HELP ME! no fall flow?? lazy bees??? - Page 2
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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,536

    Default Re: HELP ME! no fall flow?? lazy bees???

    Your bees are not lazy. And the fall flow has not started, so it's too early to conclude it isn't happening.

    If you've lost a great deal of honey your hives may have been robbed, if they were weakened for some reason. Huge traffic at the entrances is not always home bees.

    In some areas you need to pull off your honey after the spring/early summer flow to make a crop. If you want hedge your bets a little keep some in frozen storage to see how things shake out in the fall. you can always thaw and add it back while you are experimenting and learning the cycles of your local conditions.

    Don't bother trying to feed them solid food at this season - I doubt they will take it, anyway, and you will just feed the SHB.

    If you feel the need to feed (though I think it is at least a month early) feed syrup. Your bees aren't starving as we are not having a drought, so they are getting something and probably reducing their brood to match conditions. I would trust that the bees are making a living OK, and wait until after Labor Day before making a syrup-feeding decision.

    Figure out what you hives need to weigh by close out, then feed them up until that weight.

    Golden is not one single plant - there are more than three dozen different species in NY, though not all are in all habitats. Bees have preferences for some, and not for others. If you have blooming flowers right now in your fields, you probably have Joe Pye weed, its cousin boneset, purple loosestrife in wet areas, virgin's bower, knapweed, with knotweed to come, along with asters and lots of other flowers. These may not make a honey crop for you but I bet they are making a living for the bees. Get out in your fields with a good wild flower book and identify the flowers you see. then look them up to see if they make good bee pasture. Many plants have only brief periods each day when they have nectar, so you may not be visiting them when they bees do, and thus not see them being used as forage.

    What's the state of your pollen storage?

    In areas with a strong early summer flow, many people take honey then and then not again later. If you missed the right point this year, it's not a tragedy, just a lesson in paying attention to local conditions.

    Some years there are strong variations: we had no early flow, which was very unusual, but once sumac and basswood hit we have been going like crazy ever since.

    I am north of you (north of Albany)and we usually have a more or less steady flow all summer through autumn so we can delay it. But that may not be the best strategy for your area.

    If you find you always have to feed heavily every year, without taking much honey, I would consider reducing the number of hives to better match the carrying capacity of your particular site. Trees (not conifers, though) make for excellent early spring forage. But for most of them, after they leaf out there are no more flowers. (There are a some exceptions, like tulip trees.)

    What are your mite count numbers?

    Nancy

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  3. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Orange County, NY
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: HELP ME! no fall flow?? lazy bees???

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo3 View Post
    I'm about an hour and 15 minutes north of you, but you guys have basically the same forage. I know your area has lots of apple orchards, so maybe monoculture is an issue?

    edit: I plan on putting supers back on after I treat (early September), so I'll let you know about any fall flow, which I highly doubt will happen.
    When you say you put the supers back on in early Sept. Do you mean full or spun?

    We don't have many apple orchards near us. We are closer to Sterling Forest so mostly wooded areas.

  4. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Orange County, NY
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: HELP ME! no fall flow?? lazy bees???

    Quote Originally Posted by Cloverdale View Post
    They could have swarmed and not known, sometimes they are pretty sneaky with that, unless you inspect every 2 weeks and catch them drawing out the queen cups. Donít be afraid to super early, and not just one super. I learned to manage the Spring/Summer honey a little more intensely, easier with less hives, having about 20. As you said earlier, they build up fast and store quickly. We had a wet Spring, so delayed blossoms but produced a lot of nectar. Our area of NY is mostly forested like yours with farms and corn. The Spring and early Summer trees produce lots of nectar for the bees as Mike pointed out, from early maples to the wild and domestic fruit trees to b.locust, tulip trees, linden, etc. Echinacea, phlox, sweet autumn clematis, etc. Dearth now, at least here. The first goldenrod or two the bees donít like, itís the last one, along with asters, and the ones Mike mentioned.
    They definitely haven't swarmed. We have a lot of experience with that and frequently check. We don't have many farms near us. but definitely a big spring flow like you said.

  5. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Orange County, NY
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: HELP ME! no fall flow?? lazy bees???

