I'm getting back into beekeeping for pollinating vegetable gardens and some fruit trees. I have 6 nuc's coming and I'm planing to go with the unlimited brood and food chamber(3 deep hives). All of my frames will have foundation in only, so the bees will have to build comb. Question---How many supers per colony do you think will be needed this first year? I want to make sure I have enough. Darrell Thanks
You will be fortunate if they draw completely and fill the three brood chambers the first year. Drawing that much wax is very taxing on a new hive such as a nuc or a package. Year 2 you will probably need 3-4 supers (honey) per hive in addition to the 3 brood chambers. If you cannot afford all supers at once, you can always extract honey midseason and re-place the extacted super on the hive.
>I'm getting back into beekeeping for pollinating vegetable gardens and some fruit trees. I have 6 nuc's coming and I'm planing to go with the unlimited brood and food chamber(3 deep hives). All of my frames will have foundation in only, so the bees will have to build comb. Question---How many supers per colony do you think will be needed this first year? I want to make sure I have enough.
It's hard to predict how well a hive will do. If each they fill their three deeps this year I'd say they did very well but if they do really well they might fill a couple of supers a piece. If you are trying to not spend money you don't need to before you need to, then don't buy any supers until some of the hives have filled out two deeps and it's still pretty early in the season. Then you could order the supers. You can get them pretty quickly. If they don't have two deeps filled until late in the season, I wouldn't bother with the supers.
If you keep some deep frames on hand you can always rob a few of the deep frames of honey out of your "unlimited" brood nest if it looks like it's getting too crowded and you don't have any supers ready yet.
If it's just a matter of making sure you don't run out of supers and you want to get them put together now, I'd say it's possible they could fill three medium supers each. Doubtful, but not impossible. I have had hives that succeeded that well occasionally.
If you want to possibly have any honey this year after the bees draw 3 hives of foundation, feed them continously from this point forward. I have fed hives all year long and also let them do their own thing, and what a difference. I feed all starter hives to ensure they can get through the winter. Don't wait untill Sept/Oct to find out that you should of fed them more. Some people do not like the cost of feeding, but to me its an investment since I will normally do a split from a strong starter from the year before that has been fed all year long.
I always feed them while they are drawning comb especially a package with no drawn comb. The sooner the queen has somewhere to lay the better and wax takes a lot of syrup. I guess I would figure this is standard operating procedure.
My advice to you is to purchase a few drawn supers to use as your brood nest. Otherwise your queen might be restricted to her egg laying and not get your hives up to strength in time of your honey flow. Your honey crop and amount of drawn foundation will be reduced. It really depends on what your goals are.
I think all you really need is two deep brood chambers. This unlimited brood nest idea sounds good, but it needs alot of extra work. I think the bee utilize two brood chambers the most effectivly and the most productivly. I am also a preicher of the queen excluder. I practice short season management, and find the queen has more than enough room to raise a large honey producing, strong sucessfully wintering colony, when left alone in two brood chambers. What more do you want?
I agree to feeding the package all the way through the summer. I purchased a package last year and fed from May until they quit taking the sugar water. They are now my strongest hive.
I believe they will actually make a super or two of honey from the maple flow. That is not impossible, but generally difficult because the numbers of bees are not generally large enough comming straight out of the winter.
You could use mediums and use PermaComb. That would allow the queen to start laying immediately. That would possibly allow you to get a honey crop.
I've been around your area a little when I have been up to the Clay County Fair. It doesn't look very good for bees. Too many row crops. I hope you have a good place to put them. I'm sure two brood boxes would be a great plenty. You can super on top of that if they get the foundation drawn. It can happen. It just depends on the year.
I have 6 nuc's coming and I'm planing to go with the unlimited brood and food chamber(3 deep hives).
OK. Stick out your plan. This may mean no supers the first year. Yet again in the right area or season you may need them. What size super you plan on using? Deeps? Meds? Shallows? Section supers? At any rate if you can afford it get one super for each colony. It will cut down the # you will need the following year. On year two I'd have depending on super size : (at the minimum for each colony)
1. 5 shallows
2. 4 mediums
3. 2 deeps
[This message has been edited by Clayton (edited March 10, 2003).]
I think it very much depends on what source of nectar & pollen your bees will have. I live in souther NY right next to a forest and last year I got a package on April 23rd. I fed about 2 gal of syrup and then stopped because the bees simply did not take any more of it. By the end of the summer, the bees had fully drawn 40 deep frames of foundation (4 deep hive boxes) and accumulated a surplus of over 90lbs of honey which I harvested in early September. And all this was in a year that was considered a drought year around here.