Re: Summer dearth: Knowing when to feed
good question tom. i have a colony in a single deep right now that is a secondary swarm that i caught in one of my traps. this particular swarm issued at the end of the main flow here. they managed to get a single deep pretty well drawn out, but hardly any comb has been drawn for the last few weeks in the medium super i added.
this hive is very light on stores, and there's a lot of capped brood soon to be emerging. i see a lot of pollen coming in, but i'm not sure about nectar.
i happened to have a medium frame of last fall's capped honey in the freezer. i thawed it out and put it in this hive. i figure i'll check it in a week or so, and if the honey is gone i'll probably go ahead and put some feed on. if they are not using it, i'll assume they have enough coming in and won't feed.
your second year colonies should be alright, but like walt suggests, pull a few frames from those upper deeps and see if they are heavy with honey. you might consider harvesting some of those, and let the bees fill them back up with your fall flow.
disclaimer: novice beekeeper here who knows just enough to be dangerous