    Quote Originally Posted by enjambres View Post
    Your bees are not lazy. And the fall flow has not started, so it's too early to conclude it isn't happening.

    If you've lost a great deal of honey your hives may have been robbed, if they were weakened for some reason. Huge traffic at the entrances is not always home bees.

    In some areas you need to pull off your honey after the spring/early summer flow to make a crop. If you want hedge your bets a little keep some in frozen storage to see how things shake out in the fall. you can always thaw and add it back while you are experimenting and learning the cycles of your local conditions.

    Don't bother trying to feed them solid food at this season - I doubt they will take it, anyway, and you will just feed the SHB.

    If you feel the need to feed (though I think it is at least a month early) feed syrup. Your bees aren't starving as we are not having a drought, so they are getting something and probably reducing their brood to match conditions. I would trust that the bees are making a living OK, and wait until after Labor Day before making a syrup-feeding decision.

    Figure out what you hives need to weigh by close out, then feed them up until that weight.

    Golden is not one single plant - there are more than three dozen different species in NY, though not all are in all habitats. Bees have preferences for some, and not for others. If you have blooming flowers right now in your fields, you probably have Joe Pye weed, its cousin boneset, purple loosestrife in wet areas, virgin's bower, knapweed, with knotweed to come, along with asters and lots of other flowers. These may not make a honey crop for you but I bet they are making a living for the bees. Get out in your fields with a good wild flower book and identify the flowers you see. then look them up to see if they make good bee pasture. Many plants have only brief periods each day when they have nectar, so you may not be visiting them when they bees do, and thus not see them being used as forage.

    What's the state of your pollen storage?

    In areas with a strong early summer flow, many people take honey then and then not again later. If you missed the right point this year, it's not a tragedy, just a lesson in paying attention to local conditions.

    Some years there are strong variations: we had no early flow, which was very unusual, but once sumac and basswood hit we have been going like crazy ever since.

    I am north of you (north of Albany)and we usually have a more or less steady flow all summer through autumn so we can delay it. But that may not be the best strategy for your area.

    If you find you always have to feed heavily every year, without taking much honey, I would consider reducing the number of hives to better match the carrying capacity of your particular site. Trees (not conifers, though) make for excellent early spring forage. But for most of them, after they leaf out there are no more flowers. (There are a some exceptions, like tulip trees.)

    What are your mite count numbers?

    Nancy

    I posted in anticipation of the fall flow. To try and break our cycle since this is happening every year and we don't seem to have one. Just wanted advice to break the cycle!

    I don't think they are getting robbed. We have a large bee population and the comb doesn't have that classic gnawed on look.
    Our mite counts have always been low. We try and split a lot and we used to have a lot of swarming issues (even with room added to brood chamber and supers added).

    This is the first year we pulled some capped honey and froze it. Hoping to put it on as we need it or spin it later...What I don't like about just freezing it is that you can put a fully built out comb back in for them to refill...thoughts?

    We usually don't feed until much later but the bees seem to eat thru what they have at an alarming rate up until we have to feed them pre winter.

    Agree that I need to learn more about flowers! yes! Its only recently that we even had a pasture to deal with. I would say most of the area around us is wooded. I don't think we have any farms in a 5 mile radius. We have a lot of fruit trees that are just starting to get going and might help in the future.

    I'll have to check pollen state next time we go in. I don't think its low though.

  6. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,342

    Default Re: HELP ME! no fall flow?? lazy bees???

    do you find that your bees cut back on brooding after the main spring nectar flow?

    bees bred for commercial applications (pollination, package industry, ect.) tend to brood like crazy irrespective of flow conditions.

    when bees cut back on brooding they consume very little of their stored honey.

    it wouldn't hurt to check around with other beekeepers in your area and see what kind of stock they are using and whether or not their experience is similar to yours.

  7. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Geauga, Ohio
    Posts
    464

    Default Re: HELP ME! no fall flow?? lazy bees???

    How do you know the bees are not swarming? The best way to be sure is that NONE of the hives went queenless (because a virgin did not return). When a hive swarms, then 1) you won't get honey! population drops too much; and 2) the hive looks the same, except for the pattern of brood in the hive. A few days after the swarm leaves, enough capped brood may have emerged that the combs are still full. The swarm cells from the sister virgins (and the winner) may be torn down already. There are still a few larvae, 5-6 days old... but no eggs.

