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I started 20-5 frame nucs(meduim boxes) in mid July, all are doing great right now with lots of brood. Because they are only medium boxes, I want to overwinter them in two 5 frames boxes high. I added the second box about a week and a half ago. I run all my colonies foundationless frames, so the new boxes I put on the nucs are foundationless, I have no extra drawn comb right now to use instead. The bees have not begun to draw any comb in the second boxes, I'm getting concerned because they definitely need two boxes of stores to make the winter up here. My goldenrod is just barely starting, so I want them to take advantage of that flow, but with no drawn comb in the second box yet, its getting late. Should I start feeding sugar syrup to them to get them building comb, or would they just backfill the broodnest in the first box with the syrup? I don't want the queens to get syrup bound and cut back on laying just yet. What is your suggestion? Thanks, John
 

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Last year was my first trying to winter two story nucs. I'd always used single story, double nuc boxes. It's difficult to keep early made nucs on 4 or 5 frames due to swarming. Adding a 4 or 5 frame super seemed the simple cure. It is, but last year...with no flow and almost no Goldenrod flow? I couldn't get them to draw foundation. I fed them all 3 gallons of 2:1 and most only drew out a crescent of comb in the bottom half of the supers. Still wintered fairly well, but many got stuck above in the late winter on partially drawn foundation. Had to give them Fondant to keep them alive.

So, trying to get them to draw comb might be a problem at this point. I'm guessing because I don't know the strength of your GR flow. It just seems to me that it's getting late. I've been removing undrawn foundation and giving back comb. Can you take comb from other colonies? Have you started extracting yet? Can you use empty combs from that? Oh, do you extract since you are foundationless?
 

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Michael,

Thanks for the reply. We have lots of goldenrod and aster in my area, and it can yield real good IF the weather cooperates, however, in many years that I can remember the bees don't get to work it all that well because of cool rainy weather that can occur in the fall. This year may be different I'm hoping, as we are ahead of the season as far as bloom times, and if the weather continues to be above normal tempertures we may get an extra long fall flow. I have already extracted (I do extract my foundationless mediums with no problems) and put all combs back on my production colonies and they are working in them, some better than others. I could go and remove those combs and give them to the nucs if I have to, which means I wouldn't be extracting any fall honey, but, getting the nucs through winter is priority. I think I will go out today and start feeding a thick syrup to all the nucs and see what happens. It may stimulate them to start drawing comb, and hopefully store fall honey in them. I can always feed, feed, feed to get them the stores they need. Thanks again. John
 
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