Honey is gone

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Daniel Y, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Sorry if this is in the wrong forum. I looked under products of the hive and the tops did not seem to fit well. This issue is more about management than product.

    I started a hive from a 5 frame nuc last May. It was a strong nuc and built quickly. they filled two deep bodies with drawn foundation. honey. pollen and brood fairly quickly (30 days or so). So we where then to mid June.

    I then added a med super but the bees where very slow to get to even drawing the foundation in it. About a month or so if I recall so we are now at mid July. the bees did continue to fill the second deep and where looking like they woudl back fill the brood nest in the bottom deep. eventually they did start filling the med super.

    I was hoping that the bees would eventually get that med filled but never saw any sign they where making any further progress. I also robbed this hive of some brood frames and a couple of frames of honey replacing them with undrawn foundation in late July. I am thinking that they focused on filling these holes in the main hive. Slowing their progress on the med super even more. At any rate they never did get that med filled much more than half way with honey.

    I was also slow in getting the stuff to harvest the honey and really wanted to take it about a month ago. The equipment finally came yesterday also I went out to pull the frames of honey.

    Now I know all you experienced keepers already know what I found. A nearly empty med super. Very little honey and what there was very little of that was capped. The bees have either eatin it or moved it down to fill in empty space.

    I am now feeding sugar water as I woudl like for the bees to go ahead and fill this med with honey so I can feed it through the winter to two nucs. But what a disappointment

    Bees appear to me to be foraging fairly well all of this time.

    One thing I would like to improve on is my ability to know when the main flow is over and when I should harvest my honey next year. Do far it is looking like late June Early July to me. Then monitor from early July to early to mid August to see how well they store up for themselves and then start feeding if necessary.

    Does that sound about right to any of you?

    This year was a bit of a mess due to inexperince and alternate issue that came up. One hive as a resource to get two nucs and a trap out started. I did manage to go from one hive to 4 though. so not a complete loss.
     
  2. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    As you have discovered just because the bees are flying out and covering flowers doesn't mean there is a honey flow on. Most nectar flows last less than 2 weeks from a plane source. flows from differant plant sources can make it seem that the flow is lasting longer. Visually seeing honey being caped with new white capping and the capped area expanding the bees are bringing in more nectar than they are using. If the cappings are getting stained yellowing or appearing wet the honey has been caped for a while. The best way is to have an average hive located on a hive scale and take a weight reading every day and record it along with the weather. you would be shocked by how few days a year the bees are increasing in weight.
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    Yep seen this one before. Bees move the honey down out of the super into the brood nest preparing for winter. I personally would remove the medium super. Heft the hive and see where you are on weight if its good and heavy you keep an eye on it and it should be good to get you though winter without the medium. If its light continue to feed 2:1 until you have 2 deeps that are heavy. then you should be good to go.
     
  4. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    Daniel, I dont think you really lost anything. Well perhaps some honey you could have substituted for with sugar syrup. Probably the bees moved a lot of it down closer to where they will winter. What they ate, they needed; I never heard of fat bees being a problem. I found Walt Wright's articles interesting about the bees needing to fill cells with honey or nectar in a continuing process as the brood retreats and vacates them.
     
  5. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    Thanks for the input. It's nice to know my conclusions are not that far off.
    I am trying to get my strong hive to fill 10 more frames with sugar water as food for two nucs I am also trying to over winter. I am certain they have plenty of honey for themselves but might as well put there time to good use for the entire apiary.