I started the year with two packages. Upon the inspection of the first hive, I found the queen and all was well. The second hive, i never could find her until about a month later I discovered i thought I had a laying worker. I observed cells filled with multiple eggs. The advice I was given was to stack the two hives together, facing different directions and separated by a screened bottom board so the pheromones from hive one's queen would stop the laying queen. after a few days and with dwindling numbers in hive two, I separated them again and swapped a frame of brood with eggs into hive two hoping they would produce a queen. About a month later, I had saw no signs of a replacement queen so I decided the best thing was to combine the two hives using newspaper to separate them until they became acclimated. They have been together for about a month now and seem to have a large population. A week ago, they had one deep filled, a second deep a little over half filled and a shallow super that they began chewing on. I don't have a queen excluder. I filled my hive top feeder with about 3 gallons of 1:1 because they seemed to need some help and in the hopes of them drawing out some comb.
I did a quick check today, a week later, and find the feeder completely empty and no drawn comb in the super. The upper deep still wasn't fully drawn either and not a lot of honey on the frames. I also noticed that the lower, outside frame was almost solid with capped brood. I noticed they were bringing in pollen and that there seems to be a lot of bees to me. I just don't know where all that syrup has went... about 6 gallons in two weeks. I was hoping the syrup would make them draw out the super in time for the 50 acres of cotton thats just starting to bloom about a 1/2 mile through the woods from me.
I'm sure I'm doing something wrong... I have two deeps with two shallow supers with a brushy mountain farms wood, two chamber hive top feeder. I had used the feeder with an inner cover in the spring when i was feeding them and had it on with the first fill a couple weeks ago. Last week when i filled it, I removed the inner cover and used a couple tiny twigs to prop the telescoping cover up a bit for ventilation. This hive faces east, and sits just east of a group of cottonwood trees and gets shady at about 6 pm. It has no shade to the east and has about 500 acres of plated pines a couple hundred feet to the north and west. They sit about 100 feet from a spring fed pond and spring fed creek. We have 135 acres of fields of bermuda/fescue/ and mixed planted clovers along with our share of weeds. I'm wondering if I should move the hive to get it a couple more hours of direct sunlight. Any ideas? It just seems that they are eating all the syrup and not making much other use of it. They don't have much stored, but how much should i expect to feed every week to get them built up? Thanks for any ideas or suggestions.