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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Package installed end of March. Using 8-frame mediums. The hive has been increasing in numbers and appears very strong with a good laying queen, however;



Four weeks ago, checked the hive, and expected to see at least some capped honey. There was NONE. No food stores at all. Lots of brood and lots of bees but no stores. So we began feeding.



I have had some concerns stemming from this and I hope someone can give me some advice (reassurance?) on whether or not we have messed up royally:



1) Is this lack of food ‘normal’ for this time of year for a new, albeit, strong hive?

2) Will feeding encourage the laying of brood? Should egg laying drop off at the end of the season (dearth?)

3) When should laying stop?

4) When are drones normally evicted?



They are going through a ½ gallon of syrup every 2 days, I’m concerned this constant supply of food will throw off their normal cycle. I expected to have to feed through the winter, but I didn’t expect to have to start this early. I noticed some pollen being brought in this past weekend.



Also, I have noticed a very large Robber fly hanging out in the bee-yard lately. Concerns? :s
 

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1) Is this lack of food ‘normal’ for this time of year for a new, albeit, strong hive?
I think your area is in a dearth until the golden rod starts to produce nectar. It sounds like your hive is strong and a strong hive can go through stores very quickly when they are raising brood. A hive can starve if they can not keep enough food for the brood that is being raised. A lot of hives are lost in the spring because of raising a lot of brood quickly.


2) Will feeding encourage the laying of brood? Should egg laying drop off at the end of the season (dearth?)
You want to feed 1-1 syrup to encourage the bees to raise lots of young bees between now and the end of September. The hive needs the young bees to make it through winter. The one thing to watch for with feeding is that the bees do not back fill the brood nest and swarm. You can feed 2-1 in October if the bees need more stores. If the bees need more stores after Oct I would feed foundant or dry sugar to reduce the moisture in the hive.


3) When should laying stop?
Most hives will raise a small patch of brood most if not all winter.

4) When are drones normally evicted?
The bees will determine this based on resources and the time of year. If a hive is low on resources the drones will get evicted earlier than a hive with plenty of stores.

I think you are doing just fine.

I don't know what type of fly you mean by the robber fly. If it is a dragon fly it is after the bees, but will not reduce your population enough to worry about. I have European hornets and dragon flies that like my bees.

Hope this helps.
Nevin
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much, Nevin, I'm feeling better now that I have a clearer idea what to watch for.

the robber flies that we have are not dragonflies but their behavior is dragonfly-like. they're ugly and big enough to carry off a small child! well, not really but they're big and some of them are called bee-killers here is a link

http://www.critterzone.com/magazineresource/robber-fly-Asilidae-robber-flies.htm
 

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Ok, related to this - we appeared to have started the dearth about two weeks ago - little activity at the entrance, and lots of VERY angry bees in the boxes. New nuc this year - in an effort to be ahead of the game next year (have comb drawn in the super), I put on a shallow super and started feeding. As a result, much more activity, tons of pollen coming in, and waaay happier bees. additionally, they have drawn almost the whole super out. I intend to leave the super (filled with syrup) for them this winter, and then use the super once they get going in the spring.

Any problems seen with this? If it's still got syrup in it in the spring, could I just uncap and set it out near the hive? (My only concern would be attracting robbers?)

Thanks!
Andrew
 

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As far as that robber fly goes...in my experience they're sort of like any predatory insect...loners, and they eat what they need to survive, so seeing one or even a few around wouldn't worry me. They'll get one of your bees here or there, but certainly not enough to make even a small dent in a strong hive. They'll also catch all kinds of other bugs that you don't want around, so not to worry. I will agree with you though about carrying off a small child, they're one of the neatest non-bee insects I've seen in my garden.
 

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Any problems seen with this? If it's still got syrup in it in the spring, could I just uncap and set it out near the hive? (My only concern would be attracting robbers?)

Thanks!
Andrew
Andrew, don't ever leave stuff "out" to be "cleaned up". You are so right to be worried about robbers ! ! ! When you have honeybound frames put them in the bottom super, or just put a whole super on the bottom. The bees will naturally gradually carry it up higher. MUCH BETTER than letting them rob it out. If it lasts thru winter they will use it for spring brood rearing. It will be gone by the time the honeyflow comes in May.

Robbers are VERY MEAN and "once a robber-always a robber". They will nail you a hundred yards from the hive for no reason at all. You don't want to get robbing started !
 
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