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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Princeton Illinois USA

    Default New beek in drought

    Installed 2 packages on April 30th, northern Illinois. 2 Deep hive bodies were drawn out and added a med super about 3rd week of June to strongest hive. Since then our drought has been tough. (haven't mowed yard in 8 weeks, temps to continue in 90's next 10 days with no rain). Did inspection today. The med super hasn't been touched on the stronger hive. Top hive box still drawn to nine frames honey and brood.

    The other hive has two deep hive boxes and top box is 6.5 frames honey, about a frame of brood and about 2.5 frames still empty. Now the question:

    What now? Do you add a super to the weaker box? Split the weaker box into 2+ nuc's for winter? Let everything sit until we get rain? Typical first frost is about mid Oct and trying to get get ahead of this game and the learning curve. Advice would be appreciated.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Yuba County, California, USA

    Default Re: New beek in drought

    I would advise leaving them be the way they are until the drought is over. If a fall flow brings in enough to need a super, then super then. If the fall flow is not strong, then just leave them be to get packed in with honey for over wintering. I'm guessing that the weaker one won't need supering and the stronger one you may get to pull off the super of honey for your dinner table dessert. I'm not sure of course, as I'm not familiar with your area weather and flows.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Evansville, IN

    Default Re: New beek in drought

    Given that the latest long range forecast is for the same weather to persist until November, I'd think about feeding them. You are all right at the moment, but if it does not rain on schedule, they will eat the honey before winter and starve when it gets cold. I don't expect a fall flow here at all, didn't get one last year and didn't feed enough.

    I've been feeding my two swarms, they are still not up to the size I want in spite of lots of forage until the last few weeks, and plan to feed them a protein patty this fall, too.

    I wouldn't put on a super, and don't plan on them filling the one you have on -- concentrate on getting those top deeps completely full of honey or sugar syrup by mid September. If you feed 1:1 now, they get some cooling from evaporating it down, too. By mid to late August (6 weeks before your average date of first frost, give or take a bit) switch to 2:1 syrup and feed them until they fill every available comb and start to backfill the brood nest -- they won't swarm once it starts to get cold and you want them to have shut down brood rearing and be sitting on nectar containing comb when they cluster (below 45F outside temp).

    Established hive's I'd not worry about so much, but new ones from packages need to be feed up pretty well.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Omaha, NE

    Default Re: New beek in drought

    Looks like you are getting good advice from the posts above me. I wouldn't do a split with the drought going on. The weather here in Nebraska is pretty much the same as in IL. I'm not completely sure on this one, but I've been told the bees slow way down in wax production during drought with little nectar to forage on. They are spending much of their energy on cooling the hive. Again any thoughts about this?

    I would like to hear from the experts about this and don't mean to hi-jack this thread but it seems to be on par with Anderson's questions. Best of luck and hope for rain!
    Last edited by garyk1398; 07-23-2012 at 06:25 AM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Winhall, VT

    Default Re: New beek in drought

    With the recent long range forecast predicting the drought will continue into November this is starting to look like one of those years that beekeepers in affected areas should go into survival mode. Personally I would feed both syrup and pollen patties if things are as bad as they show on the nightly news. We, knock on wood, here in Vermont seem to have dodged the bullet so far this year but if the drought works it's way to the Northeast I will be feeding fast and furious after I pull my supers to get hives up to weight for winter which I would normally expect the fall flow to take care of for me. This year may be different.
    Raising Vermont Bees one mistake at a time.
    USDA Zone 5A


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