I've been doing a feeding experiment. Feeding as much syrup as one hive will take using a frame feeder.
In 8 days, the bees have taken down 4 gallons and fully drawn and filled 2 frames with syrup and eggs. I didn't even check the foundation in the bottom box which has probably been significantly drawn out.
5lbs of sugar in one gallon of syrup.
Somebody forgot to give my bees a copy of the book.
Randy oliver did a study during fall with several hives and though the study was more on 1 to 1 serup and 2 to 1 and how much serup it takes to draw comb. He did give numbers and the bees did draw comb and it was done with very fast feeding, like 3 gal at a time and repeating continually. I did some of the same last year and the bees did draw some comb but after 6 gal on a single medium hive with an empty box on top the bees drew out three comb and I decided I was too cheep to feed the bees what it would take to compleetly draw out the second medium and I just moved the partial drawn box to the bottom of the hive and put a 15 lb sugar block in a shim on top of the hive and called it a day. The bees made it to april fine and I did get some comb drawn very early spring cause the box was about full come early april. I got about 16 pounds of honey off this hive so far and it has about a medium super on it that is 3/4 full and capped.
I would go to randies site and look at his study and use that to help me dicide what I might want to do.
This is only my first spring after a winter and so I am saying what happened with me more then giving advice except to say that randy did do a study that can add more.
Somebody forgot to give my bees a copy of the book.
august 18. 2015 I got the advise from my mentor to put on top a deep with foundations and start feeding. It was strong hives. I started feeding 1:1 sugar syrup.
I have 12 frames dadant.
The bees started immediately to draw comb but they only drew half a deep and stored the syrup. It was capped. I used 40 pounds of dry sugar each hive to make the syrup.
They processed this. It was a warm fall.
I left it at that overwinter but the bees only survived this because we had a winter without frost.
I would never do that again. Itīs reducing as much as possible now, no empty space, no foundations in over winter. The danger they freeze in a cold spell or are isolated from food is too high.
Remenber, itīs my circumstances only.
Feeding, drawing comb and storing is the most local thing and you canīt transfer the advise to your own beekeeping. Itīs a long term experience and will change every year with the hive densities.
Your plans are not what the bees probably decide.
The best is to propagate the drawing of frames whenever it is possible so you can put some in whenever you need this.
Iīm not trying to have the bees draw comb in late summer anymore.
A frame now and then given works better for me. The spring comb (mostly drone comb) I use for honey storing, the summer comb for expanding brood nests.
But itīs only a small operation I have with 13 hives.
So when are you going to expand to 25 hives and start selling local nucs of your
Yep, when they are in the winter storing mood they will not draw any comb no matter how much
you feed them to back filled the brood nest. This has been my experience all along locally all these
years. When they are in winter mood with the change of weather I just let them store what they need
for the coming winter. Comb drawing will resume next March-April.
Don't mix foreign bees into a virgin hive. She might get balled 100% of the time! When will you ever learn, huh?
...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...
Back to topic.
Because of good flow my bees backfilled the broodnest in summer and therefore I gave them space. This was a good time to let them draw comb, after taking out the honey surplus now and then.
Brood cell comb can be filled with honey, but honeycomb used in broodnest is filled with drone brood or stores so I rather use a time they build brood comb ( after or while drone breeding).
With my big boxes the colonies will draw only one comb at a time in a fast and perfect way, if I put on a box with foundations only they draw half the foundations and fill them with brood ( or honey).
This could change with feeding or over the season if they are not weakened by mites or weather conditions.
But I had foundations which were not totally drawn in fall. This I donīt want to use in winter. ( Remember, I have splits only, no production hives).
To have enough comb is very important for my ( and my co-workers) expansion model ( I give surplus drawn comb not yet used for breeding to newbies in need), so I let draw one after another to take out the drawn and use them for the queenright splits. To give those a break in mite development I make them weak. If they have drawn comb the queen lays like crazy if fed or if donated honey combs.
In late summer suddenly the brood nests are reduced and stores become important. If I would take out filled and capped honey combs they would breed less and less and fill the brood combs, if the flow is good.
Then they start to shift honey from mediums to brood frames.
They draw comb if they are desperate,knowing they already reduced brood and having not enough comb to store honey.
But IMHO I believe such forcing is working against nature. I want the bees to nurse winter bee brood and fight the mites, not to draw.
Last edited by Sickdog5; 08-26-2017 at 01:45 PM.
Not sure they were given to me. Used them last year and never got any drone brood. They did say on website were my father in law got the frames. Consistent and uniform cell depth--less drone comb.
My bees will store 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, they will build comb on 1 to 1 or even 1 part sugar to 2 parts water. I use foundationless deeps and place empty combs between brood combs. I feed constantly this time of year which is a dearth here.
2. Drywall/Sheetrock saw works well, but leaves a ragged edge
3. Hand held Jig Saw...also leaves a ragged edge
I've done it using all of the above and still go back to a utility knife as described.