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Belt & braces or silly idea?

 
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dubluvva
Nurse Bee


Joined: 06 Nov 2011
Posts: 28
Location: England, West Yorkshire, Huddersfield

PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 11:31 pm    Post subject: Belt & braces or silly idea? Reply with quote

I was told bees can't take sugar syrup below 11° so at the moment they have fondant which they are munching away on. However, as the temperatures are up and down, I wondered if I should put some syrup in too, and they can just choose which they want. Can anyone more experienced see a problem with that?
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Bugscouter
Silver Bee


Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 808
Location: USA/California/ Sacramento

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suspect you'll get several folks commenting, but I'll go ahead and jump in while I'm here.

I'm on the other side of the pond from you and our weather has been the opposite of what you've been experiencing, but your comment about the temps going up and down worries me a little. Feeding syrup means the girls will be taking in water that they then need to evaporate off. That raises the humidity a little in the hive. If the temperatures drop too fast and the cluster is small (this is early March) the humidity can condense on the inside of the hive and cause some issues including chilling the cluster.

The other thing would be that feeding syrup can stimulate the colony to start building up they're numbers, increasing the brood. Like an artificial nectar flow. This is early March. Are your girls ready to start building up?

Ron
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1495
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I imagine that some will gamble and try and start their spring build up early as it has been so mild. Especially as many rely on the oil seed rape for a crops and that will be flowering very early this year with the mild weather. Me? I am checking my hives and if I feel any will starve I will feed them. Otherwise not.
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dubluvva
Nurse Bee


Joined: 06 Nov 2011
Posts: 28
Location: England, West Yorkshire, Huddersfield

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:29 am    Post subject: Belt & braces or silly idea? Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies. The temperatures aren't wildly varying, just moving around the 11° mark. There is loads of activity in and out of the hive already, but I don't want to get them doing anything too early so won't bother with the syrup. I just wasn't sure when to take the fondant away and swap for syrup. It's my first colony so I'm a little over-protective perhaps! Embarassed I guess when there's better available in nature they will ignore the fondant. Rolling Eyes  
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J Smith
Foraging Bee


Joined: 13 Jan 2014
Posts: 169
Location: New Zealand, South Island, Southland, Riversdale.

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dubluvva, how is the fondant being fed, on top of the hive or inside it, or through a feeder?
The reason I ask is to see if you have looked inside the hive, or only from the exterior...... to ask if they have any stores still available?
If they still have honey stores and the fondant, is there a need for the syrup?

If stores are short and they are eating the fondant and there is still plenty of it, I would be inclined to let well be for a few weeks. Perhaps replacing the fondant if they run out. Then in Spring "more proper" you could move on to syrup if needed.
As these are your first, you may be playing it too safe, but early Spring can be a hard time for bees until flows come on strong.
I would be checking stores on a fine warm day, just to see what is what and base supplementary feeding on the amount or lack thereof.

Would be interesting to know if you can see pollen coming in with the warm day activity.
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dubluvva
Nurse Bee


Joined: 06 Nov 2011
Posts: 28
Location: England, West Yorkshire, Huddersfield

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:18 am    Post subject: Belt & braces or silly idea? Reply with quote

The fondant is on top of the top bars, and I haven't dared open the hive, as didn't want to disturb them, am just looking through the window and watching the entrance. There is pollen coming in - mostly off-white, but with some orange, which has been going on for at least a couple of weeks, if not longer. This made me worry that they are already increasing and running the risk of not having enough food. They were a package that I got late in the year (30th July) instead of the top bar nuc I had planned on, and only had 4 bars of stores going into winter, which is why I fed the fondant. I think I just need to trust the bees more and worry less!! Will stick with fondant and wait for a nice warm day to see what stores they have as suggested, thanks.
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