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Early cold weather- need feeding advice!

 
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Shoshanna
New Bee


Joined: 17 Sep 2017
Posts: 2
Location: OR

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:37 pm    Post subject: Early cold weather- need feeding advice! Reply with quote

In Oregon fall has surprised us and come a month early. There was poor forage and it was smokey from fires throughout the summer (time to move?). Checked my hives and very light on stores. I have never had to feed before, so I'm in need of advice. Reading online about a modified top bar for winter feeding, and then placing fondant or hard candy above the bars, but haven't found where Phil describes or provides a photo of this modified top bar. Are we talking about drilling holes in a bar? Is the bar placed on the honey side of the brood nest, or further in? We have wet winters here, so wondering if dry sugar or hard candy is better than fondant. How would dry sugar be placed above the bars? Wrapped in a cloth perhaps?
I am hoping to place feed that can last a few months, as I'll be away during the coldest months.
Any advice appreciated!
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1564
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it has not yet become frosty in your area then I would get some thick syrup into them first. The advantage of syrup is that they can store it as they would honey ie in the comb where they need it. If you are going to give them a slab of fondant, either hung from a top bar or attached to the follower board, it needs to be right next to the last bar of comb that contains honey.... ie no empty comb or bars in between. Bees should be back filling the brood nest now and start the winter near the entrance and slowly eat their way towards the back of the hive. If there are any empty combs/gaps, during a cold spell they will not be able to cross them, so fondant needs to be right next to the last bar of honey/syrup. All other empty comb should be moved to the other side of the follower out of the way, to be replaced next spring.
If you want to place the fondant above the bars, then a top bar with holes drilled in it should be the last or second last from the final combs with honey. Again all empty combs at the back of the hive at this time of year can be removed. Your fondant should be a last resort, so should be placed where they will access it after all their honey is gone. I hope that makes sense.

Good luck with them

Barbara
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Shoshanna
New Bee


Joined: 17 Sep 2017
Posts: 2
Location: OR

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes, it all makes perfect sense!
I just caught an older utuve vid of Phil's where he puts fondant in an empty comb. I was also thinking I could pack dry sugar into an empty comb.
I realize that feeding above the bars would cause them to break cluster so that would only work in warm weather.
I am feeding syrup now- I've been so anti-feeding, but now I wish I had started sooner! Thank goodness no frost yet- I'm not ready for winter so soon!
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 285
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been using the Tetrapak feeder in my TBH.

Fill a Tetrapak with granulated sugar and top up to the bottom of the cap hole with as much hot water as it will hold.

Close and shake.

Leave for a few days turning it regularly.

When it's needed lay it down with the cap upwards and cut from the an inch below the cap, near the edge down to the bottom, across and up the other side.

Put it on the bottom, push the flap down into the syrup.and move it under and up to the combs.
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