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Autumn feeding strategy

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Hi there,

 

What is everyone’s thoughts on feeding an apiary of say 50... out of a 200 litre open barrel filled with straw. Has anyone tried this? 

 

I see beekeepers do it overseas

 

thanks

 

 

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don't even joke about it.

its a horrible way to feed hives especially in high density areas like auckland.

you will be feeding everyone else's hives as well. plus bees tend to drown in it, including those diseased hives down the road that you don't know about.

a great way to pick up diseases.

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Thanks for the reply.

 

what if it was an apiary on a 2000 acre farm, where you were as sure as one can be about all your beehives being disease free.

 

still a terrible idea in your opinion?

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Not a good practice really. As previously said, disease, drowning (heaps!!) and I would think encouraging robbing behaviour.

There are vastly better ways!

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5 minutes ago, Rookie said:

Thanks for the reply.

 

what if it was an apiary on a 2000 acre farm, where you were as sure as one can be about all your beehives being disease free.

 

still a terrible idea in your opinion?

still a horrible idea.

big risk of starting a robbing frenzy which will result in them attacking any weak hives.

drowning kills off bees, robbing kills even more.

seen it done ;(

 

also you can't guaranty that the hive is going to store the amount you want them to.

 

even for an apiary of 50, its not hard to go fill top feeders. you go and check how much they need and give them what they need. some hives may need one feed, some may need 4 feeds.

hives have to be looked after individually. if you treat them all the same your going to end with crap hives. 

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12 minutes ago, Rookie said:

what if it was an apiary on a 2000 acre farm

if my quick and dirty maths is right, even if you put hives in the center of the farm thats only 1 km to the boundary. they will still be well in flying range of other hives.

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That’s my line of thinking too.

 

I mentioned the robbing/disease to this gentleman in Canada who practices the open feeding.

 

he replied the following;

 

robbing: he said he places the barrel 50m away from the apiary, which replicated a nectar flow. He thought feeding each individual hive encourages robbing more so than his method, because it attracts other bees and wasp directly to the hive (especially with spillage), rather than drawing them 50m away to the barrel.

 

Drowning: he said if you compact that barrel with enough straw, no more drown than they do in the feeders inside the hive.

 

disease: from memory his thoughts were diseases couldn’t be transferred through sugar water, and that if there were hives with disease in the area your apiary would be affected either way.

 

I thought his reply’s were interesting enough, even if I didn’t agree with him

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

It is a common practise overseas, and I've been surprised there are even some reasonably intelligent beekeepers doing it.

 

To do it in NZ, just about anywhere there are bees, there will be other bees within range, even on a 2,000 acre farm. You will be feeding all bees in the area and there may be more than you think. Overseas it is often done in holding sites with no other bees anywhere near.

 

The main issue i have with bulk feeding is the needs of each hive are different. In many autumn apiaries there will be some hives with a good amount of stores, right down to some with near zero. It is good to assess each hive and feed it the amount it needs. Bulk feeding means that some hives will have more than needed but others may not get enough and could starve later.

 

Another factor is that in Canada and USA they fed cheap HFCS, at a fraction the cost of what sugar syrup costs to us in NZ. So it could be they don't mind in the USA if they have to overfeed, to ensure even the lightest hives get enough. But here, even my own modest size bee hobby cost me $7,000 in sugar last year, it's not like I'm a fountain of money, so if I can save by not overfeeding, it's money in my pocket. Or at least, not money out of my pocket.

 

Re robbing, yes, something to be very aware of in a dearth. But, it can be done, it's about beekeeper skill. Even in the very worst conditions hives can be safely fed individually. The trick is firstly to have strong hives with no holes and correctly sized entrances. If there's robbing, don't even feed the weak ones. Next, don't feed while working the yard, do them all at the end, that's because soon as you feed one in a dearth, the bees will get excited and start attempting to rob. If you are still working other hives and have them open it can become a nightmare. So, work all the hives first and maybe have some marking system so you can mark how much feed each one needs. Then once everything is done feed all the hives and close up asap.

 

And, don't mess with robber screens, which are a stupid idea that should never have been invented. Strong hives, correctly sized and placed entrances, and good beekeeping practises, that's all you need.

Edited by Alastair
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1 hour ago, Alastair said:

$7,000 in sugar last year

That astonishing

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9 hours ago, Rookie said:

Hi there,

 

What is everyone’s thoughts on feeding an apiary of say 50... out of a 200 litre open barrel filled with straw. Has anyone tried this? 

 

I see beekeepers do it overseas

 

thanks

 

 

There's also the risk of C4 sugars ending up in a late harvest honey crop of your neighbouring beekeepers....spoiling the value of his/her crop. This method sounds brilliant and easy....but has more cons than pros. Bad idea.

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10 hours ago, Philbee said:

That astonishing

Only 7 tonne ...... 1 tonne feeds 240 hives ...... four feeds over a wet spring ......

