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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Clackamas Oregon
    Posts
    755

    Default Where did the honey come from?

    I took one of my hives through the winter with a deep and a shallow on it. We hit 62 degrees here for the first time of the year and according to the Walt method of nectar management I figured I would go and dig through the super and swap in drawn comb. The shallow was packed, 100% capped and dark. Heather and primrose is the only thing blooming and it only happened in the last week.
    Could they be moving honey up from below and capping it again?
    I did get one hive robbed out, this may be the culprit, would they cap it? Had a lb of dry granular sugar on it, could they have made honey from it?
    I did not dig into the other hives, if I mess up the queen there is no way to get a new one for another month. Now I am concerned my double deeps may be packed.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: Where did the honey come from?

    They will move honey, and robbing is always a possiblity, and not necessarily from your hives. You can check on the condition of your other hives by trying to tilt them forward by lifting the bottom box by the cut-out with one hand. Too heavy to lift would indicate they are quite full, and it's time to stick a super on. Won't hurt to do so anyway if you have any kind of nectar available, especially if it's drawn comb and not just foundation.

    Peter

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: Where did the honey come from?

    Glad I stumbled on this thread. We see that on a regular basis here in Dixie. If the bottom deep is fully backfilled in the fall, the colony winters in the deep, and in the spring, they save the whole shallow of honey at the top as the reserve to carry them through swarm preps. They do this by adjusting the population in the fall to a level that can be sustained by the stores in the deep. If they have forage support early enough in the spring, they won't tap that shallow of reserve capped honey through the swarm prep period. It will still be intact at swarm issue in some seasons.

    That's what checkerboarding is all about. Break up that solid capped honey overhead with empty comb to induce overhead nectar storage. Once they get started storing nectar overhead, they "want" to fill the cavity to the top. As long as empty comb is maintained at the top, swarm preps are averted.

    Maintaining the overhead reserve of capped honey is not as readily seen in the double deep. They will usually leave a small band of capped honey at the top of the expansion dome in the upper deep, and the reserve is contained in the shoulders of the dome (corners of the box.) It's still about the same amount of honey reserve.

    Of course, it's not seen at all in northern areas where the beekeeper only leaves enough honey to feed the colony until field nectar is available. (Maybe) In that case, it's consumed for winter survival.

    Walt

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