Solstice

Local question related to beekeeping in the Piedmont Triad area asked and answered here!

Moderators: Wally, Jacobs

Wally
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Solstice

Post by Wally » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:43 pm

Sunday will be Winter Solstice. Each day after that will have a little more daylight. It is said that this is one of nature's ways of telling the creatures spring is on the way.

The queen can resume laying anytime from then until mid Jan. For best buildup and strong hives, many keepers begin feeding both sugar water and pollen substitute shortly after Solstice. By mid Jan. at the latest, for maximum effectiveness. Just be sure they have it available constantly. Feeding, then letting them run out before spring will be worse than not feeding in the beginning, as it will cause them to have thousands of larva to feed, but no stores to feed them.

drewgrim
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Post by drewgrim » Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:20 pm

what is a good pollen substitute that you would suggest? also how much should i expect one hive to consume on average?

thanks for the info, very helpful.

Wally
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Post by Wally » Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:24 pm

I like the Global.

Wyatt, Frank B Jr
740 S Fieldcrest Rd
Eden, NC 27288
336-635-5821
Queens and Global Pollen patties

Jacobs
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Post by Jacobs » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:27 am

Happy bee new year 2009! I tagged this to Wally's post from last year as a reminder to everyone that there is a lot of good information on our board if you will go back and review the posts.

It will be even better with more questions/discussions from area beekeepers.

Jacobs
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Post by Jacobs » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:39 am

Another bee new year! Wally's reminder remains good, but I don't think Frank Wyatt is selling pollen patties anymore.

If you are planning on protein supplements for the bees for later this winter, consider Wally's yeast/soy flour/sugar mixture, or pollen patties from local resellers like Triad Bee Supply or major suppliers like Brushy or Dadant.

AS OF FEBRUARY 2012, WALLY TELLS ME FRANK WYATT IS SELLING GLOBAL POLLEN PATTIES AGAIN. HIS CONTACT INFORMATION IS IN OUR LOCAL SUPPLIER SECTION.
Last edited by Jacobs on Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: update FRANK WYATT information

drewgrim
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Post by drewgrim » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:16 pm

any one have any suggestions on a how to?
how do you feed them sugar water without top feeders? or is it ok to put the top feeders back on?

how do you feed them pollen patties? i gave them patties one year and it seemed like all it did was feed hive beetles. how could i make the feeding more productive?

i know there are lots of variables but i have always wanted to start feeding after the solstice and just never been sure how to start and with what.

Jacobs
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Post by Jacobs » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:04 pm

I have 2 jar feeders with between 2:1 and 1:1 sugar water about 30 feet behind my hives. I don't use the jar feeder bases since bees clog them and die but I put the jars up on wood blocks where bees can get to the jar lids. I put these jars out on any day where it may be warm enough for the bees to fly. Even when they have been cooped up for over a week they don't seem to have any problem remembering where it is and finding it quickly.

This morning I also put out a bowl of the dry mix (8lbs Wally's brewers yeast, 1lb soy flour, +/- 1/2 lb home made powdered sugar) rather than placing pollen patties. The bees are really going for it. I will snap a picture and add it to this post later.

I will probably do what Ski did and put the pollen substitute powder INSIDE a bucket so that moisture won't get on it but the bees will have access to it.

Once I really start with the pollen substitute and sugar water, I will try and make sure it is available to the bees, even if I have to put a spacer over my top medium on each hive and use a variation of the Mountaincamp method of dry feeding sugar and in this case dry pollen substitute.

I DON'T want the bees ramping up brood production only to have them starve because I did not supply the increasing food needs prior to the natural blooming of red maple (early natural pollen) and the nectar flow.

drewgrim
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Post by drewgrim » Sun Jan 16, 2011 1:10 pm

what is the benefit to the mountain top method vs just using a hive top feeder?

looks like with the mountain top you can have sugar water and pollen, dry sugar and not the condensation issues of a hive top feeder.

Jacobs
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Post by Jacobs » Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:38 pm

Mountaincamp method is not really superior, it is more of an emergency feed situation to make sure that the bees do not starve. If it is generally too cool for the bees to take liquid sugar water, the feed may go bad. Having the dry sugar on newspaper above your top super has the dual effect of collecting moisture on the newspaper and giving an emergency food source that bees can walk up to at those times when they can move in the hive but are not inclined to go strongly to the liquid.

Image (I went ahead and posted the pollen substitute, external sugar water feeding photo here, rather than editing the last post.)

