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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Montara, CA, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Lots of pollen, no honey stores

    So - I'm new this year and have a Russian hive, running 8 frame mediums, currently 5 supers.

    Where I live, sunny days are hard to come by, so I'm often snatching quick checks when the temperature is in the 60s (Northern California, foggy coast). I had only checked the top 3 boxes the last time I opened this hive, and all I saw was brood.

    Thinking it was unlikely to have 5 boxes of brood, I checked them today, to find the bottom 2 boxes practically empty. Quite a bit of pollen storage, but no honey (I was hoping these 2 bottom boxes were honey).

    Is this "normal" or at least "within the realms of normal" - to have what seems like at least 6 or 7 frames of pollen, but no honey stores? There is a little honey in the normal brood pattern boxes, but nothing else for them for the winter, or surplus for me. I understand that it could well be normal to not have surplus honey in the first season - should I really stop freaking out?

    I'm trying to be treatment free and avoiding feeding if I can.

    Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Allegany County, MD
    Posts
    125

    Default Re: Lots of pollen, no honey stores

    If they don't have honey you'll have to feed or let the bees die. Not sure about normal as I am new as well...my bees have little stores themselves so I'll be feeding 2:1 starting soon heavy in to the winter switching to dry sugar through the winter while keeping my fingers crossed that it's enough.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Escanaba, Michigan
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: Lots of pollen, no honey stores

    By 'practically empty' do you mean there wasn't even much in the way of brood? Or just empty of honey? Just curious as to why you have five supers on if you aren't getting any honey, and the brood boxes empty. Might be a good idea to pull those supers and let them focus on filling the brood boxes?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Montara, CA, USA
    Posts
    19

    Default Re: Lots of pollen, no honey stores

    Quote Originally Posted by Stacykins View Post
    By 'practically empty' do you mean there wasn't even much in the way of brood? Or just empty of honey? Just curious as to why you have five supers on if you aren't getting any honey, and the brood boxes empty. Might be a good idea to pull those supers and let them focus on filling the brood boxes?
    Practically empty meaning nothing except pollen. 3 top boxes full of brood. I've now learned this is completely normal though. No significant stores of honey outside the brood boxes, normal crescent patterning. Apparently they often do this.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,311

    Default Re: Lots of pollen, no honey stores

    There is a major difference between surplus for you and wintering honey for them. And what you have is not normal. On the trailing edge of the spring flow, the emphasis of the starter colony is on storing honey for winter. Either your bees didn't get it done or they have consumed what they had over the midsummer dearth. By all means freak out and feed syrup by the most expeditious means at your disposal.

    Walt

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,922

    Default Re: Lots of pollen, no honey stores

    I want to start winter with at least 5 complete deep frames of capped honey for a two box deep hive. That would translate to an 8 frame medium box completely full. I'm not sure how our winters compare (ours are 30-50 degrees with few sunny days and lot of rain between Nov. 1 and April 1), but if similar, you will need to get that in the hive by the end of October. My hives have it now (most anyway). Unless you know of some way that they will get that honey without your help, you will need to feed or let them die.

    By the way, lots if pollen at the bottom of the hive is normal.

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