Top bar management...what's going on???
BACKGROUND: I have two KTBH's that I started from packages in mid-April 2012. I fed them 1:1 syrup extensively and they built up nicely before winter with substantial capped honey (and probably some capped syrup). I did not harvest any honey last year. My intent was to allow the bees to use what they needed to get through the winter and harvest the excess this spring when the nectar flow started. A 50-yr. beekeeper at the association meeting cautioned that the many hives around here die from starvation from mid-March to mid-April if the whether turns rainy for a long period just as the hive is raising lots of brood. Based on that advice, I intended to harvest some honey in the next week or so...especially because I need to add more empty bars to the brood nest to keep them from swarming and there isn't much room to do that without harvesting honey (both hives have 30 bars). On a warm day in late February I did an inspection and the best hive had 10 bars of capped honey; the other had about 4 bars.
On April 1, I did another inspection and virtually ALL of the capped honey is now UNcapped They expanded the brood nest and are building nicely. The big colony had even built new comb on a couple bars next to the end entrance and filled them with uncapped honey. What happened? Why did they uncap all the stores whenever they were gathering nectar? What did I do wrong? How long will it take for them to cap that honey so that I can pull it to give them more room when the big flow starts in a week or two? What can I do if they don't cap it before they run out of space?
Thanks for your help!!