When to stop feeding?

Hi everyone,

I’m a new beekeeper, I’ve had my first hive since december. I’ve been filling their feeder with 1:1 sugar syrup since I got them and last week their population has suddenly exploded. Previously on inspections I’ve been able to see comb between bees but this time the frames were completely covered, and the comb beneath was almost completely full of eggs, larvae, and capped brood.

My concern is that with this population growth, and the lack of stored honey on the account of it all being used by brood, there won’t be any food for winter. Should I stop feeding? I’ve also added a super a few weeks ago but they haven’t built it out at all.

You dont feed bees all the time like a cat or dog. Feeding is strategic and to a certain extent is done to fix a situation. ie you feed when they run out of supplies when there is no pollen and nectar around as in winter or after a fire etc. You might give a late winter early spring feed to provide a boost for brood production if they are a bit weak.

Don’t feed whenever there are supplies around, bees can sometimes be great free loaders. Which is probably what is happening in your situation.

On the issue of adding supers I note there is a tendency for people to put on supers because they should. A super shoud be added when or rather just before it is needed. If there is blossom around which mostly all the time in all seasons except winter and your hive is full of brood and supplies then add a super. I think you always need to be just ahead of the bees and push them always with new space otherwise they just become lazy and this can feed all the way back to the queen who slows laying. Conversely in winter boxes should be removed as they become clear or there is more space in lower boxes otherwise the queen moves up to where it is warmer,