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Thread: No Honey

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    flower mound, texas
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    1

    Default No Honey

    Early in March 2011 I added a half super with a queen excluder. I just checked my hive on May 3 and the bees had not even begun to build comb on this new super.

    Before adding the new super, my hive was completely full of bees and all most all frames had been built out with comb. The hive was started from a swarm in August 2010 and has been thriving until now.

    Any thoughts on why no honey or even comb building?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Clay Count, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: No Honey

    Assuming you had enough bees that they would move up and need to draw more comb, I'm guessing lack of nector flow required for comb building. If not, I'd like to also have a more experienced beekeeper respond. Wish I had a frame of drawn comb to put into a new medium to maybe get them to move up and work it early.
    Try living life with the attitude it's not about what you want to do but what you should do!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sumter SC
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    52

    Default Re: No Honey

    I usually have really good luck with brushing or spraying slightly diluted honey onto the new frames that you put above the excluder. The bees don't like to go through the excluder, but if there is some honey up there, they will be up there in a few hours. Make sure to add a feeder above the inner cover to help them fill out the frames with the sugar water and not use up any new nectar to make wax.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2011
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    Clay Count, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: No Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by dixiebeeco View Post
    Make sure to add a feeder above the inner cover to help them fill out the frames with the sugar water and not use up any new nectar to make wax.
    I'm going to try that one, thanks for the idea. Going down right now to put on the top feeder on that hive.
    Try living life with the attitude it's not about what you want to do but what you should do!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    hudson, FL
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    3

    Smile Re: No Honey

    feed, feed, feed and feed some more. feed your bees with 2/1 sugar water and they will draw out the comb very quick. Make sure that you pull the feeder before they start putting honey in it because they will start to put the sugar water in there and not honey.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,133

    Default Re: No Honey

    Both times we had a hard time getting the bees to draw out new foundation. The minute we removed the excluder they filled it right up. It is almost like the queen has to give the troops the approval to start loading the foundation up when it is new. I don't know how it works if the comb is already drawn out.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Dudley, Massachusetts, USA
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    196

    Default Re: No Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by wood0428 View Post
    feed, feed, feed and feed some more. feed your bees with 2/1 sugar water and they will draw out the comb very quick. Make sure that you pull the feeder before they start putting honey in it because they will start to put the sugar water in there and not honey.
    This has always confused me (I am in my 3rd year as a beek): if I feed sugar water to encourage drawing out the comb in a super indended for honey accumulation, what keeps the bees from putting the sugar water in the comb they just drew out? Is it a simple matter of timing? How attentive do I have to be - are weekly inspections adequate to "catch" when the bees start filling the comb with sugar water?

    Thanks - Steven

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    roswell, georgia, USA
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    Default Re: No Honey

    Be sure all the frames are in the hive body in their normal position - you can remove a frame or 2 later if you want to try & increase your yield. Do not exclude the queen until after they start building comb (as noted in an earlier post), otherwise they will be reluctant to cross the excluder (notes from my mentor).
    EAS Georgia Certified. "Tradition - Even if you have done it the same way for years doesn't mean that it is not stupid."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,961

    Default Re: No Honey

    They won't draw comb without putting anything in it, so you can't feed to draw out this years honey supers. You can feed it back and use them next year. But really you just need patience. Bees draw comb incredibly fast on a honey flow. You don't need to try to get it drawn early.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,114

    Default Re: No Honey

    Pull that excluder out
    and hope you have a good flow going
    all the best

    Tommyt

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
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    1,235

    Default Re: No Honey

    Urbanpharmer,

    The most likely scenario is that your bees have been busy filling the brood box with honey instead of using the super. You are now about to run out of room and the hive will swarm.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
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    Default Re: No Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by chrissv View Post
    if I feed sugar water to encourage drawing out the comb in a super indended for honey accumulation, what keeps the bees from putting the sugar water in the comb they just drew out?
    Nothing. I know some beekeepers recommend feeding so the bees will draw out honey supers, but you'll get exactly what you said: comb filled with sugar water. If I have honey supers on the hive, I don't feed, regardless of whether the comb is drawn or not. As Beedeetee said, they will draw out comb incredibly fast during a honey flow.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Azle Texas USA
    Posts
    369

    Default Re: No Honey

    I think it's a matter of lack of necter. Our spring was not to good this year. What say others?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Beckville Texas,USA
    Posts
    297

    Default Re: No Honey

    I've found that Texas has been a pretty dicey place this year. General drought has reduced forage to a minimum. Being around a small town has helped me because of all the ornamental plantings. I've got 6, 50 foot magnolia trees within a half a mile I'm hoping to pull off the season, (or at least keep the girls healthy.) Bees are very energy efficient and don't do anything they don't have to do. I have come to the opinion that excluders are not very useful. (Let's not start that discussion here.) Seems like you are angling for a honey harvest as opposed to a healthy hive. Nix the excluder, keep the super, let them build as they feel the need. If you get impatient, pull a couple of frames and put them in the super to entice them. A large healthy hive at this point is a good option.
    If you want honey, hope for a fall flow. Last year my girls put away an unneeded medium super of goldenrod honey in November. Keep thinking ahead.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clay Count, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    819

    Default Re: No Honey

    I can check the one hive I'm top feeding with no drawn comb in the honey super daily just by taking a peak under the hood and sliding the feeder over. The day they start drawing comb in it is the day I'm removing the super because I don't want sugar water stored in the honey super. This is just an experiment on my part because I don't have any drawn mediums that I can put in my honey super. Just wondering if it will make a difference if they get started building comb in terms of encouraging more bees to move up. Don't have a queen excluder on it either and the center of the box below is brood so there is no line of honey to discourage her from laying above other than what' on the brood frame.

    We are not in a honey flow as of yet. Or would most likely be a non issue in terms of building comb. Appreciate the ideas you all gave on this matter. Still learning and learning and learning.
    Try living life with the attitude it's not about what you want to do but what you should do!

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