When we made the decision to requeen our swarm hive, we decided that it wouldn’t hurt to feed them a little sugar-water at the same time. Basically, feeding never hurts and just might help in pretty much any bee situation. This hive does have honey stores robbed from one of our other hives, but apparently bees are reluctant to eat capped honey, saving that for emergencies, which means nectar (or sugar-water) is needed to stimulate them into a growth spurt.
So, 6 days after requeening (that’s how long it took us to borrow a feeder after we discovered the shop was out of stock) we got our hands on the equipment. I’m guessing this is actually a home-made feeder and looks dead-easy to make.
First step, boil up the water and sugar mix (50-50), let it cool and put it in a jar with holes in the lid.
Turn that jar upside down in the feeder, making sure there is plenty of space (larger than the standard bee-space) for the bees to get in and have a good feed. And be certain the sugar-water doesn’t drip, they’re supposed to suck it out, not bathe in it.
Then slide the feeder into the hive entrance. With this type of feeder there is no need to remove the hive lid. We did because a) we wanted to make sure the feeder was inside the hive divider since this hive isn’t a full box (yet) and b) because we installed a hive mat to keep the small hive a little warmer as the nights cool down.
All this “nectar” should help the bees draw comb, feed brood and, importantly, should encourage our new queen to lay because there is an amazing flow on.
Let the feasting begin!
And begin it did. Here’s the feeder after 24 hours. Lord only know how fast it would have vanished if the hive was full of bees instead of this tiny little colony.
The good news is they are still bringing in pollen. You can see the pollen on the back legs of the bee just to the left of the feeder as she vanishes with her treasure into the hive.
I think this free feed is making our bees very happy. Within 2 hours of taking this photo, the feeder was empty. We refilled it and fed them another jar of sugar-water at dusk. We may give them another partial jar (the remaining syrup from our 2 cup sugar/2 cup water mix) but then that will be it. That should have stimulated the queen into laying and the colony into building out comb. Or that’s what we hope.
The final step, as always, patience… wait and see what actually happens in the hive. I really hate waiting!