local-honey-bee-suppliesRJ Honey Farm

Feed, Feed, Feed

Think of yourself as a banker. You've been asked to invest in a capital project.
That capital project is the bee hive. You received five frames of bees and brood. By the end of the season you want twenty frames of bees, brood and honey. Will you invest in the honey bee's home?

It costs a lot to build a home whether you or someone else built it. It is the same for the bees. Nectar is the capital the honey bee uses to build her home which we call comb. Eight pounds of honey will be the capital required to build one pound of comb. Nectar is also used to feed the new babies. And we all know how expensive kids are.

The weather this year has put beekeepers at a disadvantage. Too much rain. Too much cold. The bees keep the brood nest at 92 degrees. With all the cold a lot of resources have been expended keep the brood warm. Every time it rains the nectar and pollen get washed out of the flowers. The trees and flowers take several days to ramp up again. Then it rains again! The rain also dilutes the nectar. Instead of bringing back a Bennie to help with the building of the comb, the diluted nectar is only worth a Washington. More trips have to be made to gather resources.

Your part is to feed. The two quart top feeder is an excellent way to feed your bees. It goes on top of the inner cover so you don't have to disturb the bees. No bees will drown. You can go to the hive in a veil and quickly swap out the jars.

Another option is the frame feeder. One frame needs to be removed from the deep box. This replaces it. The feeder makes things tight. It holds about a gallon of feed. The ladders help prevent most bees from drowning. You need to open the hive to check and refill.

There are many other options. These are the two we've found most helpful.

The feed is 1:1 sugar to water as in 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. We add a bit of white vinegar. This reduces the pH closer to what nectar is and helps keep the feed from molding. Mix the sugar and water. Heating a bit will help but don't boil.

Feed all season long until twenty frames of comb are built. They will take what they need.

Now go out and invest in your hive!