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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First year. Two hives. Two different behaviors.

So both hives have drawn out the first deep super. One queen is laying very well and the other not as well, the one that isn't laying as well is almost full of honey in every frame. I just added an additional super to both hives. I guess I'm just wondering if there is anything I need to do or just let them do what they do? And why would I need an excluder if they are making so much honey already?

Sorry, its early and I don't have my thoughts together yet
 

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I would use an excluder just to keep the queen out of my honey super. Amount of honey to take depends on how you feel your summer will go for nectar.
 

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It takes a lot of honey to produce brood. One researcher/beekeeper Mel Disselkoen maintains it takes a 100 pounds of honey to raise brood for a brood cycle. Your less populace colony may be led by a queen of a more thrifty heritage like Carniolans. I was really amazed when I ran my first carniolans by how much honey they made with smaller colonies than I was used to with Italians. Now I have switched mostly back to Italians and wonder why there is not more honey in the boxes with those huge populations and brood sometimes being raised in parts of four deeps. It is a pain having to sort frames come extracting time but Population still matters when the flow is on. My covers are equipped with a top entrance and with the temperatures now in the nineties some days, they are open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Vance. These two hives are Italians from packages and I think its really interesting how they are producing to different results. I'm just learning and this is all amazing to me!
 

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They might indeed have been born of relatively typical queen mothers but they had one of a dozen or more fathers who could be whatever flew by. Then they may have mated with drones of other than Italian breeding. Unless you get your queen from someone who had artificially inseminated breeders your queens could be of varied lineages.

Then additionally, all colonies are individuals! I won't launch into a diatribe about how do you steal what is yours, but you can take from the bees a share of what your symbionts produces. If when you weigh your brood chambers where the bee will winter at the end of the season, you can do as Is done for 98% of the kept bees in the continent. You can feed them a safe FDA approved white granulated sugar ration until the hive weighs what you think it should to survive the winter in your area. Be sure to start this early enough before cold weather for the bees to dry down the 2:1 or 5:3 syrup so the bees don't have excess moisture to deal with in the winter.

I used to make my best guess when the flow was ending and pull all my supers so the bees would pack in the last of the honey for themselves. As often as not, my guess was too early and I came back to bees with the lids glued solid with burr comb full of honey and every cell filled leaving no place for the cluster to form when clustering was required. Some also did a late over crowding swarm leaving me with a very heavy queenless hive heading into winter. I was losing my very best colonies, the ones who put up lots of honey.

Although you are a climate zone south of me, you have tough winters. Consider putting on a short feeder rim about 3inches deep before you wrap up your hives for the winter. That way if the bees run short, you can put on sugar bricks and in the spring feed pollen patties and feed if needed on spring breaks in the weather. Start planning for wintering now and that includes checking your VARROA levels! The sermon ends have a great 4th of July celebration!
 

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I would recommend against an excluder if your honey supers are not drawn. I have 12 new hives and added excluders. They would not move up. I removed the excluders and they began drawing and putting up honey very quickly. I also found that they filled the top of the brood chamber with honey first and that discourages the queen from moving up. You can always add the excluder later, move the queen down and let the brood emerge. Then you won't have brood in your honey supers. My first year in production, but this is advice I gleaned off the forums that makes sense to me.
 
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