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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Dudley, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    196

    Question First year honey question

    I am a first year beekeeper in central MA with one hive - I installed a package on 4/13, and the bees have been doing great! I added a 2nd deep super a couple of weeks ago.

    I have heard the idea that beekeepers shouldn't expect any honey the first year, especially from a packaged hive on undrawn foundation. I understand the reasons why but have some questions about the logistics.

    * As the bees draw out the comb in the 2nd brood chamber, should I plan on adding honey supers?

    * If I do, is this the honey the bees use for the upcoming winter?

    * If so, how would they move up into the super over the winter? I thought they would/should stay in the brood boxes.

    * How would I know if they have put up enough honey that I could take some (if at all)?

    I thought that the bees would keep their own stores in the lower 2 brood boxes, and that was what had to subsist them through the winter.

    If someone could enlighten me on this aspect, I'd appreciate it!

    -- Steven

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Lee\'s Summit, MO
    Posts
    1,298

    Default

    * As the bees draw out the comb in the 2nd brood chamber, should I plan on adding honey supers?

    If they're 80% drawn sure. If they draw that first super out and fill and cap it, put a second one on you might be able to harvest off the first one if the second one is 1/2 full you could leave that for them. However, don't count on harvesting anything.

    * If I do, is this the honey the bees use for the upcoming winter?

    Could be, that's why you probably shouldn't take any honey from a first year package hive unless they're really strong and have multiple drawn and some capped supers


    * If so, how would they move up into the super over the winter? I thought they would/should stay in the brood boxes.

    They'll move up if they are running out of stores. It's a great insurance policy for you and them. I've never gotten honey from a first year package without supplementing them with drawn frames, bees and brood.

    * How would I know if they have put up enough honey that I could take some (if at all)?

    Talk to some local beeks who better know what kind of flow happens for you up there late in the season.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    OKC, OK USA
    Posts
    2,869

    Default

    Typically it works kinda like this with a normal hive.....assuming a good season, I pull honey in Sept. and then let the bees backfill the two deeps on the fall flow for winter stores. Having said that when the upper brood box is 80% drawn slap a super on top and see what they can do with it.
    Mike Forbes
    Red Dirt Apiaries

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    collbran, co
    Posts
    506

    Default

    Also if honey is left for the bees before nector flow next spring build up with lots of left over honey in hive...more new comb built over winter on warm winter days..and you can order new queen to make early split i made split from last year package on new comb in april by bee using surplus honey..to draw comb before nector flow I dont feed a lot..feed 16 cups of 1:1...make sure entrance is small so they can guard it easy....

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Maybee Mi USA
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Just an observance from a second year beekeeper

    Last year I packaged a hive, (my only one until I received a whiskey barrel full of about 30,000 new girls in May) and on that first hive, I took off 4 supers of honey, about 17 gallons and still left 2 full supers on for the winter.
    So don't be suprised if you do get honey this year. Anything is possible in bee world!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Default

    There are many ways to manage bees. May I suggest, when (if) second deep gets drawn out, add a third DEEP (same size frames), letting bees draw and fill 2nd &/or 3rd chambers as they see fit. They know best. Wait til next year before you take ANY honey, so you can see what they need over winter.

    Remember, there are many ways to manage your bees!

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