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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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Emergency Feeding

Bees on top in November is bad. This usually means not enough food.

I take one sheet of wax paper and lay it across the top bars of the top box. Put a 1x2 frame ( a sugar shim ) that will fit the box.
Notice the wax paper does not cover all the frames. The bees need access.

I cover the wax paper with granulated sugar. Heaping it up the sides of the wood shim.

The bees will move up and eat the sugar if needed. They will also shred the wax paper. Checking this monthly with a lit smoker, more wax paper and sugar.
Working quickly, this can be done anytime in the winter.
I don't want to bury the bees under wax paper when they start using the sugar. Trimming the wax paper may be required.

Cover the sugar shim with the inner cover and moisture board. The black cardboard cover top entrance hole will have to be readjusted to accommodate the increased height of the sugar shim.

I have a colony that does not have enough food. It has about 6 frames of honey. I know I should let it go but I will try to see if it can make it.
When I opened it I saw the bees under the inner cover. I know the bees should be in the lower box right now. They will move up into the upper box in January. If the bees are in the top box now it usually means they are short on stores and will starve during the winter.
I will put on granulated sugar to give them a chance. Granulated sugar in not a nectar flow to the bees. They will not raise brood while eating it. Sugar water is a nectar flow and produces brood production. I want this in March not November.
The sugar goes on now and I will check it monthly to keep it full. This technique works in late winter for a starving colony.
A beekeeper could do this now on any colony with normal stores. Checking on it in early Feb. It the bees have used it add more. If they never use it, take it off the hive and make sugar water in March.