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Do bees get content with "enough" honey?

1457 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Harley Craig
Not sure that's the correct way to ask that question, but I am making a mad dash to get as much comb drawn as I can and the bulk of our flow is winding down for the spring. Thinking back to last year, we had a lot of rain and Dutch White and Ladino clovers bloomed all summer long. Around the first couple weeks of June the hives that I had then, shut down comb drawing and never moved up into the first super. I had started those hives with double deep brood boxes. The filled the top box with honey and shut down.

Clover is still blooming great, and the privet is winding down. My largest hives have a double deep brood chamber and 3-4 supers depending on which hive it is. I would like to get more medium frames of comb drawn, but they're slowing down on that. There is close to 100 acres of pastureland within 1/2 mile of our farm that is a grass, ladino clover mix. Why did the bees not keep putting up honey last year when that field bloomed all summer? Did they get content with the amount of honey they had, or is that even possible?

Is there any way to force or trick them into continuing to put up honey and draw comb with the clover in bloom?
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don't know any tricks, but that's not too shabby if you started with four frame nucs on new equipment last year.

i think the bees sense the trail off of nectar and pollen availability, and respond by slowing down on brood rearing and wax making, adjusting population/stores to maintenance levels with the intention of getting prepared for overwintering.

with a single deep and two supers it's possible to extract one super after spring and give the empty comb back to get filled up in the fall. then you can extract another super and still leave them one for winter.
don't know any tricks, but that's not too shabby if you started with four frame nucs on new equipment last year.
I think they have done well, but what do I know? LOL I just wish I could get more drawn comb for my supers. I put a 5 over 5 over 5 in a double deep last weekend and had to put a super on it because there were so many bees in the triple deep. I'm surprised it wasn't full of swarm cells. I am going to see if they need another super after church today. Probably won't but I won't know until I check. I have five more 5 over 5 nucs that I am going to put into a deep with a super this week. Unless something bad happens I should go into winter with 12-15 hives and maybe 10 nucs. I know so little about splitting, other than so far it's been easy to do. I am going to make up 10 more nucs and see how they do. I guess I will have no choice except to feed them after the flow to keep them going until the fall flow. I want to try a lot of things but lack of experience and lack of rain are putting a damper on that. It's getting really dry here, I hope you're getting some of this scattered rain that we are missing, up your way.
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understood brad. sounds like you're doing great. had a nice shower friday and another yesterday. not much in the forecast going forward though...
I have 1 hive that I would like for the bees to draw out 1 more medium super, but like you I think my flow is starting to slow down. It would help them this winter I believe. I was thinking of trying a megabee patty and feed 1 to 1 syrup to see if it would help. The only time I have fed a pollen sub is late winter/ early spring so I don't know if it will work or just a waste of time. If they can just draw out the frames I can give them 2 to 1 this fall if the fall flow is not strong enough.
One thing that happens later in the season, even though the clover is still blooming great, the plants stop producing the large nectar crops. Once the seed starts to develop a lot of plants will all but cease making nectar. An individual alfalfa flower will stop producing nectar totally as soon as it is pollenated. Our Sainfoin produces abundant nectar on the first crop, but because seed is produced by the first crop the second crop does not produce anywhere near the nectar.
one way to get them to draw comb is make a small split with eggs and some capped brood and let them raise a queen. Feed them syrup and they will build comb trying to grow the colony, and if you don't need/want the extra colony you can always pinch the queen and combine them later.
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