If the bees will take sugar water (and pollen substitute) externally, that is fine. If it is warm enough for the bees to take pollen patties and internal sugar water feeding, that is also good. In colder climates, Mountaincamp method is a way beekeepers can make sure there is a food source in the hive at times when they clearly would not be able to go into a hive to feed. For me, Mountaincamp method is an option or a safeguard for situations where I may not be able to go in and internally feed but I where I have started stimulating brood rearing and do not want them to be caught short.

I have not had to use it, but will consider it as an option once I have begun serious brood stimulation.

Jacobs
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Re: Solstice

Post by Jacobs » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:43 am

Another bee new year is upon us, and I take this opportunity to bring up this series of posts to remind everyone about the upcoming ramp up of bee populations and to remind everyone of the good information contained in our old postings.

Jacobs
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Re: Solstice

Post by Jacobs » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:04 am

Happy bee new year once again. So far, the Mayan calendar/end of world prediction appears to be wrong since my back yard looks like it did yesterday, and the bees are still alive. If this holds for the rest of the day, you may want to take a look at the earlier postings in this subject line for some good information and helpful reminders about the year to come.

Jacobs
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Re: Solstice

Post by Jacobs » Sat Dec 21, 2013 6:59 am

Happy bee new year! I'm working on getting equipment ready for spring and refining plans for stimulating brood growth based on the prior postings in this line of posts.

Wally
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Re: Solstice

Post by Wally » Sat Dec 21, 2013 9:49 am

Now is the time to think spring. Walk up to the back of your hive. Take hold of the handle on both sides. Lift. If it is very heavy, all is well. If it is light, think FEED.
Do this once per week. In Feb. or Mar., you will notice it becoming lighter. This is when they can starve. They are feeding 20,000 new babies and the cupboard can become bare quickly.

If you start lifting now, once weekly, by then you will know what it should feel like, and which hives need feed.

CAUTION: Once you start feeding for spring, they will ramp up brooding. They can run out of food and starve the whole hive within 2 to 4 days. NEVER let the feeder get empty once spring feeding has began.

Jacobs
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Re: Solstice

Post by Jacobs » Sun Dec 22, 2013 6:38 pm

Looks like my bees got the memo. Even though it was extremely damp, most of my home hives were bringing in a yellow pollen this afternoon. I saw one bee enter the observation hive with pollen and start a waggle dance. After about 10-15 minutes, the vast majority of bees returning were carrying pollen. I suspect there are camellias nearby that are still in bloom.

herbcoop
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Re: Solstice

Post by herbcoop » Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:22 pm

Jacobs wrote:Looks like my bees got the memo. Even though it was extremely damp, most of my home hives were bringing in a yellow pollen this afternoon. I saw one bee enter the observation hive with pollen and start a waggle dance. After about 10-15 minutes, the vast majority of bees returning were carrying pollen. I suspect there are camellias nearby that are still in bloom.
I was out looking at the hive and they are bringing in a whitish or very light yellow but big chunks, do you think this is camellias?

Becky Hampton
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Re: Solstice

Post by Becky Hampton » Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:14 pm

My bees are bringing in dark golden pollen. I watched a number of them bringing it in this afternoon. I saw a few of them in the camellias a few days ago, but the cold has gotten the blossoms right now. Not sure where else this pollen could be coming from.

Jacobs
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Re: Solstice

Post by Jacobs » Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:11 am

I saw Stadiem's bees yesterday and a few were bringing in pollen. At one hive, a bee brought in the bright golden pollen. At another, the bee brought in a small amount of the dull yellow pollen. My hive that has really been collecting pollen has not been bringing in the dull yellow to this point. I don't know what may be blooming other than camellias and I wonder if there may be different varieties of camellias blooming now that have different colored pollens.

Wally
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Re: Solstice

Post by Wally » Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:10 am

I think many dead flowers retain their pollen. Goldenrod, for one. The bees can gather at any time.

Jacobs
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Re: Solstice

Post by Jacobs » Sun Dec 21, 2014 7:56 am

Happy bee new year 2014. I just finished re-reading this line of posts and will be putting out pollen substitute in a couple of weeks. I have kept a quart of honey water out for the bees since November (a very modest amount given the number of hives) and the bees show varying levels of interest in it. If they show a significant increase in interest, I can either go with a half gallon jar on the feeder or add more feeder bases with quart jars.

Jacobs
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Re: Solstice

Post by Jacobs » Mon Dec 21, 2015 6:43 am

Happy bee new year in a year where we have not had winter----yet. Yesterday, for the first time in over a month, my bees at home were showing heavy interest in water and an increased interest in the honey water feeder. They are working leatherleaf mahonia and checking out David's flowering quince, which has some open blooms. All hives were bringing in some pollen. I only hope that if the bees are starting to brood up that they have clusters large enough to cover the brood AND reach stored honey.

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