This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hive Setup For Winter And Feeding

Now that the honey flow is over for most of us, it is time to make sure the hive is set for winter. Mite treatments should be ongoing or completed by now.
Honey has to be in the upper boxes. Bees will not move down for honey in the winter. Never leave a partially filled deep box or super on top of hive. If the bees move into this box they may consume the available honey and starve, even though there is honey in the box below.
 The top box on the hive should have 8 full frames of honey and one partially full frame. With the partial frame in the middle.
 The box below should have four frames of honey in it. Position the frames two on each side. There should be honey in the other frames that have brood in the hive.
 If you are in a three deep hive, in a perfect world, two frames of honey on the outside, one on each side.
 If your hive does not have that, you need to feed. Feed NOW.
 The bees should take feed very good right now. As the daily temperatures decrease, the bees may not take the feed down very well. That is why we need to feed hard.
 When we feed, it spurs brood production because it is a nectar flow and the queen will lay. The later you feed, the longer there will be brood in the hive. With brood in the hive, the bees will consume more food feeding and keeping the brood warm. This can effect their winter stores. Also mites will start increasing in the brood.
 Fall feeding is 2 parts sugar to one part water. The bees have to convert it to honey. That does take time. If you put in 24 lbs of sugar water, the bees have to dehumidify the sugar water to convert it to honey. So the net amount of syrup put into the hive will be several pounds lighter because of evaporated water.
 Nature's Nectar carries ProSweet syrup. ProSweet is similar to honey. The bees do not have to convert it to honey. The bees put it into the cells and they are done. If you put in twenty four pounds of ProSweet that is what is put into the hive.
So feed hard. The bees will empty a pail in three days.
This is how to feed hard:
Three feeder pails can be placed directly on the top bars in the fall.
A hive top feeder holds four gallons of syrup. The bees come up through the slots under the screen. Whatever level the syrup is, in the syrup well, the bees can pick up. When the bees are feeding, the entire screen area is solid bees.

Hive top feeder