    If the queen returns mated, there might even still be capped brood! Inspect every 2 weeks, and the only sign that the hive swarmed would be 1) not storing honey; and 2) eggs and capped brood, but no larvae of intermediate age.

    I'm posting this caution, that without confirming for the presence of eggs, larvae and capped brood every 10 days you can't be sure the hive didn't swarm, mostly for newer beekeepers who haven't had that surprise realization - the hive is queenless because they swarmed some time ago and I didn't notice! And she didn't make it back.

    So, assuming that you've had that surprise in the past and know how to inspect to detect a hive recovering from swarming, some other thoughts.

    1. Some bees don't store much honey. Are these all sister queens? locally mated?
    2. Your bees should be filling all 20 frames side-to-side, and filling the supers too, in order for the hive to be able to store honey. If the population is not that high, it's not a good sign for honey storage possibilities.
    3. Do you have drawn supers? Getting bees to draw out the supers is very different from having them fill already drawn comb. I have fed sugar syrup when honey supers - undrawn comb - were put on before there was a good flow in late summer. Then I fed, but only until the started to draw out the comb. You could feed until they finish drawing out the comb, and extract it, and feed it back to them in the late fall.

    If you see that there is little or no nectar in the BROOD NEST, and the outer frames have little honey, then it is a dearth. The bees will fill the brood nest first, so it is worth poking down there rather than just looking at the supers when trying to see if there is a flow.

    Also, when there is a flow, the number of bees foraging will increase dramatically. I count 20 in 10 seconds - I count to 10, then (on my fingers) count groups of 5 coming into the hive. If there are lots of bees in the hive, but they don't come out to forage in as high of numbers as you expect, then there is little nectar coming in.

    Yes, it may be your flowers. I have an acre in the back which we mow twice a year, mid May or so and after frost. We get a ton of white asters and they feed the bees well. Only the bushier goldenrod is a hit with the bees - our neighbor's acre (they never mow it) has some of the bushy goldenrod (instead of the more feathery pointed kind). A forest is great in late spring and in early summer, but not much use to the bees after that.

    One more tip - shoot, I have to look up who said it - you don't want to grow your bees on the flow, you want to grow the population before the flow. So this is a great time to feed, if the brood population had gone down due to lack of incoming nectar (in NE OH, we never have a pollen dearth). You would see only one comb with eggs, and possibly only 5 frames with capped brood, if the bees were slowing down broodrearing due to a lack of nectar.

    Good luck! Take notes. Happy bee watching...

  8. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Orange County, NY
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: HELP ME! no fall flow?? lazy bees???

    Quote Originally Posted by squarepeg View Post
    do you find that your bees cut back on brooding after the main spring nectar flow?

    bees bred for commercial applications (pollination, package industry, ect.) tend to brood like crazy irrespective of flow conditions.

    when bees cut back on brooding they consume very little of their stored honey.

    it wouldn't hurt to check around with other beekeepers in your area and see what kind of stock they are using and whether or not their experience is similar to yours.
    They build in brood in the spring, then take in a lot of nectar (while losing brood population), then the dearth, then they increase their brood numbers again in the fall while eating thru stores.

  9. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    10,342

    Default Re: HELP ME! no fall flow?? lazy bees???

    Quote Originally Posted by cwalker View Post
    They build in brood in the spring, then take in a lot of nectar (while losing brood population), then the dearth, then they increase their brood numbers again in the fall while eating thru stores.
    that's what i see here too cwalker.

    but while they are 'brood breaking' during the dearth, very little of the honey reserves are consumed. i guess we have enough trickling in during the summer and fall to keep the spring honey from getting used. i also can get away with smaller winter clusters and less feed needed for overwintering down here in alabama.

    if your bees start brooding up the wintering bees in mid-july and the nectar availability isn't enough such that they have to consume all of what they have stored in the spring,

    i guess your only option is to harvest after the spring flow and feed back syrup enough to support late season brooding and overwintering.

    seems like i remember reading that bees going through long cold winters without a cleansing flight do as good or better with syrup honey as compared to real honey, something about not as many solids building up in the gut.

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