because at the time I had had a quite poor winter with high losses and weak colonies coming out.It was a good lesson. she over wintered in a wooden national hive with a metal roof. since then I have always made sure my boxes go in to winter with plenty of stores and I believe this is one of the reasons why my overwintering successes has increased considerably from those good/bad/old days when I first started keeping bees.

So since then, overfeeding honey bees in september is something that never concerns me, if they have been fed and they come out of winter with syrup made honey, then this just goes in to nucs, or is stores seperately in case it is needed for a June gap or for the following winter. although if I have one colony light and another very heavy, I am still happy to move a frame or two over. simplz
 #4805  by Chrisbarlow
 12 Sep 2019, 13:40
feeding nucss syrup. they are all starting to look very nice for overwintering now. have some weight on them and started to get plenty of bees inside them. great news.
 #4806  by Japey Edge
 12 Sep 2019, 18:32
Ordered a spare brood box, shallow box and also a poly Ashforth feeder from Abelo. If it blows me away with efficient feeding then I may purchase another :lol:

Also had a look around the garden apiary. Hefted one hive - pretty heavy. Hefted the recently united hive, about half as heavy as the first. The 2 litres I gave them in a rapid feeder last night has been guzzled. Poly nuc also heavy.
I've mixed some more thymol sugar syrup. Looking forward to getting that decanted into some Innocent smoothie bottles for quick delivery when required.

Bees are cool. I'm looking forward to being less nervous when I open them up though. I got too confident up to my double sting inspection and now I flinch more often than I'd like.... This new queen best be the calmest in the region ;)
 #4807  by NigelP
 12 Sep 2019, 20:05
AdamD wrote:
12 Sep 2019, 08:52

Nigel, you have a different practice to mine as I would feed steadily over a longer period of time rather than wait until October.
(I have to admit that I don't have enough feeders to do all at once in any case so it HAS to be done sequentially!).
Had to feed some of mine as very light back form heather, but that is all they will get till end of month. Balsam is still out and they are still slowly working it. I think our season extends a bit longer than yours Adam, but no ivy for us . It flowers Nov/Dec except for a few sheltered areas.e.
I find my colonies will take 5 litres a day when added, so I guess I never bother or thought about feeding slowly. Mine are simply guzzlers (or they don't bother at all which always worries me).
As it's thymolated syrup not worried if they cap it or not as it won't go off.
 #4808  by NigelP
 12 Sep 2019, 20:14
Chrisbarlow wrote:
12 Sep 2019, 13:36

I know about 5years ago I changed my views though on what over feeding actually is and I am not convinced you can necessarily do it.
Interesting observation Chris. If the queen has laid down her eggs for the winter bees they can't get back filled with syrup.
A different situation for me most years. When I come back from the Heather, usually 2nd week in Sept the brood boxes are usually rammed with stores and the queens often have absolutely no room to lay. So I need to give them time to lay up their winter bees. So my situation is quite different to many.

This year they have come back with most queens on brood break and plenty of room to lay, which on a quick inspection they now seem to be laying again.....so I'll be giving them time to lay in those winter bees before serious feeding begins.
Noticeable that hives that didn't go to the heather are all heavy with their own stores.

Update on sump pump syrup mixer......don't tip 50kgs of sugar into barrel all in one go...the pump wont't pump pure sugar crystals....But otherwise it has made a tedious job quite easy.
 #4809  by NigelP
 12 Sep 2019, 20:23
Chrisbarlow wrote:
12 Sep 2019, 13:25
#

is that a 10litre ashforth feeder from Abelo made of poly? if so, bees will take syrup from those feeders much later than other plastic rapid feeders, I suspect due to the insulation they provide.
This is first year I've managed to have all large poly Ashforth feeders. Have had to make do with several hives on 2.5 litre rapid in the past...not notice a problem with them taking it down, just have to fill them too frequently :).
Not sure it being made of poly makes much difference as the bottom acts as a heat barrier so the syrup is not any warmer.
A lot is weather dependent, cold weather they don't tend to take much down from any type of feeder. But October is usually quite a mellow month.
 #4810  by Patrick
 13 Sep 2019, 16:59
Cleared all MAQs strips and set up ready for first feed. Most had quite heavy brood boxes anyway but few are light. Am going to experiment with all single boxes on brood and a half to feed, then undersuper over winter and remove super in spring or just put back on top over QX. Done it occasionally in past but thought would go for it this winter.

Paper colony unites. I am increasingly uniting colonies direct these days and not worrying about moving them progressively closer either. Just doing it within apiary
and removing all evidence of former hive and stand. Shake out some outside receiving colony and no bother.

For an experiment I had one queenless colony and another one with signs of varroa so borrowing from the air freshener queen intro theory, this time I put two MAQs strips in an eke between q+ and q- colony. Checked today and eggs everywhere. Nice!

The simpler and fewer separate manipulations the more I like it. :D
 #4812  by Chrisbarlow
 13 Sep 2019, 17:50
Been removing some boxes with honey in today. They're next to balsam. Wow, that stuff smells good!
 #4821  by AdamD
 14 Sep 2019, 09:23
I would exercise caution when feeding a lot of syrup as I am not convinced that "feed until they take no more" is necessarily the right action. An example I can give, which I may have mentioned before - and in July and not September no not the same time of year, is that I was called to colony with a young queen that had swarmed unexpectedly. The (new) owners had been lovingly filling a rapid feeder repeatedly so that there was just a tiny amount or space for brood - about the size of a school protractor at the bottom of a couple of frames - so the bees had had enough and scarpered. The feeder was still full when I arrived to see what had been going on. So yes, you can over-fill a colony!
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