While it looks like this group is pretty much dead, I thought I would introduce myself anyway. lol
My name is Lisa, my husband, Matt & I got our first hives this summer. We are located ~10 miles south of Lake Ontario's eastern end. smack dab in the lake effect belt.
I have been reading like crazy, and am nervous coming into our first winter with our bees.
We have a colony started from a nuc from local survivor stock. (Thanks Eric) that have built up very nicely this summer. At least in my limited knowledge I believe they have. They have gone from 8 frames on July 3rd to 4 boxes plus. The queen has laid a beautiful, solid brood pattern the whole summer.
The second colony is, I think, feral survivors...(let me know if I am incorrect on this please) they are part of a colony that has survived for 10 years in the porch ceiling of an unoccupied (unheated), very old, farm house. (100% certain of that time frame as the house belongs to relatives.)
The colony extended into either the floor or exterior wall (or both) of the house which we were not able to tear into at the time, so we did not get the queen, but got a full medium box of bees and several uncapped, but occupied queen cells, from which they raised a new queen. Who has had an outstanding solid brood pattern right from the start.
I think the late date we extracted them, plus my inexperience set them back from what they should have done by now. We did the cut-out July 6th, the queen emerged around July 19th, I found eggs & the mated queen on Aug. 2 (I had stayed out of the hive for fear of damaging the queen until I knew she had had time to mate and I could identify her - as opposed to a virgin queen, so I don't know how long she had been laying for sure.)
Anyway, they have 2 boxes with bees filling every frame, plus a frame or two worth of comb in a third box. As of Sept. 22 they only had 9 frames of honey, not factoring in the honey in the corners of brood frames... I am afraid that they won't have enough to make the winter.
I have some questions:
I guess I will need to feed the one colony ASAP to have enough stores.
1) at this time of year will they have enough time to remove the moisture from 2:1 syrup (I realize it depends on weather etc. but some guidance/ballpark type help would be great.)
2) all my frames are foundationless will they draw it out?
I don't want them to backfill the broodnest too much - they already have filled it quite a bit, which I think was due to my mistake (think I waited too long to add another box). But maybe it is them preparing for winter? Someone have thoughts on that?
I have wax foundation on hand. This colony definitely does not prefer it. All summer, they have used those frames absolutely last no matter the position, and built the foundationless so much faster than they drew out foundation.