I read in another post that Italians tend to "shutdown" in midsummer. I thought it was just due to a nectar dearth here. My hives look healthy but are no longer boiling over with bees as they were a few weeks ago. There are tight clusters of eggs and brood, but not throughout the brood boxes like a few weeks ago. They've been booting out drones for the last day or so. They appear to be hunkering down for winter already.
I put on another shallow super of foundation about 10 days ago, but they've only drawn out about 1/4" on about 80% the frames. I was hoping the population wouldn't go down until after the fall flows which are usually pretty good here.
Questions -- Have others seen this same behavior in Italians?
Can you feed extracted honey on the inner cover (to prevent robbing) to simulate a flow to keep wax production up (and still extract without syrup in the supers)? I've read where this can help with comb honey production in areas where flows aren't especially concentrated.
[This message has been edited by GaSteve (edited August 04, 2004).]
>I read in another post that Italians tend to "shutdown" in midsummer. I thought it was just due to a nectar dearth here. My hives look healthy but are no longer boiling over with bees as they were a few weeks ago.
Certainly a dearth plays into the effect, but there is a lower amount of nectar coming in during the summer even if it's not a dearth. No use feeding more workers than you can make use of.
>There are tight clusters of eggs and brood, but not throughout the brood boxes like a few weeks ago. They've been booting out drones for the last day or so. They appear to be hunkering down for winter already.
Sounds more like a dearth to me.
>I put on another shallow super about 10 days ago, but they've only drawn out about 1/4" on about 80% the frames. I was hoping the population wouldn't go down until after the fall flows which are usually pretty good here.
Yes, but the bees don't want to keep building bees and use all of their stores up.
>Questions -- Have others seen this same behavior in Italians?
Sure, but also in other bees, if there is a dearth they are not going to keep making a lot of bees.
>Can you feed extracted honey on the inner cover (to prevent robbing) to simulate a flow to keep wax production up (and still extract without syrup in the supers)?
From my experience, feeding honey during a dearth is asking for robbing, even if it's on the inner cover. But yes, you can.
>I've read where this can help with comb honey production in areas where flows aren't especially concentrated.
The idea with the comb honey is to get them to QUICKLY draw and fill the combs so there are no corners left unfilled and there is not much traffic on the combs. If you're not doing comb honey, I don't see a lot of advantages, but if you think you need to stimulate brood rearing, you could try feeding and see how it works. But you are trying to outsmart the bees and you may find they are smarter than you think. Cutting back on brood might be the best thing for them right now.
The comment about Italians shutting down was just a statement. If your looking for the reason they shut down in mid-summer, than yes, its due to a lack of nectar when things dry up. This happens in about 90% of apairies in most parts of the country. Its not that other strains other than Italian won't shut down also, its just that russians tend not to do it. If they do its for shorter periods of time.
Feeding under the inner cover will not simulate a nectar flow. It may stimulate robbing though. The smell of "open" honey will make the guards be tested. To simulate a flow, feed sugar water away from the hive where they have to actually fly out of the hive and bring it back, pass it on to other bees, stimulate excitement, and all the normal hive activity that goes along with it. This will stimulate the queen to lay eggs, the bees to make wax, and the like.
At this point, instead of putting foundation on, extract the supers you already have drawn, and then put them back on the hive "wet". This will also stimulate the bees.
Greeting . . .
I dont have the experience to make a valid judgment call on this, but . . .
Dont overlook the fact that a symptom of Varroasis is; "rapid colony decline, reduced adult population".
What are your mite counts?
Dave W . . .
Hobbyist - 1 Hive
First Package - Apr 03
Broodnest - 3 Deeps
Screened Bottom Board
Apistan - Aug 18, 03
Grease Patties - All year
2003/04 Winter Loss - 0%
See Forum1/HTML/001304, for ongoing mite counts.
GASteve, I feel your pain. My hives have basically zero honey in them when two months ago there was plenty...when I checked them last week, two of my hives had not one single cell with honey or nectar in it. The poor foragers were getting mugged by nurse bees apon returning to the hive. The larvae were sooo dry...Or course I fed them all, but they must not have anything out there right now. fat/beeman was telling me to expect a good goldenrod crop in our area, so I'm not too worried about winter stores.
Same here in Jackson, GA - GaSteve and Branman. Everything is dry here and I am contemplating pulling all of the frames in the upper supers that have any honey in them but I hate to go through the process of extracting just a few frames.
I talked to FB also and am hoping the fall flow will be good as he says.
Right now I am not feeding but am thinking about doing some 'open feeding' to benefit all of my hives.
All good points. Sometimes the temptation to tinker with something is just too great -- even if the returns are minimal and it does often backfire.
I am due for another mite check. The last check was 7 or less for 24 hours. But that was about a month ago (I really need to keep better records). But the count may spike upwards with the decrease in brood. I have fogged about every week or two since I saw the first mite.
They still have plenty of stores. At least 5 or so full deep frames in each hive. As MB said, if the population hadn't declined, they may have consumed it all.
I started them as packages and fed them until they became quite honey bound before pulling the feeders and adding supers. In hindsight, I guess that was a good thing.
For the GA beekeepers, have you been to UGa's beekeeping institute or master beekeeping certification program?
Yes, I learned sooooo much at the Beekeeping Institute in Hiawassee this year. One big reason I think its helpful is that we're one of the big SHB battleground states and Dr. Delaplane and his students have done a ton of research on SHB that other states won't undertake. That and we have so many top notch breeders in the state that attend; it's great to get their insight. It was quite a drive to get up there, but well worth it and actually a very scenic drive. Perhaps us central GA guys can carpool next year.
GA-BEE & GaSteve, did either of you extract any honey yet this year? I did one round of extracting the beginning of June.
GA-BEE, I'm in the same boat, I have a few honey frames I can extract that I took off before I started feeding again so I wouldn't taint the honey. But I'm not sure its worth it to extract 5 or so frames...
Oh, sorry GaSteve, I overlooked one part of your post. I think my bees are at their peak population for me right now, I'm not seeing a decline in brood & eggs, in fact I'm seeing an increase...that seems to be why they ran out of honey so quickly(potentially a problem with Italians, they keep their population high even in a dearth).
I wanted to make it to Hiawassee this year but had to travel for work. I like the carpool idea. It is beautiful country up there. We went through the neighborhood on the way to the Smokies over July 4th -- it is just gorgeous.
I haven't extracted anything yet. I'm trying to get as much comb drawn out as I can. I've only got 3 hives -- each with one shallow super that's full but only about 70% capped. I was hoping to at least fill a second super this year. Starting with packages on all foundation, I guess I shouldn't expect too much.
I just went golfing yesterday, and in one of the roughs there was a huge patch of goldenrod just starting to bloom. Literally COVERED in honeybees...hopefully this will be a great fall flow *keeps his fingers crossed*
Any golfers who hit into that patch should be given relief -- ground under forage.