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Discussion Starter #1
I have about 10 hives that I am thinking should give me honey this Spring. I have supers on 6 so far and a minor nectar flow seems to have stared but I am not getting any new foundation drawn out. There are plenty of bees in the hives with the supers on them. Do I just need to wait for the main flow to start? I get most of my honey from Gallberry and Tulip Poplar which are both very late this year and are not flowering yet. There is nectar coming in from other trees and plants though.
I am using plain wax foundation.
Thanks
Howard
Hampstead, NC
 

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A lot of the time the first nectar will be placed around the top of the brood nest to resupply that area. One of the signs that it is time to put my honey supers on is when I take the top off and see new white comb on the upper parts of the upper brood frames.

So even though I will have a minor flow in the first of May, they seem to use that to build up supplies around the brood nest and raising new brood. They don't need new comb for this.
 

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I'm with AmericasBeekeeper on the excluders.

Because I harvest comb honey, I use them, but let them start drawing comb before harvest. Per guidance from trusted codger, once they invest the work, they pass though the excluder with no concern. Had success letting them make the investment.

A couple years ago I got lazy and put comb foundation supers on with the excluder because they came through the winter with good stores. Both hives swarmed to give me four. I gave up on the harvest but left the single supers. One hive had three brood chambers, an effort to mitigate swarming, and the other had two, the third was pulled to house a swarm. For fun, I checked at the end of the season and found a packed to the gills super on the two deep hive. The three deep had a packed to the gills top deep, but nothing in the super above the excluder.

One of these days I'll only do something different on some of my hives instead of all so that I can learn more than one thing every year. Beekeeping is so complex that I feel most do what they do only because it appeared to work before.
 

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A lot of the time the first nectar will be placed around the top of the brood nest to resupply that area. One of the signs that it is time to put my honey supers on is when I take the top off and see new white comb on the upper parts of the upper brood frames.

So even though I will have a minor flow in the first of May, they seem to use that to build up supplies around the brood nest and raising new brood. They don't need new comb for this.
Good! I saw that new white comb on top of the brood frames today, and was scratching my head as to why there was minimal activity in the supers. Must be the girls are getting ready to rev things up :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't use excluders. I use medium supers and last year I just made sure the queen was down in the lower of the 2 deeps I use for the hive. I did have one super where she started to lay so I put her down again and out the frames with brood to the outside. The bees cleaned out the brood and I had the center 3 frames with nectar so she didn't use the super again.
This year I am trying something called "7-11" foundation. I think Kelly is the only supplier and the bees should draw out a size cell that is between worker and drone and she won't lay in it. It is a hassle the first year because I have to cross wire all the frames. I'll still keep an eye on them because I've not used this before and don't want more room for the queen to lay.
I have yet to see any Tulip Poplar even close to blooming. I don't know about Raleigh but here in Wilmington/Hampstead it was the coldest winter since 1917. The Azaleas started in earnest only about 1 week ago and that is a solid 2 weeks late. Good news is we had tons of Spring rain and there are no dry plants to worry about. I just hope it does not rain like mad 7 out of 8 days straight right in the middle of the flow like it did last year. It knocked the flow to the ground and maybe our area got 40% of what it would have w/o the poorly timed downpours.
 
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