Home | About | Products | Blog

Winter feeding


#1

Matt,

Im wondering if you have any suggestions on winter feeding for a warre. I dont want to open the hive up when it is so cold. My bees were badly robbed out this fall (I didnt realize that the hive had swarmed late summer until I had to deal with the robbing) and im sure that they will need something from me within the next couple of months. Can I use an entrance feeder since the danger of robbing is gone in the cold? If so, is there an entrance feeder available for a warre hive or would I have to build one? Also, should I be worried about pollen. Do robbing bees steal pollen too?

When is it too cold to go inside the hive?

I am also wondering how you would go about winterizing a horizontal top bar hive for a chicago lake front climate? I wrapped mine in roofing felt/tar paper but it was a royal pain in the ass to do. Is there a better way?

Thank you for any info you can offer,

Tera


#2

Tera,

At this point it looks like it’s too cold there to feed syrup, as they likely won’t take it and it will cause more problems than it will help. You’ll need to feed candy (fondant). You can actually just lay some fondant right across the bars of the top box and put an empty box around it. You may want to put something like burlap or a container over it so that the bees can’t move past the fondant and begin building in the empty box. Or, if you’re determined to avoid opening the hive at all, you could lay it on the floor of the hive. I wouldn’t worry too much about pollen. Robbing bees are generally more interested in honey.

Here are David Heaf’s thoughts on Fondant, with a simple explanation of his recipe: http://www.dheaf.plus.com/warrebeekeepi … _hives.htm

Here in Portland – and pretty much all of Oregon – it doesn’t really get cold enough to warrant wrapping the hive, unless, of course, it’s in a very exposed area with a lot of wind. I’ve heard of beekeepers putting hay bales around the hives, as well as using tar paper as you have. I’m not sure that any methods are simple – all are likely a pain in the ass!

Here are Dennis Murrell’s thoughts on winterizing: http://beenatural.wordpress.com/top-bar … ment/fall/

Best,

Matt