I could not resist feeding them again! They seemed to enjoy the honey the last two times, and it was warm enough to be able to open the hive without getting them too cold today. I've chosen to feed them honey instead of sugar because it is their natural food, and would not put extra stress on them - as the processing of sugar syrup or candy might. I've heard also that high sugar ingestion by the bees can create an imbalance in their guts - perhaps then leaving them more susceptible to disease processes, and an over abundance of pathogens. Makes sense to me.
I'm wondering if they just eat the honey, or if they take and store it for later when needed? I'm hoping the latter. I had initially purchased an organic, raw honey packaged in a glass jar to feed to to them. My intention was to stay as close to their own supplies as possible. But then I read on the packaging that the honey was from India. So although organic and raw, it was not local - and the unfamiliar nectar sources could put strain, even if temporary, on their delicate systems. Although there were some other local organic honeys to choose from, they were all packaged in plastic. I decided to go with the local honey packaged in glass - although not labeled organic I felt more comfortable taking those chances over the possibility of leaching plastic chemicals.
I did read somewhere recently that feeding them in the fall (perhaps when they don't need it?) can "over stimulate the queen". I don't know exactly what this meant, but assume perhaps it is a time that she is supposed to be taking a break from laying more eggs, and maybe the feeding of this kind of volume to her workers gets things moving too rapidly - or gives a false sense of supply and so stimulates her to start laying? I've since ordered some more books on biodynamic beekeeping, but with the information I had, I questioned briefly if it may have been better NOT to feed them - at least this early on - sensing they must have supplies on hand at least until January?
My conclusion is to relax and see what happens next, but I must admit, there is a sense of satisfaction around feeding them - I would imagine its like seeing your children eat all of their dinner - knowing they are well nourished.
I also read, again briefly, that although the queen does take a break at some point for a few weeks, there is brood rearing going on through the winter - as well as the associated concern for pollen stores for the young - as I think this high protein substance is their main food source until coming out of their cell.
Again - it seems to be a delicate balance among all of the elements. So far it has been easiest to rely on intuition and what they may "tell" me as far as what their needs are, and to relax if I'm not entirely sure of my movement...
In this process things I am watching are ...
Am I feeding them out of fear - that they will not survive?
Is it becoming a mental process?
Or, can I relax into the feeling Relationship that is always available ....
Bless you honey bees for joining me on this journey : )