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Can You Relate?

 

Feeling frustrated and ready to quit After three years and not once any honey in a super, this hobby has only cost me time and money. Things were starting to look up! A super was being filled! I had hope!

Now my hives are being robbed! 

I live near Lake Simoce in Ontario. I see all your beautiful photos of jars of honey and your stores of super upon super of liquid gold.

I've had a hive die, now dealing with robbers. I feed, I mite treat, I've naturalized my yard and garden. And nothing.

Sorry for the depressing rant, but no one else I know cares to hear me talk about bees

Picture of me and my baby bee  

Feeling Frustrated and Ready to Quit?

We’ve all been there!

You read books, attended a class, watched webinars … Everything you could do, you did! And still your bees and YOU aren’t working out. It can be so frustrating!

The best advice that can be heeded is, “Don’t give up!” Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t you! It may be your bees, or your location. Consider this – Requeen when possible and move your bees. And as ridiculous as it sounds – Buy more bees! Often only having a single colony or even 2 won’t give you the resources needed to share between the hives. This is a crucial element in successful beekeeping.

It has been proven over and over again that some locations aren’t conducive for a thriving colony. It could even amount to “just feet” for the move. Try moving your hive to the other side of your yard or property. Also consider the amount of shade vs sunlight the hive is getting. Change it either direction. If it was in a sunnier than shadier spot, try giving them a bit more shade… same goes if it was sitting in a shady spot, give it more sun.

Sometimes small adjustments can make all the difference in the world!

Let’s face it – We don’t know what we don’t know, until we know it!

Open Feeding

Open feeding has a few pros and cons. In general, the cons outweigh the pros.

Pros:

  • It more accurately simulates a natural nectar flow, as the bees exit the hive and forage for the syrup. This can help promote more brood production, but only minimally.
  • You don’t have to open your hives to feed them

Cons:

  • Strong hives tend to gather the most, and weaker hives tend to be able to gather very little. Thus, weaker hives still have to be fed internally.
  • Bees can share viruses and mites as they congregate tightly together at feeders
  • You are feeding all the bees in the neighborhood, not just yours
  • If the weather is rainy or cool, bees won’t forage for syrup
  • Other animals love syrup too!

If you do choose to open feed, make sure the feeder prevents the bees from drowning. Typically, a 1:1 syrup works best, as bees more readily forage on 1:1, and are less likely to drown. An inverted bucket of syrup, with very small holes drilled in the edge of the bucket, allowing the rim to fill with syrup works well. Alternatively, a chicken waterer works perfectly too!

Two-gallon bucket with lid.

Drilling holes in each section with smallest drill bit possible.

Fill the bucket with syrup; secure the lid tightly and turn it upside down on top of either a larger bucket or platform. And always place the feeder bucket at least 25 yards away from your bees to help prevent any robbing of your own hives.

Photo/Instruction Credit: Nancy Buffington - Keeping Backyard Bees 2015

 

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