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Late start, should I feed?


Mid-June, I obtained a swarm from a local beekeeper (don’t know when he caught it) and transferred it from his Langstroth nuc to my new TBH. I did not take any of the comb from his nuc. He did, however, give me a large jar of honey so I could feed the bees for awhile until they got reestablished in the new hive and started building comb.

The hive appears to be doing well so far. The honey lasted about three weeks. I am seeing lots of brood & brood comb, but barely any capped honey. The bees have built on about 12 bars so far. They have 5-6 empty bars available and are crawling on them, but haven’t built anything in the last few weeks.

Should I be worried that they don’t have much honey stores at this point? i.e. do I need to feed them again and/or over the fall & winter? I was hoping to not have to feed my bees but since we got off to a late start, I don’t want to be cruel and let them starve, either.


Where are you located?


I’m here in Portland.


Sorry I forgot to follow up on this. I’d probably feed in your situation. And keep feeding up through Sept.



How, exactly, do you feed honey. Every way that I have tried (shallow pan with twigs, etc) has cost me in dead bees stuck in honey. I would love to use some honey for weaker hives, but haven’t figured out how to.

I use sugar feeding (cane sugar, with creme of tartar to make ‘invert sugar’) but if I leave for a couple of weeks, there is no way to keep the feedings going while I am gone.




What is invert sugar? How and why do you do it?


You can feed honey using jar (like we sell) or bucket feeders. They don’t allow any drowning.



Here’s a quote on invert syrup:

"…table sugar that has been hydrolyzed to invert syrup containing glucose and fructose is often fed to bees. Justification for this practice is not based upon nutritional data but on an assumption that hydrolysis aids digestion. Syrups are convenient to feed, and hydrolysis reduces granulations in syrup. Also, robbing may be less of a problem with inverted sugar because glucose and fructose become less attractive than sucrose when bees reach foraging age (Barker and Lebner, 1974c). But all this applies to invert syrup made from sucrose (table sugar). Although the inverted sugar tastes sweeter to man, it is no more attractive than sucrose to bees.

Doull (1974) fed 3 syrups produced by hydrolysis of wheat starch. These invert syrups were detrimental to bees in confinement. Doull suspected undigested polysaccharides, particularly starch, to be harmful. He obtained better results with sucrose than with his invert syrups."


Thanks, Matt. I did start feeding them sugar syrup last week and have, I think, inadvertently set off some grand-scale robbing. Bees running around the inside of the hive like crazy. I closed down the entrances to just the first set of two holes in hopes that this will help. My poor bees have had it hard this summer…