About 30 minutes after installing the hive, I got the feeder installed on the top board, and put an extra super around it so that the top could go back on the hive. The feeder is just a “2 cup” Mason jar filled with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar, with a few holes punched in the lid, turn upside down. This provides an easy gravity fed dispenser since the vacuum from the existing syrup keeps it from rapidly leaking into the hive and drowning them in their own food.
Considering I am trying to be a “hands-off organic beekeeper”, feeding them sugar is a a little strange, but here is my logic. Remember this is not a full hive, but a “nuc”, which is really a baby colony. Yes, it has a laying queen, workers, drones and even honey, but it’s only five frames of an 8 frame single super, and is actually less than half the size it should be by this time of the year. It’s also just had its world rocked with a new hive body, new location (about 90 miles from their home), new fauna, and even a new sun orientation. If they are not confused, they should be. The syrup is there to give them a little extra food and energy while they get themselves situated over the next 48 hours. Once they start foraging for food, their interest in the sugar will wane, and I’ll remove it for the summer. I may add it back in the late fall to give them an extra boost for the winter, but I’ll make that call when I get there.