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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Default How quickly are bars built by the girls

    Dear All,

    I am a new beek this year. Started my top bar from a nuc in late May, so I have about 1 1/2 months of brood rearing etc. I am located on Long Island, New York. My question is, if it can be answered, is how quickly should I expect bars to be made by the bees, both brood and honey comb. It seems as though they are building them awfully slow and am wondering if there will be enough stores for them for the winter, without my robbing them of a single comb for myself. Of course I would love to have at least one comb to "harvest", but right now, unless they start building at breakneck speed????

    Thanks for any comments.

    larry

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,546

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    When you say you started from a nuc do you mean you cut in from a Lang nuc, or did have a top bar nuc. Of did you dump the bees from the nuc. If the hive was from an overwintered nuc you would expect great things, but otherwise maybe not so much. If they are making brood you are probably ok assuming there is enough forage for the next few months. When the brood matures you will get a bunch of bees and they will probably build a bunch of comb, assuming it is needed. Then as those bees mature they will forage and bring in stores.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    thanks for the quick reply. First, I bought the nuc as a top bar nuc from a local apiary that I drove (with my empty top bar hive in the car), he then took the 4 bars of comb and queen from a small box and placed them in to my hive and then "shook" the box empty into my top bar hive. Secondly, they are definitely making brood comb and there are eggs and larvae from my queen. I guess I just thought it would expand much quicker regarding them building honey comb. From what I have read I was expecting to have them build one to two honey combs a week, and this is not happening. I guess as long as there are at least 2-3 good months left, I hope to see additional combs coming soon? Just wait and hope for my first successful summer and pray they make it through the winter.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    4 bars is not much for a nuc, maybe you should try feeding 1to1 syrup. You can put it in a ziploc baggie inside on floor of your hive. That way they will have extra food to build comb with.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    I started two TBHs in April, 2012. As of last week week, each hive had built out about seven bars of comb. They built like crazy, now seem to have slowed down. I fed them often at the beginning since they were brand-new hive set-ups, and I think this helped them get a strong start in building. At first, they were always starting new comb on the next available bar, but I no longer see that. We're up to 107 temp during the day in this area of Texas. The girls are bringing in a bit of pollen still, and I see many gathering water at the birdbath and pond. I'm leaving the hives alone for the time being due to the extreme heat, so I can't tell you much more than that re: continued comb build-out.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    OK, I will try feeding them and see if this makes a difference. Should I expect a different kind of honey if I am feeding them?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,546

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    Yes, but at this point you want survival. You may have lost the foragers on the dump if you didn't leave you hive until night time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Spicewood, Texas, USA
    Posts
    232

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    Anything that goes into the honey will have some effect on the outcome, sure. I fed my bees organic, local honey since I had only two small hives. I used a Boardman feeder in each hive. I placed it inside the hive behind the false back, leaving the feeder entrance sticking out from under, into the main hive area. Much of my TBHs living area is not in use yet since the hives are just getting started, so there is still plenty of room for the feeders behind the false backs, even with large Mason jars. We had a tremendously strong wildflower season here, so I tried to keep the feeding consistent, but supplemental. Do you still have good forage in your area?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    Forage? No idea really, I live in a VERY suburban area. Houses, houses, houses! lots of grass, and of course the occasional forested area, park, or golf course within a couple square mile area. Don't know what else to say.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,546

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    Visit Sams club and buy sugar in bulk. <grin>

    You may be surprised by the forage. Go to google maps and look at an overhead satellite view. Think of a circle 2 miles in RADIUS. I was concerned in my area as it is suburban, but I just found out that there is 50 acres of alphafa within 1 mile of my house. It was over a small ridge and never knew it was there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Haslet, Tx
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    Mine have never built a bar. Mostly they build hotels.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    more like dormitories than hotels!!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    Depending on your local circumstances, expectations of a honey harvest in the first year may be a reach. At least here in NM, it is rare that there will be enough stores in the first year to harvest anything. In the south, midwest, etc where there are many more plants and longer growing seasons, I've read that most beeks are able to harvest in the first year. So, try to focus on getting the bees to where they need to be to make it through the winter and look for much better growth and the ability to harvest honey in your second year.

    How many combs above the four initial combs have been drawn? Depending on the strength of your colony, it helps to get more bars drawn by occasionally inserting an empty bar in between drawn combs. While the bees may not move to the next empty bar past a set of drawn comb, they tend to jump on drawing out empty bars placed between two fully drawn bars.

    Good Luck!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Dunlap, TN, USA
    Posts
    146

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    I dont think you mentioned this yet.... How many bars to you actually have as of right now?

    I hived a 3# package on 05/17/12 and I just did a split off of them last night. I had a total of about 14 bars of combs and plenty of bees to do the split.

    The fastest I've seen them build a comb was when I stuck an empty bar right in the middle of their established brood nest. They had an entire new comb drawn out within 1 week. However, without doing that it was a bar every couple of weeks probably... after the first month that is. During the first few weeks they built faster than what I'm seeing on average now.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,546

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    My guess is the weather is colder in NY and it takes longer to get things going. You do have a queen, correct?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, California
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    You have to build the bars, the bees will only draw out comb on them.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    absolutely have a queen, and larvae throughout my built combs.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    fourteen bars, wow!! how many of those are strictly honey? Or is the majority brood comb. I think I have 9-10 bars total, of which it looks like the last two of them are honey, but aren't completely drawn combs, probably only half the size of a full comb, and not by any means fully capped. Don't think there is any capped honey comb as of yet. That I know is NOT a good thing, but hoping and expecting there should be capped honey coming soon.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Oceanside, New York
    Posts
    81

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    duh!!!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA
    Posts
    1,546

    Default Re: How quickly are bars built by the girls

    OK, and it is not a laying worker. I'm surprised you haven't gotten more workers if they have had 6 weeks to work. Could be that you lost a lot of foragers and if you are not feeding them it is really hard on them.

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