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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Central California
    Posts
    47

    Default How is my first colony doing?

    I live in CA zone 9b and checked the colony last weekend. I had 2 deeps and one shallow. Nothing was in the shallow so I took it and and queen excluder off. The first deep super only had a very small amount of uncapped honey a little pollen and the rest were empty cells. I added the second super when the first was about 70% drawn and they never made anymore comb in it since then. My second deep super is very heavy and all frames that are drawn have honey most of which is capped. So is this normal and if so how good is it for a first year colony. Also is there anything else I should do before next year?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Humboldt Co., California
    Posts
    59

    Default Re: How is my first colony doing?

    I am new at the beekeeping game so I am trying to learn as I go. You don't tell us in your post what kind of Bees you are keeping or where Zone 9B is or where in that zone you are.

    From reading your post, I am guessing this zone thing is based upon a temperature planting guide??That zone - if based on low temperatures and used as a planting guide runs all over the place but depending on where in the central valley you may be, the central valley tends to heat up early if not too far north so, I would anticipate flowers, nectar, pollen available maybe as early as late march???This might effect amount of honey to leave on the hives.

    It sounds like you have one hive with 2 deep supers. One with bees and presumably brood and one super loaded with honey -- center frames are brood and exterior frames with some honey/pollen and maybe empty??

    Deep supers frames full of honey -- each frame weighing about 5 pounds if all honey. So with 10 frames about 50 pounds of honey. If 8 frames, about 40 pounds.

    I would think that if you had 50 pounds of honey for Russian bees, that would suffice for winter -- obviously checking them once in a while and feeding as needed.

    It is my understanding that Italian bees don't slow down their laying and brood raising so much in fall and winter - over wintering with a much larger colony so they need more honey reserves -- while Russians tend to slow down brood raising and overwinter with a much smaller colony that build quickly in the spring and summer. Therefore, An Italian hive might need a little more reserves left on them than a Russian hive.

    I am trying to leave 60+ pounds for my Italian hive and 50 for my Russians. My zone doesn't get as cold as yours; however, it doesn't get as warm either -- and spring tends to be a little later.

    Anyway, that is my 2 cents and it is worth well less than you paid for it. Hope your hives do well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Cordova, TN, USA
    Posts
    152

    Default Re: How is my first colony doing?

    I have this same situation in one of our hives. Saw no larva, just a small amount of brood. Is the queen gone?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,534

    Default Re: How is my first colony doing?

    Queens will shut down production this time of year depending on the hive population and stores.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
    Posts
    1,017

    Default Re: How is my first colony doing?

    Queens will shut down in a dearth and to get ready for winter. If the population is good, the bees look healthy and fuzzy (shiny and darker indicates older/robbing bees) and the hive is calm, everything is usually good. See if you can have a local beekeeper take a peek if you think something is going on.

    I have a recent blog post about getting a hive ready for winter and evaluating stores. You can find it here.

    Good luck!

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