Re: Bees without Winter Stores
I also started a hive last spring. Mid May for us. I started with a 5 frame nuc that had a laying queen. I watched it very closely. I agree that even though the bees worked very hard. actually made lots of honey. that honey was going into fueling both themselves and rearing a massive increase in brood as fast as they could gather it. they had a single 2 week period in which they managed to put on 100 lbs of excess. My impression was that they had to excel just to survive this first year. Provided they survive the winter well they will be stronger by a factor of 4 at least next year. But until then they will eat up the stores they have long before cold weather sets in do to not being able to find enough nectar now. So I am feeding them until then even though they still have 100 lbs of honey on the hive. They are also making winter stores for two 5 frame nucs I made late in the summer from a trap out.
The issue is not the bees it is resources. If the nectar was available my bees would be able to make all the honey without the sugar water.
The window for them taking the sugar water is closing fast. I don't think I can keep it on them for even two more weeks. They are barely reaching the goal I wanted to reach. an extra med super of honey from the sugar water. So they did their part. Now it is just a matter of was it enough.
I believe that even if all they can do is get the water into cells they will have periods during the warmer days of summer to break cluster and still use that water. best case is they still have two weeks or so to get it all converted to honey.
I do know these bees have been working like crazy all summer. I am anxious to see what they can accomplish next year as a full strength colony.
All work and no play makes a happy bee.