Honey bound?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by Hobie, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. Hobie

    Hobie New Member

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    If you are late adding a super, is it possible that the bees will not pass the existing honey to fill it?

    I have one colony that was busting at the seams the 1st of July. Two deeps packed with brood and honey. I added a super. The colony apparently swarmed because the population dropped and about mid-July there was almost no brood and I found old swarm cells.

    Yesterday, I pulled a frame and had to look twice because it looked like they had taped a photograph of the "perfect frame" onto it. Beautiful! And here's me with no camera. Frames was mostly brood. Lots and lots of honey in the 2nd deep. The super (which had extracted frames) has been cleaned out but is still empty, and there are only a few bees crawling around on the combs.

    Or perhaps the flow has dwindled. There is still clover but not as much as there was.
     
  2. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Not honey bound.

    Bees slow after the summer solstice and the days get shorter. The bees, although clover still around, has seen a slow down in the nectar. So they are very smart in the manner that they will utilize every available space around the brood chamber and will squeeze it lower and lower, so going into winter, they will start at the bottom.

    You can leave the super on as your not doing much harm....right now. They may actually use it and benefit from the space as it is still warm. But by the middle of September do one of three things. 1) Remove the full super to extract after knowing the colony has enough for winter. 2) Take it off if it is half filled and give to a light hive. (even a half super, which normally is not a good thing, is better than having a light hive starve.) 3) Take any partially filled super off and set in out away fro the hive. Let the bees rob it back out and pack the brood chamber full.

    In any given year, I do not count on much excess honey for July or August. Even in the best of summers, I would rather take off honey by the beginning of July and allow the bees to pack it in and get ready for winter. I may keep a few extra supers on the strongest hives. But this is for the sole reasoning of having extra honey for any light hives I find in the September inspection.

    I'm also doing many of my splits after July first and so this is best without many supers. The hives being split have more than enough room to store excess honey and normally have a way to go in getting ready for winter as it is. Fall flow honey is not taken anymore by this beekeeper. Not worth the hassle or benefit to wait till September or later to take honey off.
     

  3. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Dispite the warm weather, the bees are actually assembling their winter brood chamber by starting to force the queen into laying on one brood chamber, will by design start to slow down on consumables, honey, pollen, while at same time place needed stores within easy reach of a wintering colony. as for the empty super, as you noted the bees will clean it up, and because of the warm weather, provide them with clustering space when it really heats up. From that section of PA, you probably have what, 2 monthes of actual bee weather, after that starts to get too cold for bees to actively forage, and by then the fall nectar flow ( golden rod, aster ) will pretty much be done. August now, By October you can expect frost anytime. Not to say bees won't be flying, but there will be very little available for them. be assured your girls are only preparing for winter, and are conserving energy--using energy is related directly to food comsumed.
    Barry
     
  4. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    hobie writes:
    If you are late adding a super, is it possible that the bees will not pass the existing honey to fill it?

    I have one colony that was busting at the seams the 1st of July. Two deeps packed with brood and honey. I added a super. The colony apparently swarmed because the population dropped and about mid-July there was almost no brood and I found old swarm cells.


    tecumseh:
    I must say hobie at least one response to your first question (above) sounds confused (confusing).

    I would say that honey bound is honey bound no matter what the time of year. in almost all places this condition is only a problem some times (see paragraph below) but yes generally the girls are disencouraged from crossing to an empty box and yes often time the inevitable results is swarming. at the tail end of the season this replication is especially tragic since the swarm has almost zero chance of making it till spring.

    I suspect it works like this...
    the girls refuse to cross over a space so the only space available is the brood nest which quickly becomes restricted with even a trickle of feed coming in, fairly soon the queen has a smaller and smaller area in which to lay and quite quickly the hive swarms.
     
  5. barry42001

    barry42001 New Member

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    Hobie,
    To avoid any confusion, on anything I have written, firstly, the girls are infact preparing for winter, weather aside, the brood nest will start to contract, it's natural. I have often stated I use full depth supers for hive bodies, and everything else for that matter. I will tell you that I don't want to see less then a full super ( full depth super ) of honey above the lower brood chamber for overwintering. Knowing what to expect from the fall flows, and that they tend to be sparadic at best I would rather err on the side of caution and allow them to fill that upper brood chamber, and start to fill the lower chamber this is what would happen in a hollow tree naturally restricting the queen when resources are scarce.
    Barry