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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a 3# package that arrived 15 Apr and I fed 1:1 syrup for 2 weeks. They consumed about 2.5 quarts and started building comb on 10 bars. I stopped feeding after 2 weeks and they haven't built any new comb in past 3 weeks. The existing comb has capped brood and pollen and I found the queen alive. The total nest is about the size of a basketball. I'm on the PA/MD border and we've already had our peach blossoms.
 

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It sounds like they are doing good to me. They won't draw comb unless more nectar than what is needed for brood rearing is coming in. You are probably just in between flows is all. It sounds like they have a good sized brood nest built out so give them time, as populations build and nectar flows come in, they will expand as they need for honey storage.
 

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For a package started in a TBH your fine. I would not feed anymore at this time as there is plenty for them to gather. Building out 10 bars is good. Ditto on what Ray stated.


Pasadena, Md
 

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In my experience it seems that's just how they do. I've had a TBH in operation for going on 4 years now, actually the same colony. They were originally in a TBH made from purchased plans with an inner length of only 27 inches. The 1st year they filed it up more than 2/3 as I recall. The 2nd year I was afraid it might be not long enough, so I built another one same specs but just doubled the length and transferred them over. It's now about 2/3 full again from the end of last year. This year the 4th year they have not built anymore comb. It seems they might have now maxed out and built all the comb they ever will for the size of colony they will ever be. They therefore might not ever fill this double length TBH to it's full capacity. They stop building comb every year around early June at latest.
BTW, I suggest having bushes or small trees near the front of your TBH that are low to the ground making it easy to catch swarms. If yours is like mine, every between late April and throughout May it will spit out a couple swarms. Mine did the very first year just about a month and half after I installed the package into the hive.
 

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I realize there is a nectar flow going on in your area, but my package slowed down considerably when I stopped feeding. Now that I am feeding again and have added a pollen patty (so food is very easy for them to get to), they are back up to speed. Having enough comb for my 3 hives and the manipulations that I want to do is taking priority over trying to get any honey from them this year.
 

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This is my first year keeping bees. But, my gut says feed them to build up strength. It may all depend on your local environment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I appreciate all the comments. I live near hundreds of acres of corn fields that won't bloom until July, so I think I'll just let the bees fend for themselves and see how it goes. I'll keep you posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I did a hive inspection today and the colony looks good. The bees have resumed expanding the existing comb. The comb is loaded with larvae and capped brood. Here's a shot of a bar from the middle of nest...notice the band of new comb around the edge. The queen is about 1 inch from the very bottom.

Full resolution image is at http://head-tech.com/beesource/IMG_2805.JPG

queen2.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm happy to report that when the brood hatched the bees kicked it up a notch and started making comb again. As a bonus, they started packing away a honey comb. Not bad for a package! Thanks for all the comments and advice.
 
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