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Question for beekeepers in central AL. I live in Helena, AL (that's Shelby county, just south of Birmingham). I am a new beekeeper. I got 2 5-deep frame nucs at the end of June. Placed on supers in late July when 7 frames in brood mostly completed. As of end of August not drawn comb in one super. Some drawn comb but no honey to speak of in the other. End of September still no activity to speak of in hone hive's super. The other as maybe a fourth of a frame with honey. I know August and much of September were dry but I had hoped for more 3 months from nucs.

Here's my question. Is this the norm for summer in AL?
 

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You are expecting far to much of nucs in alabama obtained in June because our honeyflow is over about the end of june.My suggestion is for you to join a local bee club and attend a beginners class.
 

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Thanks, Jack.

I knew I had missed the main flow but I had hoped they would be able to get themselves ready for winter without much feeding. At this rate looking like I have a bit of feeding to do. Just wanted to make sure something wasn't going on the hive I might have missed.

Concerning classes, hopefully can get into a class early next year but with 3 kids, work and keeping the place up there is little time left over.
 

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Honey Hive Farms: We deliver bee packages, queens & bulk honey in 8 states
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Honey Hive Farms,

Did you feed any sugar water?
Is there capped brood, and new eggs?

NOTE:
If it is that dry there, we would of been feeding sugar water
Make sure they have the correct amount of room
Get a mentor for beekeeping an join a good bee club
Check for mites
May need to even check the pollen in the hive and maybe give them pollen patties....

Hope all goes well

Tim Moore
 

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Here in West TN (climate similar I suspect), we've got TONS of goldenrod blooming. I'm going to check our super'ed hives this weekend after harvesting last month. I hope there will be some new honey there.

Point is, unless I'm all wet, you still have time for your bees to accumulate stores for the winter.

Rick
 

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Our goldenrod bloom started last week on the coast, how is yours looking up there? Mine are packing away nectar at the moment so i am guessing yours should be as well. If you are worried about it and think you are past the fall flow, you can always feed. It's a good idea to read about robbing first though.
 

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mt - I was just down in Shelby County last week (my house is on Hwy 17 just down the road from you and I attended the Alabama Beekeepers Association fall meeting in Montgomery) and saw goldenrod in bloom.

As an aside: Be alert for yellow jackets. They are out in full force. I had a "bees in the wall" call in Alabaster/Helena area while there that turned out to be YJ's. I encouraged the homeowner to try and kill them out quickly as they will harass honeybee colonies and will raid weaker colonies.

I helped organize a bee club in the area that is still meeting, though on the other side of the county. I believe they are now meeting somewhere on the other side of Columbiana. If you want, I'll try to find a phone number of a contact for you. PM me if want me to do that.

-Js
 

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Here in trussville (north Jeff Co) goldenrod looks like just peaking or coming off peak. Had supers on all hives, but they haven't drawn them out. Looks like now the girls are backfilling any holes. In another week or two, gonna start 2:1 fall feeding. First year for me too. I was surprised given how much pollen they are bringing in that the supers didn't even start to get drawn out.

Msbehaven
 

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We would be glad for you to join us at Shelby County Beekeepers Association. We started about 4 years ago and have roughly 125 plus members. Look us up at Shelbybees.org . Last month we had an open hive demonstration at Hope Christian School which would have been close to you. The club offers classes each year and we pair new beekeepers with mentors. We meet the 1st Thursday of the month at 708 county road 36, Chelsea al. 35043.
 

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MT,

Alabama has had one of the best overall years I can remember with sporadic small flows almost all summer. Your bees have done exceptionally well given the time you got them. It is very important to get them ready for winter. Goldenrod will wrap up in about a week and then you may get a decent aster flow. These do not always give enough cured honey to carry a colony over winter. The problem you have is that there are no drawn combs in the super. Bees are VERY reluctant to draw comb this late in the fall. I would focus on feeding them enough to get at least 40 pounds of cured honey into the brood chamber. This would be at least 5 and preferred 6 full frames of sealed honey. Do not worry about pollen, there is abundant pollen available for now. I would suggest getting 40 pounds of sugar and plan on feeding half to the bees now and the other half early next spring.

Here are the things to watch for.

1. Check colony weight, if needed, do a fall inspection and count how many frames of sealed honey are in each colony.
2. Feed them based on how much they currently have, it takes about a gallon and a half of 2:1 syrup to equal a full frame of sealed honey. You will probably need at least 2 gallons per colony.
3. They should go into winter with at least 6 full frames.
4. Do NOT overfeed them, it puts excess stress on the bees which may cause them to die over winter. It also can fill up brood rearing space now which is at at time they very much need to raise brood for winter bees.
5. Start feeding now if they need it, they must have it cured before cold weather sets in about 3 weeks from now!
6. Feed inside the hive. Do not under any circumstances use an external or entrance feeder in the fall, it is an invitation to robbing. You can use 5 or 6 pint jars inside the super by removing a few frames. If you need info on how to do this, ask on beesource, someone will explain.

Once you have them up to weight going into winter, plan on feeding them starting in early February when the first pollen comes in. This is usually about the 10th to the 15th in your area. Please note that feeding is not something you do on automatic. Always check the colony condition and feed WHEN IT IS NEEDED!

You may be able to take the empty frames from the super and slip them down in the brood chamber just long enough to get the bees to start drawing them out. If you do this, they should be on the side of the broodnest with brood on one side and honey on the other. Leave them for a week and the bees should have them partially drawn out with some honey, then move them back into the super and put another pair of empties down to be drawn. This is a lot of work to go through but if you really want to get them started into the super, it will help tremendously. Please note that this will only work if you are feeding the bees heavily at the time the empty frames are moved down. Also, I don't know if all of the frames in the brood chamber are drawn out. If they are not, then do not move frames from the super, instead, focus on getting the brood frames drawn.
 

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MT,

Just one additional thought to all the great advice above. Make sure you don't have any queen excluders on. I'm a first year beek as well, but from what I understand the bees are reluctant to go through the QE to pull new comb on fresh foundation frames when there is still some work to do down below. However, if there is already pulled comb above the QE, then from what I understand they will march right on up. I have a friend that had that happen to them this past spring, as I don't use QEs, and once she removed them, they moved right on up and started pulling new comb. But that was in the spring during a honey flow. However, since winter is approaching, everything I've read says to remove the QEs anyway. Of course, if you don't use QEs, ignore all of the above.:)
 
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