I had a strange thing happen when I checked on my bees today. I caught a swarm about 6 - 7 weeks ago. I have them in a deep hive body now and the queen is really laying - haven't seen her- but I do see capped brood - anyway, I put a top feeder on them to help them out because all I had was a new hive body, and I have been keeping 1:1 syrup on them. When I checked them today, the syrup was gone and those buggers had built comb up into that top feeder and when I did get it apart from the hive body that comb was packed full of honey!! I didn't know what to do with the mess so I just put the top feeder back on it for now - what do I do - rip all that comb out??? They still have 4 - 5 good frames in the hive body that they need to build comb on and start packing honey there???
And I took a super off one of my hives - the one that swarmed...TWICE!! because I think they just like going upstairs just to mess around and not do anything. They still have frames in their hive body that they need to get busy filling first I would think. Did I do the right thing there?
Just leave the feeder as is and keep feeding. They will work from the top down. They don't like empty space above their comb. If you have duragilt foundation or plastic frames or foundation, they may not draw them out.
OK - I'll leave the feeder and keep feeding them because they have the top filled and the only way they can go is down now! Hopefully next spring I can remedy that problem and put another hive body on these little gals. I do have Duragilt foundation and they did draw out 4 - 5 frames and that is all they are using. Then they decided to build their comb up into the middle section of the top hive feeder. The reason I used a top hive feeder is 1: I can put a lot of syrup in there and 2: I learned my lesson the hard way last year that you can't use a Boardman feeder on one hive because it causes robbing. I need to get some of the feeders that replace a frame but they hold a gallon. What do you think?
How long should I keep feeding this swarm I caught? I am afraid that I will need to feed it up through winter. We are still having a bit of a honey flow in this area because of some nice rains, but now the bees are really hitting my hummingbird feeders and that is usually a sign that a lot of their flowers are gone.
Some one closer to you may give you a better number for your area, but I would think you need about 50 lbs. of stores to get them through the winter.
I like the hive top feeders. You will have some pros and cons with all feeders.
Yes, July is the end of the main honey flow in most areas.