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Hello everyone. I’m a new beekeeper and started a couple of hives in the spring. So far they seem to be doing well - they are each at 3 medium (8 frame, foundationless) boxes. The 3rd box on each is roughly half built out with comb/honey stores. I haven’t fed except the first few weeks to get them started. Since the indian blankets have stopped blooming a few weeks ago, they slowed down adding new comb. I do see pollen coming in on bees though.

Am I correct that the nectar flow follows roughly the local gardening schedule - heavy in the spring and fall with less activity in August and Dec/Jan? Can I expect them to start building again in the Fall?

Ultimately, how big do folks run their hives around here through our winter? What should I aim to have the hive size at with a reasonable expectation of not having to feed them? I’m not against feeding, just wondering what a healthy hive should look like going into winter.

Thanks!
 

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My bees are about 2 hrs SE of you near Weimar. Not familiar with the local gardening schedule but it is probably a good indicator depending on your location. Probably will have to feed them to get the rest of the frames filled out. They are are not inclined to build comb in the fall usually but I have been successful getting them to do so so on thin syrup. A super and a hlf should get you through winter however the last two winters a have been colder than normal.
 

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Up here, I can winter a single 10 frame as long as I check them in January for stores. If they are light, I give them dry sugar ala Mountain Camp. You are correct that we have a spring flow (that I harvest) and a fall flow (that I usually leave).
 

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I run 8 frame equipment and mostly medium. My aim is for 3 8-frame mediums or a deep and a half for an overwintering configuration. This late cold snap around April 15th caught a lot of my hives off guard and they needed o be fed. Plenty of people run a single 10-frame deep but, "you have to watch them." Indian blanket is the indicator for our spring flow. August is a dearth but, if you are in an urban area, crepe myrtle, sage and landscaping plants will allow them to eke by, low lying areas near creeks usually afford mesquite and some late blooming wildflowers. Fall flow in September is indicated by goldenrod (big yellow flowers in the ditches), it has been growing well this year with the recent (for the last few years atypical) rains.

The issue we have is that they shut down brood rearing in August due to the heat and lack of forage so with few young bees of wax making age, the fall flow is not likely to result in much comb being drawn. Fall flow will likely be better this year than in the past few based on what we've got for rain and the goldenrod I see growing (not blooming yet). I am feeding some late nucs to push a little more brood building and fall comb building but, for the most part am not feeding.

I've got hives in 4 or 5 locatons in and around Austin and the microclimates can vary greatly.
 
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