I am not sure what is going on in my six hives.Ten days ago, I went in all of them. The top hive body was filled with honey and little brood and the bottom hive body was filled with brood and very little pollen and honey. Today, I did an inspection on them and 5 of the bottom hive bodies were empty (the 6th was almost empty!)No brood and very, very little pollen and honey!!!!The Top hive bodies were full of honey and some pollen but little or no brood. The hives are bursting with bees but no drones to speak of. What is going on? Do I need to be feeding all of them.
If your scenario is anything as mine, let me say.....A crappy spring, a crappy summer, a crappy fall...summarizing..crappy!
I have not had excess honey for the most part, except a few, since july. It seems whatever fall honey was produced has been eaten or is eaten as fast as they bring it in. This after not having or entirely missing the spring flow due to wet day after day patterns. I now have hives I have taken no honey from, on the verge of starvation, of light reserves to the point that come spring, the outcome is already determined.
I had hives that looked good a month ago, and now they have no stores. I don't think there is anything wrong with your hives its just been that type of year on the east coast, that if your not on top of it watching, your going to loose alot.
I have come to the realization at this point of the year, that the money, time, and effort is not worth it. I'll take the losses and do early splits with new queens with the strong hives that make it. At least the comb will be good. Good to have the new queens anyway. I'll spend the 10 dollars for a queen and feed in the spring vs feeding and killing myself now and still losing them.
I think the bees peaked later in the year because of the weather and now they are eating themselves to death.
[This message has been edited by BjornBee (edited October 22, 2003).]
The brood hatched, the queen quit laying, the nectar didn't come in to fill in the empty space from the brood and they are eating the stores.
I'd say all your hives are in pretty normal condition for this time of year.
If your top hive bodies are "full of honey" and you need more honey stored, in order for them to survive the winter, yes, feed 'em. Consult with some local beekeepers to get an understanding of how much honey the bees need to survive the Winter. Where I'm located (TX) one full deep super of honey is more than enough for them to survive (a deep, full of honey is about 90 pounds and bees in my area require only about 60 pounds to survive the Winter - of course, these are just general rules of thumb for my region).
Otherwise it sounds like everything is normal and in farily good shape for your hives going into the Winter.
It has been a crazy two years here! We have beekeepers who have been at it for 25-30 years and they are struggling to keep their hives alive!
We still have lots of buckwheat, Golden Rod and asters in full bloom but the temps are suppose to plummet to mid 30* tonight and tomorrow. I have the feeders on them and I will add sugar water tomorrow or Fri. It just surprised me that they were total void of feed in the lower HB. Thanks Debbie
I fed all spring until Aug on my 15 nucs. Then when I came back from a trip in late Sept. I started feeding again. I now have 1 deep brood chamber with 2 (full) medium supers on each hive. I got 1 super of honey.
If I hadn't fed so much, I'd have no bees.As it is I expect 2 of them to not make it, for other reasons which I can't fathom.
I'm not sure if others can relate to the east coast weather these past two years. 5TR-apiary hit it on the head about beekeepers of many years having problems with hive starvation. I wish I would of fed most of the summer as Dick M did. Normally this is not needed and I assumed it would not last this long. And its hard to feed when lows are in the 30's and daytime high is in the low 50's. I am glad I did not take any honey off most of the hives this year. Now I'm hoping they can make it till spring.
>And its hard to feed when lows are in the 30's and daytime high is in the low 50's
About the only way I have luck at these temps is to feed warm syrup. That means either topping off with boiling syrup, if the feeders are half full, or emptying all the feeders into a bucket, straining out the dead bees (depending on the feeding method) and heating to where it just feels hot to your finger but you can keep it in it without getting burned. Then go fill the feeders back up. A lot of work to do every morning, but they will take a lot more syrup this way in cool weather.
My Brother and I have been seeing similar weight reductions here in Indiana over the last couple of weeks. I've been feeding the medium light and light hives, but have noticed what appears to be immediate robbing (w/in 5 to 20 minutes of feeding). This made me feel like I just sealed their doom, fearing that strong hives would wipe out the bee's and their stores of the week hives.
As it appears to be turning out, the robbing only lasts briefly, possibly because temperatures have been cool (30's to 50's during daylight). So, I'm continuing to feed and am hoping for the best. I guess my justification for trying to save them via feeding is that I can spend $50 on granulated sugar and feed 10+ hives, versus spending $50 on a 3lb package in the spring. If I save one or more of the weeker hives, even feeding repeatedly, it still should be cost and time (we drive to southern Illionois for our packages) effective. Any thoughts?
Either feed all of them inside the hive (frame feeder or some kind of top feeder) including the strong ones, or open feed them away from the hives. They will still rob some, but the strong ones will rob less if they have their own to work on. The other thing is if the strong hives put away a lot of stores (and they will put away a lot more than the small ones) you can always steal the stores for the lighter hives.
Of course limit the size of the entrance to just two bees or so wide. I go for about 3/4" wide. Do it on the strong hives too, that way they can't get in and out so fast as to rob the weak ones so much.
[This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited October 23, 2003).]
I suggest you also reverse the empty bottom boxes and full tops. I think the bees will fill up the empty comb faster if its on top. You might also get some brood going. I'm in the Raleigh area and still have good brood rearing in my hives (I've been feeding since mid-August).
North Carolina has an excellent apiary inspection program and (I expect) one of the better state organizations. I hope that you are involved with local beekeepers to some degree so you ask them for help. By doing this you will learn from them, or else realize how little they know! The inspectors have helped me and I hope you avail yourself of them. It sounds like you should have been feeding for a while now.