During winter, honey bees will eat honey they stored earlier in the year. Typically, bees can make much more honey than they will need to eat during the winter. But, under certain circumstances, bees can run out of honey to eat during the winter. Most commonly, it is the beekeeper who over harvested the honey the bees made, either on purpose or by accident. Another possibility is the weather was so poor during the nectar flow, bees were unable to make extra honey.
Either way, it is sometimes necessary to feed your bees during the winter. The rest of the year while it's warm, you can feed bees sugar syrup, but during the cold winter, feeding sugar syrup isn't a good idea.
5 reasons why you don't want to feed bee syrup during the winter
The change in temperatures between night and day can cause syrup containers to drip cold syrup onto the bees.
Syrup has more water in it than honey and bees will burn excess energy trying to remove the additional water.
Sugar syrup will be very cold during the winter, and if the syrup is too cold, the bees will be unable to drink it.
Syrup can mold easily if the bees do not consume it quickly, rendering the syrup undrinkable for the bees.
Cold weather may keep the bees from getting to the syrup, leaving an open window for other insects to eat the syrup.
If it is necessary to feed your bees during the winter, a better alternative is to feed them some type of thick sugar. This can either be in the form of granulated sugar, poured over the top of the inner cover or frames using the "Mountain Camp" method. This is the method we use for our bees as it requires very little hands-on time to prepare.
Another method that requires more preparation and time, for not much benefit, is to feed the bees fondant. Fondant is a cooked sugar that becomes thick and solid when a mixture of sugar and water is cooked to 248°F.
Package bees will often leave a hive soon after they are installed. Honeybees will quickly abandon their new beekeeper’s hive to take their chances somewhere else. It is hard to get them back, but there are a few tricks of the trade to keep it from happening again.
A gift guide for beekeepers with great gifts under $25 that work for beginner beekeepers and veterans alike. You can’t go wrong with any of these gifts if you are looking for a great present for your beekeeper.
Winter feeding is sometimes necessary, but sometimes it can do more harm than good. If you want to feed your bees during winter, it’s best to do it the right way.
Queen cups are very common in a beehive during the spring and summer. The bees build them in preparation for raising a new queen, but bees will build much more than they need. More often than not, the bees do not ever use them, but just build them just in case.
Bees can leave their hive seemingly for no reason, especially package bees. Only couple days after installing a package of bees into a hive, they can abandon it completely. It happens fairly often, especially with new beekeepers.
Instagram is a great way to learn about beekeeping. We consolidated the best instagram accounts to bring you the 5 we most recomend. Check out their pages to see what we mean.
Choosing between beekeeping veils and suits is daunting, especially when trying to make a decision as a new beekeeper from a catalogue of equipment you have never seen or put your hands on. There are so many different options and prices, complicating the matter instead of making it easier. More options are not always better. We chose our favorite style and our least favorite style.
Super is short for superstructure, which refers to the boxes placed on a beehive for bees to store honey. Historically, a super was always medium, 6 5/8-inch tall box or a shallow 5 3/4-inch tall box. Both are traditionally referred to as supers, exclusive of the deep 9 5/8-inch box used on the bottom of the hive.
Ever want to know what your bees are doing each month? Want to know what beekeepers are supposed to be doing each month to help their bees? Watch our monthly video or better yet, subscribe to our Bees & Beekeepers newsletter to get a more in depth glimpse into your bees each month.
Many beekeepers use foundation to help the bees, but not all foundation is made the same. Cell sizes differ greatly among brands, as does amount of wax sprayed onto plastic foundation. Smaller cell sizes allow for more eggs to be laid by the queen, creating a more compact brood nest.
Assembling foundationless frames can be very simple to do, but some best practices can be followed to increase the chance of success. We have tried several different ways, from wiring frames to breaking paint sticks in half. Read how we assemble our foundaitonless frames effeciently now.
Showing you how to assembled 50 langstroth frames with foundation with only 25 seconds per frame. We used 1 1/4-inch long staples and Titebond 3 wood glue to assemble them. Each frame is fitted with our heavily waxed foundation with 2x as much beeswax as standard plastic foundation.
As a beginner beekeeper, it is important to choose whether to use 8 frame bee equipment or 10 frame bee equipment before starting to keep bees. There are advantages and disadvantages to using both types, so read our blog to find out which is right for you.
Pine is popular because it is inexpensive, grows quickly and is easy to cut. Cypress is popular as it grows slowly in wet areas, creating a denser wood with tight growth rings and increased durability. The tight rings and the naturally present preservative cypressene minimizes decay, allowing cypress bee hives to last longer than any beekeeper does. Even "new growth" cypress from todays trees carry the same natural preservatives as when cypress trees were first harvested.
Starting to keep bees requires a lot of upfront decision making, some are easy to change later than others. Choosing to use all medium boxes or a combination of deep, medium or shallow boxes is decisions that is harder to change later. If you use a combination of sizes, it is difficult to undue that decision and change to only medium boxes.
The average pollen grain is 25 microns wide, much smaller than the smallest filter a non-commercial beekeeper will have. Filters designed for straining honey for hobby beekeepers come in three sizes, 200 microns, 400 microns and 600 microns. These numbers represent the size of the tiny holes in each filter.
We don't think much about honeybees during the winter. Well they are alive and well, just in a sort of hibernation inside their hive. For the bees it is a race against time and cold weather if they are going to survive the winter.
First year beekeepers can have a tough time figuring out what to do. We wrote a one page primer on parts of a bee hive, advice for beginner beekeepers and a few other tips.
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As of September 2015, honey cannot be certified organic by the USDA. Any certified honey sold in the United States is imported from other countries and certified organic by that country. A US beekeeper can have non-certified organic honey that is raised organically, but it is nearly impossible to actually produce. Read on to know why.
Hive scale data can supply so much information. Learn in 1 year, what normally takes years to learn through traditional observation. From reading how the weight changes week to week, we can learn what is happening in the hive without having to open it.
Beekeepers are told to put an entrance reducer on each hive before winter starts. Oft citing the need for an entrance reducer is to keep rodents out. It certainly does do that, but that's not why we use them.
If a beekeeper can handle working sans gloves, it’s admirable to me. For those who use gloves, working bees without gloves is a great goal to work towards. If you don't know how to read your bees, work them without gloves and they will teach you.
Video Short: Installing bees into new hives on a beautiful Birmingham, Alabama day.
Keeping bees can be tough at times, but we have gotten pretty good at it. Learn from our mistakes and make your foundationless beekeeping attempts more sucessful than our first attempts.
Make sugar syrup for your bees using these easy recipes for 1 gallon or 5 gallons at a time. This guide is for making thin, 1:1 sugar syrup quickly and easily without a mess. Find out how much sugar to feed your bees to equal 1 frame of capped "honey".
When you have a 2 or more hives to feed, we find it easier to make about 5 gallons of syrup at a time, rather than 1 gallon at a time. To do this, we measured out the fill marks on the inside of 2 (5-gallon) buckets. Each bucket has a fill line for the water and a separate fill line for the sugar.
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Making sugar syrup for your bees can be confusing, especially for new beekeepers. We spell out the recipes needed to make thin 1:1 syrup and thick 2:1 syrup. We give you a chart to figure out how much sugar syrup you need to feed your bees in the fall and how much it will cost you to make it.
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