SPECIAL NOTICE October 6, 2016

CHECK YOUR BEES FOR FOOD STORES!    Your bees need a minimum of 60 lbs. of honey to get them safely through the winter.    Which means, RIGHT NOW is the time to make sure you have adequate winter feed.   We have had no rain in north Alabama so there are virtually no fall flowers.   Those that we do have (golden rod and aster) have virtually no nectar.   If you had surplus honey a month ago, check closely as they may well have (and probably have) consumed it during the summer drought.    Feed 2:1 sugar syrup or Fructose 55 at full strength.   Do it soon as the food needs to be in the hive before cold weather.

If you have one hive, purchase one 50 lb. bag of sugar from Sam's (or some any other source) and dissolve the entire bag in 3 gallons of water. That should yield approximately 6 gallons of syrup which is just over 60 lbs. I do not know what the ratio between 2:1 syrup and stored honey is but most likely the 6 gallons of syrup will be enough, however, heft your hives after feeding to make sure they got the syrup and not neighborhood bees (robbers).

This is based on the assumption that your hives have virtually no stored honey which is the case with approximately 2/3 of my colonies. If you have some stored honey obviously you would need to scale down the amount of syrup that you need to feed.  

I find that the 3 gallons of water needs to be heated (up to 212°F) in order to get 50 lbs. of sugar to dissolve in it. Heat the water, then pour in about half of the sugar. That should drop the temperature of the mixture to round 140°F. Allow the mixture to heat back up but not quiet to the boiling point (212°F), then mix the rest of the 50 lb. bag of sugar. Do not let the mixture get to 212°F after any sugar is added. Do not let the sugar accumulate in the bottom of your container while the heat is applied as this can caramelize the sugar which usually causes dysentery in the bees.

If you can get Fructose 55, feed it full strength which is roughly 3:1 if it is Fructose 55. All Fructose is not Fructose 55.     End of October 6, 2016 special notice.

SPECIAL NOTICE September 1, 2016

If you have a small colony that you fed 1:1 to stimulate brood rearing, be sure and check it for food stores.     The 1:1 syrup may have been pretty much used up to produce new bees.     If that is the case, you have a hive full of hungry bees and little or near no stores.  End of September 1, 2016 special notice.