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Josh

NZBF Can you over feed? Thank you in advance

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So my home hive is my strongest. My robbed hive is doing OK at is new local. Due to work and school holidays I've not been in my home hive since 4th March (6 weeks) But I've been feeding (Upside down jars) 2:1 syrup ever since my harvest. I'm very proud of my feeder, I'll post a pic but it keeps the bees in, but lets you exchange jars without them being covered in bees.

 

The hive has done well, and it's really heavy (I'm going to heft it as soon as I can find the travel scales). I was doing a full check today (17degrees) and they've got essentially ¾ of stores, but only a small brood cluster 2 half frames. All were capped/emerging. I couldn't find the queen but the hive was heaving with bees so the tricky little madam could have easily alluded me.

 

My question; Have I over fed and caused a "honey" jam? Or is this a prewinter brood break?

 

I guess something could have happened to the queen, but not in my last inspection as that was too long ago, and there would be no brood at all. And the hive was very happy, and clearly working hard

 

I'm an urban ChCh keeper (Temps are 9-20degrees still) Sugar shake was 2 mites in 1cup of bees so <1%. No signs of distress. I'm going to stop feeding now, and I put in one frame of foundation in the level next to the brood, hopefully they'll draw it out and give some extra lay space. I've wrapped the spare frame of capped syrup, and will feed it back in spring.

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated, thanks.

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Josh, you don't mention how big your hive is ie; is it 1 box or 2,

yes you can over feed hives, don't put in a foundation frame this time of year. yes they do/can have a brood breake but Im unsure of your seasons down south so best talk to a local. They sound like they enough feed for now.

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So my home hive is my strongest. My robbed hive is doing OK at is new local. Due to work and school holidays I've not been in my home hive since 4th March (6 weeks) But I've been feeding (Upside down jars) 2:1 syrup ever since my harvest. I'm very proud of my feeder, I'll post a pic but it keeps the bees in, but lets you exchange jars without them being covered in bees.

 

The hive has done well, and it's really heavy (I'm going to heft it as soon as I can find the travel scales). I was doing a full check today (17degrees) and they've got essentially ¾ of stores, but only a small brood cluster 2 half frames. All were capped/emerging. I couldn't find the queen but the hive was heaving with bees so the tricky little madam could have easily alluded me.

 

My question; Have I over fed and caused a "honey" jam? Or is this a prewinter brood break?

 

I guess something could have happened to the queen, but not in my last inspection as that was too long ago, and there would be no brood at all. And the hive was very happy, and clearly working hard

 

I'm an urban ChCh keeper (Temps are 9-20degrees still) Sugar shake was 2 mites in 1cup of bees so <1%. No signs of distress. I'm going to stop feeding now, and I put in one frame of foundation in the level next to the brood, hopefully they'll draw it out and give some extra lay space. I've wrapped the spare frame of capped syrup, and will feed it back in spring.

 

Any thoughts would be appreciated, thanks.

 

It all sounds pretty good to me.....I'm not sure about down there but up here hives get down to a couple frames of brood through Winter, and with pollen and stores around the brood on those frames. The rest of the frames in the hive will just be stores. Sounds more or less what you are describing so you could be in good shape.

 

As we get to this time of year the Queen starts laying in bursts, followed by breaks, so that could by what you have got there.

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I wouldn't feed anymore you need enough bees to over winter and if you restrict the queen laying too much you won't have as many bees as you should.

You aren't into winter yet so I wouldn't expect her to have shut down already.

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It's a funny autumn with lots of trees changing colour, lots of feed still, and no frosts yet (where I am, basically suburbia and bush).

But some queens have closed down laying, and some hives are just full of capped and open brood with eggs and cuckoo spittle.

So I tend to just take it as it comes.

On this web site I'm finding a tremendous amount of talk about feeding going on which puzzles me - I don't feed my hives at all unless they are starving due to no food coming in (it's very uncommon), or too light going into winter. Or very small, of course, but it does attract the robbers unless handled well.

I think all the feeding gets the hives out of kilter with the seasons - and hobby bee keeping should align with the seasons, which is what the bees want to do.

And this worrying about feeding pollen substitute - I would not call it a scam, but is it being promoted when it's needed, or just because ?

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Josh, you don't mention how big your hive is ie; is it 1 box or 2,

yes you can over feed hives, don't put in a foundation frame this time of year. yes they do/can have a brood breake but Im unsure of your seasons down south so best talk to a local. They sound like they enough feed for now.

 

Whoops, I edited it out. They are 3 x ¾.

 

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Its amazing how different the two hives are (15km apart). The other hive really struggled this year, and is now catching up. It even had drone brood (just a few mind) last week when I checked and put in MAQS.

 

I fed because we had a very poor season, and from two hives I got about 8 frames of honey. So I've fed them up fat for winter. Varoa levels are low <1% (no treatment just yet) and 2% (MAQS has gone in) and fed stores are looking good. Fingers crossed.

 

Too late in the season to draw a frame? They've got so much stored honey and space I'm sure they will draw this out. But I'll keep that in mind for future checks, and if it goes untouched, I'll swap it out again. Thanks

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I think all the feeding gets the hives out of kilter with the seasons - and hobby bee keeping should align with the seasons, which is what the bees want to do.

And this worrying about feeding pollen substitute - I would not call it a scam, but is it being promoted when it's needed, or just because ?

all areas are different and there is plenty this year that have not gotten much honey at all and would otherwise starve.

 

provided they are fed before the season ends i do not think there would be any change with the bees routines.

the situation i think is rather poor is those who are busy feeding up nucs over winter and building them up to hive strength which is against the grain of what bees do.

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Josh, you don't mention how big your hive is ie; is it 1 box or 2,

yes you can over feed hives, don't put in a foundation frame this time of year. yes they do/can have a brood breake but Im unsure of your seasons down south so best talk to a local. They sound like they enough feed for now.

 

I don't know what I was thinking yesterday. I have a box of drawn frames from this hive, so I've taken out the foundation frame and put in 2 drawn instead. Hopefully the queen is home and will take the opportunity to lay. It was staggering to see how much they'd drawn out in just 24 hours though. They would have had a fully drawn frame in just another day or two.

 

Thanks again for the mentorship

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