Beeyard Fortified.

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6 Responses

  1. Doug Ladd says:


    You mentioned feeding Mega Bee syrup. I am a firm believer in feeding mega bee patties and have seen it turn hives around from an early dearth brink of failure.

    However, as Small Hive Beetles move into the central VA area etc, patties are less than advisable. feeding Mega bee dry is one way, but i have yet to try making syrup with it. What is your recipe and results versus patties, and why not patties in your case?

    Just trying to learn from others experience before i have SHB’s.

    Thanks for any info.

    Buffalo Bee Farm
    Buckingham, VA

    • -bW says:

      Hi Doug

      While I was in Florida, I saw lots of hive beetles. And they liked the Megabee syrup as much as the patties.

      In the past, I’ve always made my own custom pollen substitute mix. But with just 10 hives, it’s expensive. And most of the ingredients must be bulk ordered resulting in much of pollen sub setting around for years before it’s used. So, I had Western Bee Supply toss a couple of bags on the pallet of wooden ware I’d ordered.

      I’d split three hives into ten singles with migratory covers at the beginning of our typical June dearth. So I feed Megabee syrup in division board feeders. I started with Megabee’s recommended recipe.

      Now here’s the interesting part. The bees almost completely ignored the stuff. Even in the middle of a dearth! So, I minimized the amount of Megabee and maximized the sugar syrup. The bees didn’t take this mix any better. So, I went the other way and essentially had a division board feeder filled with a wet Megabee patty. Still no response.

      Then I tried a dry sugar Megabee mix. And finally sugar syrup without any Megabee with the same results.

      These bees just didn’t want to take much supplemental feeding, in any form, even when nothing else was coming in. I don’t believe the cause rests with the Megabee, sugar or water I used. But I think it’s one of the symptoms of this strange malaise my bees have been suffering from.

      It’s only in the last couple of days that some of the hives have started taking the mixture with vigor. I had planned to pull the division board feeders. But will now leave them with the bees.


  2. Zachary Murphy says:

    First up— never saw horses crib beehives, are the horses getting salt? Also, doesn’t syrup freeze in winter when feeding bees? Bees still foraging here in the Pocatello valley, sparse pickings!

    • -bW says:

      Hi Zachary

      Never had a problem with horses until now. I’m not sure about the salt. They roam around on more than a section of hilly, brush covered land and I seldom even see them.

      I’m feeding granulated sugar to the bees now. It’s a hedge against harder times soon to come. They can quickly get to it when it’s over the cluster versus honey on frames near the side. It doesn’t stimulate brood rearing much. No fermentation problems. And it can quickly and easily be replenished when they need more next spring.

      My bees are still flying. But it’s mostly a useless activity they use to burn off those extra sugar calories. 🙂


  3. lisa says:

    I am putting in hives this spring and have horses I have read stories of bees attacking and killing horses Of course, I do not want this to happen! My hives are seperated by a minumum of 20 feet from the horses with panels. I am also thinking/plaining of putting up 6 foot solid fencing to seperate them from the horses..any other ideas ? any reason to worry? thank you

    • -bW says:

      Hi Lisa

      I’ve had commercial beeyards in horse pastures for decades without any problems, with three exceptions. The yards were fenced with barbed wire to keep the horses from knocking over the hives.

      The bees and horses soon get used to each other. The bees learn that the horses are a natural part of the area. And the horses learn not to sniff hive entrances. I’ve seen a horse take a single sting and trot off. But never have seen them enrage a hive, even when they knock one over. And the horses can quickly handle a few angry bees by trotting off.

      The first exception was a combination of Russian bees and horses sprayed with a commercial horse fly spray that had been mixed too strong. The horses were tied up and sprayed with the fly spray. Foraging bees, returning to their hives on the other side of the barn, would dive 30′ out of the sky and attack anything that had been sprayed, including the ground and dried grass stems. It’s the only time I’ve been stung on my eyeball!

      Out of control foragers are one thing, out of control horses another. The panicked horses were cut loose. Fled the area and soon calmed down. The bees continued to dive out of the sky and attack the sprayed area for another hour.

      I walked through the beeyard and the hives were calm. I returned with a small amount of horse fly spray on a paper towel. The Russian bees instantly attacked the towel. The other bees payed no attention to it. The Russian bees have a keen sense of smell. And they don’t like any unusual smells.

      Moral of the story: Always suit up and do a small paper towel test before using any horse fly product on horses with bees in the area.

      Second exception, horses and Africanized bees. I had a couple of Africanized hives in a beeyard, located in a horse pasture. Horses and the bees were no problem. The yard was unfenced and the horses grazed inside and around the hives. One day, I forgot my smoker. So, I gently lifted off a lid to see if the hives needed supered. Very bad mistake. In less than 30 seconds I was forced to retreat to my truck. And the bees were killing any bird that flew through the area. Very life threatening!

      Now what? Here come the horses! Thought I was going to have to buy a half dozen dead horses. But not so! The horses moved through the beeyard with impunity! And they continued to graze in the area until a single sting, on one horse chased them off. Go figure!

      The last exception, horses chewing hives which you know about.

      I’ve only run bees on other people’s horse pastures.For more information, check with Michael Bush. He keeps both horses and bees.


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