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Thread: no honey?!?!

  1. #1

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    I've been watching my bees lately and they have me worried. They seem to be doing well, except they have very little honey. There is just a little capped at the top of some of the brood combs. But there is no capped honey behind the brood nest. I checked them a week ago and they had a bar (wax about half of the bar) filled with honey and pollen (not capped yet). When I checked today, all of that was gone! The comb was clean as a whistle and there were just 2 or 3 bees wandering over it. The brood nest seems to be doing great. Plenty of eggs, brood, and capped brood, but very little honey. There is a huge field across the road from us about 120 yards from the bees full of clover (I'm hoping they've found it). What should I do? I'm worried about them not having anything for the winter! Do I need to start feeding them syrup and just keep that up? Please help me. Neither of my hives have enough honey to equal just one full comb. HELP PLEASE!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Berkey, OH, USA
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    Feed them. Not sure where you are, but even a good late flow probably won't be enough. I would make a top bar feeder asap and keep it filled.

  3. #3

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    I will definitely do that. I've got a top-bar feeder/follower board in one hive now, but haven't been feeding them. I will start doing that now. Why aren't they making anything? It doesn't look like they are building new comb. Is it probably simply just the hatching brood eating the honey and pollen? Thanks.

  4. #4
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    where are you located? what are conditions? what kind of clover is it? Red clover? how many top bars do ou have with comb? how many of these have brood? How many hives do you have? Is there any robbing going on?

  5. #5

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    Central Virginia. Hot and Dry. Red Clover. About 16 combs. Maybe 8 or 9 with brood. 2 Hives. No Robbing I can see. Thanks. [img]smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
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    Heritage
    Well ok you must be in a dearth, so feed feed feed. That red clover is no good to them, their tongues aren't long enough. Be sure there is no robbing going on. Reduce the entrances or make a robber screen. How big are your entrance holes? Whatever they are gathering they must be eating up. If there is like a cloud of bees flying around the entrance then there may be robbing. Watch real careful and see. Are they hauling any pollen in?
    Hang in there the golden rod should be coming soon! See how long it takes them to empty the feeder. As soon as it is empty take another peek and see if they have put any away in the comb.

  7. #7
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    Mar 2004
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    Hookstown PA USA
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    Goldenrod is starting to bloom here in Hookstown. Looks good for this year. I'm hoping for over 60# on each of my langs.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2005
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    Mmmmm....... goldenrod. It just doesn't get any better, especially now that we've had a little rain.

  9. #9

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    For an ignoramus: What exactly is goldenrod? just a flower? A tree?

  10. #10
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    Raleigh, North Carolina
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  11. #11
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    Mar 2004
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    Goldenrod is a wonderful flower that amounts to almost half the production for us folks here in western PA. Stinks when they are drying it but is real tasty.

  12. #12

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    Mr. Berkey, I fed both hives 1/2 gallon each of 1:1 syrup on Saturday afternoon (appx. 6:00pm). By 6:00pm Monday, one hive (with new queen) had the feeder empty. The other hive hardley touched theirs. There was about 4-6 bees taking the syrup, but the level had hardly dropped at all. The first one was dry. I am wondering if the one feeder might leak, so tomorrow AM before work, I will switch feeders, refil the one, and see what happens. I didn't get a chance to look inside to see what they were doing with the syrup though, maybe tomorrow evening.

    I haven't seen any goldenrod around here yet, but I'll keep my eyes open. I did notice quite a few Sourwood trees in bloom this year (thanks to an old mennonite beekeeper I found nearby) but he said his bees didn't do much with it this year. Is there anything I can plant this late that would help them. Or something I can plant next spring? Thanks.

  13. #13
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    Jun 2005
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    White County, Arkansas
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    I've been told the best, for this time of year, is 2:1 so they don't have to work so hard to dry it. The 1:1 is more like a nectar flow and used to stimulate comb production and that's why it's normally fed earlier in the calander year. That's what I've been told anyway. David

  14. #14
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    Big Grin

    I like the alsike clover best for continuous nectar. It is more drought resistant according to Purdue. The sweet clover is a better stronger flow but it is over by the middle of july. there are lots of postings and discussions on planting. You can still plant clover yet for next year, around here until Labor day, probably until Oct. 1 in Viginia.

    Here is link to Purdue site that discusses various clovers. Purdue Ag Web Site - Clover ID and info

    I am going to plant about an acre strip of alsike, but I am waiting to plant until next year to get better weed control. I have mowed it now, I will hit it with round up in 4 weeks, then till it up, let it set over the winter, hit it with roundup again in the spring, then plant. This is a lot of work but I am trying to get better control of the canadian thistles in this particular patch. If you don't have a problem with perrenial non-nectar weeds you can just til and plant now. The alsike will grow up to 3 feet tall and therefore can compete with some of the weeds, like ragweed, although of course better not to have to do so. This year my alsike bloom has been real good, but then we have had nice regular rains since June 30th, almost an inch a week. It is still in bloom now.

    Anyway, check out the drought resistance of the various clovers and you will see what I am trying to say.

  15. #15
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    Heritage
    I doubt your feeder is leaking. If it is you will see it in the bottom of the hive. EVen if it is leaking they should clean it up. THey are just hungry!
    The other hive is not taking the syrup because they must have a flow identified somewhere, I guess.

  16. #16
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    Heritage
    There is one thing you couuld plant now that would help them. Agastache. You may find it in the garden center of Lowe's or HD. It will be in a 4 - 6 inch pot, should cost about $3. this time of year. It has a purple spike flower. They love it! Probably won't make much difference but it will make you feel better!

  17. #17

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    Alright.

    I gave the one hive 2 liters of 1:1 syrup at 6:00 AM this morning and when I got home at 6:00 PM, they were sucking the syrup out of the wood! The other hive still had most of theirs, although they did take some.

    I checked the hungry hive and they were putting the syrup into the combs now. There was about 3 combs that had been filled with honey, but they must have eaten it so it sat empty. They are fillng these now.

    I sat out there about half an hour and didn't see any signs of robbing, however they were flying around a lot more than usual. They werent aggressive, I opened and checked the honey-combs without smoke, veil, gloves, etc.

    So, should I use 1:1 syrup, 2:1 syrup, fondant??? What is best for this time of year? Thanks.

  18. #18
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    2:1 to build up stores for winter. If you think they need some young bees you can feed some 1:2 or 1:1 to stimulate brood rearing. But this is not very useful for building up stores.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  19. #19

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    Thanks, I'll get right on it!

  20. #20
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    Aug 2003
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    Raleigh, NC, USA
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    Heritage, depending on when your first frost occurs it's probably not too late to plant Buckwheat. Do a search - there have been several discussions about how to plant it, etc. You would need a lot (1 acre per hive) to make any real difference.
    Triangle Bees

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