Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    I have four hives started from packages and installed in medium foundationless equipment, one month and twenty days ago. I have been feeding 1:1 at a rate of a quart per day nearly every day.

    So far I have three hives with nine frames drawn in the bottom medium and one with seven frames. I've had a second medium on the three nine drawn out frame hives for about two weeks now. I moved up a frame of open syrup and brood into each added box to lure them up. The bees abandoned those frames within a couple days and left me with a frame of chilled brood.

    In only one of the hives have the bees shown any sign of working in the top box and then its only to clean out the chilled brood and replace some of it with pollen and syrup. In all the others they haven't touched the frames I moved up or made any attempt to draw more, although they did replace the missing comb in the bottom within a couple days.

    All hives have queens and brood in all stages of development in a solid pattern and maybe four to six square inches of active drone comb in each hive. (The drew more than that but have now filled those cells with syrup.)

    Last year I had a second deep half filled by this time of the year and I only fed that hive for about three weeks.

    So what I'm wondering is if this is just a bad year or if I'm doing something wrong? Hives seem healthy but between all four I've put about 150# sugar into them and all I have to show for it is one medium box full of bees per hive.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    552

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    Was there a lot of syrup stored everywhere?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    No. The frames on the very ends are mostly syrup and pollen but everything else is solid brood and non of the syrup is capped. They must be eating most of it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    2,402

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    Everything in beekeeping is location so I can only speak for California but those hives should be farther along than that. If they're consuming most of the feed then there must be a dearth going on where you are. Usually they stop eating syrup when they find something better right?

    A neighbor here who started packages this year had three mediums completely drawn out in 7 weeks. She stopped feeding them two weeks in.
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Winhall, VT
    Posts
    1,066

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    You didn't mention pollen at all. Is there an abundance of pollen around the brood? Without pollen the queen will slow down on laying and bees will only create comb if it is needed. Throw a pollen patty on each hive and I bet they start to take off. Protein!
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Skagit, WA, USA
    Posts
    230

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    Completely new at this, so take it at that.

    Here in NW Washington, at least at sea-level in zone 7a-7b, it's been another Juneuary. Most have been feeding while wating for blackberries. I'm at 200# of sugar so far for two hives to establish four deeps.

    Keepers in Whatcom county, just north, along the border with Canada, are reporting unusual losses this year, starvation if not feeding, and Nosema c.

    We're still getting showers, with periods of heavy rain, night temps in the 40's and if lucky, two to three hours a day where they really seem to work(not talking orientation flights).

    Blackberries are finally getting started, greyish pollen?

    Hope Montana has something more than berries, as we're done with nectar in about a month...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Concrete, WA, USA
    Posts
    761

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    Yeah hear in Western Washington - we are feeding about 1/2 gallon a week to hold the bees from starving - but the flow is about to start -weather pending !!!!! just make sure they have a good band of pollen and a good band of capped honey at all times - if its not capped they can eat that over night and be died in a few days - so that is what you should be seeing
    Doing the Right things Right
    http://thevalleysbuzz.webs.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Marysville, WA
    Posts
    477

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    Yep, I'm in western Wa as well and have been having to feed to keep the bees from starving. Most of my hives had decent amount of capped honey a few weeks ago and now hardly even have "wet" honey. This rain has got to stop.

    Mike
    Beekeeper? Shoot, my bees keep me!
    100 hives in Western Wa State

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    I was actually getting ready to post the opposite question. I'm a new beekeeper with a top bar hive, started by a swarm in early May. My box (golden mean, 28in long) is almost full. I'm going to have to do an early honey harvest to make room. We had a very hot, dry spring and we're now in the middle of a heat wave. Anyone else in the Southwest experiencing faster than normal growth? Or do I just have a crazy swarm?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    Western WA sounds just like western MT this year. No blackberries here, but the main flow, Knappweed, isn't until mid August. The goal is to get the hives population built up enough so they can take advantage of it when it comes.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    759

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    Almost glad to hear others in my same boat. NW corner of Oregon and I see the 80 degree day predicted for end of the week just got changed to a 70 with showers. Corn is rotting in the ground and a tomato seems to be a faint dream. Been a cold wet winter with no end in sight. Are you doing plastic or wax? I got a couple swarms working on my plastic (with extra wax) but everything else I have gone to wax and am back to drawing. Black berries are now open here and hope to send that north.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,417

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    NE Oregon. Installed 3 packages April 15. 2 in 8 frame langs and one in TBH. The langs are almost fully filled out in double deeps (fed for 3 weeks) and the TBH has about 10 fully pulled frames and several partials. Just starting the clover bloom.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    SW Idaho, I started a hive from a nuc this year mid-April, now have 2 deep boxes of brood and almost 1 medium super filled with honey. I caught a swarm about a month later and also gave them 2 frames of brood from my purchased hive. Caught swarm are filling out the 2nd deep brood now and a tiny bit of drawn foundation in the medium super. Both hives had a lot of foundation to draw. I fed both hives until I put the medium supers on. Novice beekeeper using a combination of guessing and filtering the multitude of opinions out there.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Baker Oregon
    Posts
    2,417

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by BoiseBeekeeper View Post
    SW Idaho, I started a hive from a nuc this year mid-April, now have 2 deep boxes of brood and almost 1 medium super filled with honey.
    Very nice. How far are you into your main flow? My other hives are doing pretty well, but have not moved up to start filling/drawing out the supers yet.
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post
    How far are you into your main flow?
    No idea. I'm a newbee. I know the Honey Locust trees just bloomed. And blackberries should be coming next month. Other local beekeepers have said I need to leave all honey stored after Aug 1. At the rate they are going, I should be able to harvest some honey this year.

    (You did not grow up in SC by chance?)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Skagit, WA, USA
    Posts
    230

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keth Comollo View Post
    Is there an abundance of pollen around the brood? Without pollen the queen will slow down on laying and bees will only create comb if it is needed.
    Not storing very big bands of pollen in mine. There's a little, it all seems to be going to support brood, not as if they're stock piling for later.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
    Posts
    548

    Default Re: Rate of growth in the northwest, bad year so far or just a bad beekeeper?

    My pollen bands are 1-2 cells deep. The very first and very last frames on the ends are all uncapped syrup with a fair bit of pollen scattered in the middles.

    However, good news today. I saw bees festooning on an empty frame next to one of the ones that I brought up from the bottom. If they start working the top as fast as they did the bottom that means a full frame of new comb in two or three days and if they are like my hive last year once they get interested in the top box they move in with a vengeance.

    Still, this is only one hive out of four. The other three have no interest in their supers. Since they seem to fill in empty frames in the bottom so quickly I'm considering moving half of the frames up from the bottom and putting them above the other half and then just sliding in an empt frame in the middle every week until they have filled both boxes. Its more manipulation than I want do put them through but I think they aren't going to have a chance for the winter if they don't have at least a couple mediums full of bees and brood in time for the Knapweed bloom.

    It finally warmed up here today, we had are first day of 80º temps so I think I will give them another week of warm weather before I do anything drastic.

    I keep trying to tell the queens that if they don't get the workers in gear that their are going to be some combines this fall and two fewer queens.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads