21 Apr 2015

Feeding Bees for Fun and Profit

Submitted by Mike

Over the past week it has rained and rained. Not only is my driveway now called ‘The Muddy Mile’ but the bees can’t fly and feed. Even if they could, all of the nectar has been wiped out for the next few days so now I’m feeding bees. I was already feeding my two new hives as they are building comb which is new for me. In the past, I‘ve been very averse to feeding bees. I have never like the idea of feeding bees a bunch of sugar just to harvest it back as honey but as I was getting my hives ready for the new bees I had an epiphany. While I was putting in a few frames of drawn comb into the hive body it hit me. There, in the frames that I was putting into the box to help jump start the new hive was all of this comb that the previous hive build out of resources that could have been honey. If I feed the bees (cheap) sugar water while they are building the comb, then they can put more (expensive) honey in the super for me. That one thought is now the foundation for my new principles for feeding bees and getting more honey:

  1. Feed bees so they can (quickly) build comb.
    • This enables them to send less time building comb as I can feed them more sugar as a faster rate than the bee can collect nectar naturally. (More Honey)
    • Less resources are put into the comb that I never harvest which in turn enables more resources to be put into honey for me. (More Honey)
  2. Feed new/week colonies to get them stronger faster.
    • If I put $120.00+ into the purchase of a new hive, why would I not put $20.00 into some sugar to help them live? A dead hive produces no honey. (More Honey)
  3. Feed bees during the spring build up.
    • If the honey flow doesn’t hit when the hive expected it, the hive could starve itself out. A dead hive produces no honey. (More Honey)
    • The more resources the hive has, the more bees it can raise. More bees (usually) = more honey. (More Honey)
  4. Let the bees eat sugar; I want honey.

I don’t care what makes up the honey that the bees store in the hive body. I want all of that clove/popular/black gum/wild flower nectar in MY honey. (More honey)