I used to add dry sugar to my hives in January or February following what some call The Mountain Camp Method, but this year I decided to add sugar around the same time I wrapped my hives, in late November. Why not? I have several reasons for adding the sugar early — the main reason is I don’t want to see another colony starve to death — but ultimately it doesn’t hurt to put the sugar on early and it saves me the trouble of having to do it in the middle of winter with snow all around. So yeah, why not? Here’s a video that shows how I did it.

This is probably the last time I’ll post a video about the Mountain Camp Method. There’s not much else to see.

I also mention in the video (at the 58sec mark) how one of my hives was full of exceptionally nasty bees until I moved the colony far away from my other colonies and just like that they settled down to become the nicest bunch of bees around. This is just speculation, but for now on whenever I come across an especially defensive colony, I’ll try moving it way off by itself, far from any other colonies, before I resort to requeening.

ADDENDUM (Jan. 16/14): It’s come to my attention that covering the entire top bars with sugar isn’t a good idea because then you can’t see down into the frames to see how the bees are doing. I knew that last year but forgot about it this year. So don’t do what I did. Cover only the back two-thirds or so of the top bars.

3 Responses to “Pre-Winter Raw Sugar Feeding”

  1. steve says:

    Checked in occasionally over the summer. Glad to see you’re back and posting. Started a couple hives this past spring; now hoping to get them through a southern Ontario winter. Cold, warm, snow, rain …..
    I enjoy your work and find your site a great spot to spend the lunch hour.


  2. Karen says:

    They might have been nasty because they were being robbed by the other hives. That’s happened with one of my hives.

    • Phillip says:

      Robbing was the first thing I thought of, but the colony was always large enough to defend itself, and the bees were nasty all the time even during the cold deep of winter.

      I was planning to requeen the colony, but those bees made more honey and made it faster than any of my other colonies, and that’s after I gave away about 7 frames of brood to some beekeeping friends of mine. Even though they don’t like the company of other bees (and they’re probably not in love with me either), I’ve never seen a more robust colony.

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