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We used to occasionally do emergency sugar feeding in the spring using the free for all Sugar feeding system. It was better than the hives starving.It was also not that uncommon to leave a box of feed honey on end for the bees to rob out and before that they used to take 40 pound  tins of granulated honey out and cut slices in the tin so that the bees could access the honey. Haven't done anything like that for over 40 years and when we did it was only in the spring. Sites in those days were 2 miles apart.

The only people I have heard talking about open feeding sugar these days is as a possible means of deliberately contaminating other beekeepers hives with C4 sugars or even food colouring and sugar. I don't know if it has ever happened but there are a lot of angry beekeepers out there.

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22 minutes ago, john berry said:

The only people I have heard talking about open feeding sugar these days is as a possible means of deliberately contaminating other beekeepers hives with C4 sugars or even food colouring and sugar. I don't know if it has ever happened but there are a lot of angry beekeepers out there.

i doubt it. its an expensive way to do minor damage. there is much cheaper ways to inflict massive damage.

 

i think it more accidental. few reports on here and we have found it this season. i suspect its people with nuc raising sites which are getting robbed by hives around them.

especially big outfits where staff really don't care and sugar is plentiful.

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1 hour ago, jamesc said:

Only 7 tonne ...... 1 tonne feeds 240 hives ...... four feeds over a wet spring ......

 

That is only when you do not feed from the barrel :D

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This is @jamesc 's syrup dispenser ( prior to  Honey Hunter  repaint) 

 

Pump.jpg

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12 hours ago, Philbee said:

That astonishing

 

Up there but I would hardly say astonishing. However most feed has gone into hives in areas that have also got poor per hive honey production. So now with the poor price of honey the plan is to move some, and sell the rest of those hives (if such can still be done these days). I'm downsizing, hopefully by around 50%. The hives in the better areas also need less feeding, so hoping to see a big drop in the sugar bill next year.

 

And oh, anyone want hives? I want to unload, am realistic about price expectations these days, call me.

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3 minutes ago, Alastair said:

 

Up there but I would hardly say astonishing. However most feed has gone into hives in areas that have also got poor per hive honey production. So now with the poor price of honey the plan is to move some, and sell the rest of those hives (if such can still be done these days). I'm downsizing, hopefully by around 50%. The hives in the better areas also need less feeding, so hoping to see a big drop in the sugar bill next year.

 

And oh, anyone want hives? I want to unload, am realistic about price expectations these days, call me.

Do they come with some nice sites?

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13 minutes ago, yesbut said:

This is @jamesc 's syrup dispenser ( prior to  Honey Hunter  repaint) 

 

Pump.jpg

Hell yeah

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8 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Do they come with some nice sites?

 

Sites yes, nice sites, not so much. I'm getting out of an area that a few years ago gave me 2 or 3 full boxes a hive but now not much at all, don't know if it's climate, or the thousands of other hives moved in. However the person can have the sites, just, the hives may do better somewhere else.

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Sorry,....just shaking my head in disbelief.....Your bees cant feed themselves?

Am I the only one who thinks this sort of thing is seriously crazy????

 

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1 hour ago, mischief said:

Sorry,....just shaking my head in disbelief.....Your bees cant feed themselves?

Am I the only one who thinks this sort of thing is seriously crazy????

 

they described this sort of problem at uni. it's called the tragedy of the commons. Basically it means at a personal level it makes economic sense to take as much as you can from a shared resource but it's to the detriment of everyone else.

 

depressingly enough without external intervention (e.g. regulation) it can result in a race to the bottom. Give it a google. then maybe buy shares in a sugar sryup company:-)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, mischief said:

Sorry,....just shaking my head in disbelief.....Your bees cant feed themselves?

Am I the only one who thinks this sort of thing is seriously crazy????

 

 

No there are others like you.

 

How much honey did your bees get for you last season? Oh. None? Really?

 

Sorry, just shaking my head in disbelief...... Am I the only one who thinks that is crazy?

Edited by Alastair
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21 hours ago, Alastair said:

 

Sites yes, nice sites, not so much. I'm getting out of an area that a few years ago gave me 2 or 3 full boxes a hive but now not much at all, don't know if it's climate, or the thousands of other hives moved in. However the person can have the sites, just, the hives may do better somewhere else.

I  am experiencing the same. Next to Riverhead forest with way too many hives for the amount of nectar a pine tree produces and many lifestyle blockers that take up deals to load their property with hives from contractors. Last season my hives didn't produce even a winter feed. This year I changed tack and fed them lots and lots of sugar until the honey flow starts.  My troops are decent this time, so I can harvest at least one super (out of three hives), for my own consumption. Ten years ago it was a different story.

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14 minutes ago, ctm said:

Next to Riverhead forest with way too many hives for the amount of nectar a pine tree produces

That would only take a single box wouldn't it ?

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10 hours ago, mischief said:

Sorry,....just shaking my head in disbelief.....Your bees cant feed themselves?

Am I the only one who thinks this sort of thing is seriously crazy????

 

 

To keep bees healthy and build population we stimulate with sugar.  

 

We then take most of their honey and later replace it with sugar.  

 

It it is normal practice commercial beekeeping. 

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