As I progress from a new beekeeper to more experienced one, my hives have also become more established. After two years of feeding young hives heavily, I didn't have to feed at all this spring. I fully expected to have to buy sugar and was pleasantly surprised to see they were almost totally self sufficient. We had mild spring temps and good rain fall all spring. Large hives grew quickly and put up a large amount of honey. Smaller colonies and overwintered nucs wouldn't take up syrup, but didn't grow much early on or store much feed but maintained colony strength and size until the main flow. They are now also almost too big to handle.
I am now at the tail end of my main flow and wonder how these hives will respond to the upcoming dearth.
Nucs and mating nucs will need to be supplemented somewhat to keep them growing to overwintering strength.
Large 10 frame hives, many are four or five high deeps, are simply dripping with honey. Some backfilling quite substantially, but no swarm cells. Seems like they are already suppressing the queen's laying to reduce the numbers in the hive for the upcoming dearth. They have all been managed aggressively with checkerboarding and have shown no swarming behavior. They have drawn out hundreds of new frames and foundation perfectly. And that's part of my question.
Although I just put together 300 more new deep frames, I am running low again already. Most hives have plenty of room, but will these big hives continue to bring in and draw out frames much after the main flow? I know there is no way anyone could know that, but compared to smaller hives with fewer foragers, what can I expect from these established hives?
One thing I do know. I love Apivar. These huge hives have no mite load to cause them to crash after the flow. They are clean as a whistle.
Half sized deep frame for mating nucs
These two hives were 2012 overwintered July virgin mating nucs in a five frame over five.
All the large hives have had frames taken from them to make spring nucs and are still robust.
Mated queens, virgins and queen cells available for local pick up only-no shipping yet. By next year I should have the resources to make my mating nucs early enough to be able to ship queens. My Northern season is short though. Don't count on me for early splits or queenless emergency's before mid June.
I am not a business and do not have any help or employees. I raise a few extra queens to help with expenses at this point. Seems like it it working good for me though I am already looking forward to next year to put in place things I have learned this season.
More photos and info if you are interested.