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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Glen Ellyn, IL, USA

    Default 2 beginner questions

    1. If this past Sunday I had 30% of all my frames in a honey super capped, when should I go back expecting it to be 100%. Days, weeks?

    2. How many drones per frame should I see to consider it normal?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Johnson City, TN


    The answer to your first question is not so simple. If the honey flow is over and there is no more nectar coming in, then the bees may not cap the cells at all. Hold a frame over a sheet of newspaper and give it a sharp shake. If the honey remains in the frame then it is probably okay to extract. If watery nectar flys out and hits the newspaper then it's not ready. Another option is if a beekeeper friend has a refractometer you can check for moisture content.
    Bee just and just bee

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Dane County, WI.


    I am about in the same geographical area and my bees are really bringing in the nectar now. They are even drawing out the plastic foundation very well! We should be in the midst of our major nectar flow so check again by next Sat. or Sunday at least; every area is different though. I don't know about the drone question but it's a good one. I'm usually looking for other things like eggs, larvae, the queen, etc., it varies during the season. I do notice when there seems to be a lot of them but not really counting per frame.

    Please let us know what you find/see! I have been disappointed when the weather has been good at this time of year and the bees are NOT bringing in nectar. A few days later and they bring in nectar like crazy and it can be capped in a few days. The weather looks good for 5-10 days ahead.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 07-15-2008 at 03:39 PM. Reason: Addition

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Milwaukee WI


    I have not checked out mine in 15 days will have to check this week suppose to be high humidity and maybe more rain. one brood box still not full will pull a frame maybe tonight if not to hot. We have to much rain bees don't know what to do.

    The drones for me is something I don't worry about unless they are 30 or so then that is on one a frame. I'm like old bee don't think about it. Don"t worry to much. Check on Mike Bush web site he may have something on his site.
    Wishing you all the best of tomorrows and good honey

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Tucson, Arizona, USA


    Though this question seems simple, it is one of the most technically complicated issues. Some variables associated with it; 1) composition of the nectar, 2) relative humidity and weather during harvest, 3) population and availability of foragers, 4) comb area available for deposition of unripened honey, etc.

    This link will take you to some information about honey, honeyflows, and harvesting:
    An interesting point to keep in mind, is that bees collect nectar, they add enzymes and remove water from the nectar in order to make honey. Once it is collected by bees, nectar is basically unripe honey, since they add the enzymes as they collect the nectar. Unripe honey ripens faster when its extra moisture can be removed most expeditiously. So, the more spread out it is, the quicker it becomes fully ripened honey. Due to its water content, unripened honey has a much larger volume than ripe honey (takes more space).
    Bottom line - the more area you give the bees to store honey during the honeyflow, for both ripe and unripe honey, the better the harvest will be. When there is no available space for incoming nectar in the honey supers the bees are forced to use empty cells in the brood nest area, causing brood nest congestion, a lack of area for the queen to lay her eggs - this condition is linked with the swarming impulse.

    Q2 - Drones:
    I don't concern myself about how many drones are in each colony, just where they are being raised. If drone brood is being raised in worker comb (you can tell by the cappings), that is usually caused by one of several problems that need beekeeper attention and intervention.
    Last edited by Joseph Clemens; 07-15-2008 at 10:47 AM.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni


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