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Hi folks
I have been beekeeping for 3 years. Its a great hobby and I love beekeeping. I have 3 hives at present, one that wintered over and 2 new NUCs.
I inspected my hives today to find that I all 3 hives are full of all stages of brood, but very little honey stores. It has been a strange year for weather here in NC.
We had a very late frost in May this year. Also unusually rainy, then exceptionally hot then really rainy again. All my life the June bugs do not come out until June, this year I found 3 of the June bug exoskeletons on my back porch in May. The nectar flow is mostly over here and my hives have very little honey stores. Should I feed them sugar syrup? Or does anyone know what is going on with my bees. Help
 

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Hello neighbor! Where in NC, I am in Mooresville, about 30 mi from Charlotte.
Hi there, how are your bees doing this year? I am a couple of hours from Charlotte about 40 minutes from Raleigh and 15 minutes from Burlington. The weather here has been really weird this year and my bees are focused on raising brood instead of their honey stores. I am concerned if they'll have enough going into winter. Should I feed them syrup or what to do.
 

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I'm feeding a little heavier syrup , not 1:1. In this county the nectar has been washed out by lots of rain. It was cold and wet for red maple and the same weather for tulip poplar. There will be a small crop in the eastern part of the state and lots of robbing.
 

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Hi there, how are your bees doing this year? I am a couple of hours from Charlotte about 40 minutes from Raleigh and 15 minutes from Burlington. The weather here has been really weird this year and my bees are focused on raising brood instead of their honey stores. I am concerned if they'll have enough going into winter. Should I feed them syrup or what to do.
I lost my last colony very early in the season this year. I decided, rather than chase my tail, I would take a season off and regroup, and come back at it with some better plans (actual plans) and take the time to research, clean up my equipment and build some new equipment. I lost colonies for several reasons, though not the same one twice. So I am figuring out all the ways **NOT** to keep bees. But I am not intending on becoming the Thomas Edison of beekeeping. :)

Here is my advice, and remember you are hearing it from someone without any bees presently. If your bees are raising brood they need both honey and pollen. So if you have started the dearth earlier than normal, you should consider not only giving them syrup but also some pollen substitute. Both will help them with rearing brood. In addition to that, if they are filling the brood nest with nectar, or sugar syrup they are either doing 1 of 2 things, A. Preparing for winter (not late enough yet) or B. Preparing to swarm. When they do this, they are also putting the queen on a diet, and chasing her around trying to force her to lay eggs in the little queen cups.

If they have made a bunch of queen cells that have larva in them (dry empty ones don't count) be ready to do something, or lose a significant number of bees. I have not survived swarming in my area. There are loads of Italian bees nearby, and as soon as a colony gets the least bit weak I get robbed out almost immediately. But I digress. If you have queen cells started, it is a bit late in the season, but not at all unheard of, it is time to split. Catch your queen and put her in a nuc or hive body with a bunch of foundation and give her a frame of capped or emerging brood and some honey frame, then turn that hive around or move it away if you can and put a feeder on it. If you are lucky, she and her little tiny entourage will draw out your combs for you and she should start laying like crazy. The one you left behind, will now raise those queen cells into queens and they will fight to the death and leave one behind, and she should actually have plenty of time to harden up and go get mated and come back and start laying.

If they haven't made any queen cells, and I suggest shaking off the frames and making sure. They don't have to be at the bottom, they can be anywhere on the frames. But your chamber is getting filled up with honey you will have to get the honey out of there because when they fill it up they will feel like they need to swarm, If you have frames that are just all kind of filled with nectar/honey in the brood box you need to move 1 to each outside of the brood chamber and get the rest of them out of there. Replace them with drawn comb where possible, or if you have to put in foundation frames put them next to some brood and they will get the idea. Give them a super as well and let them store there if they are intent on storing rather than laying eggs.

Our main flow is almost over and the bees should be focused on winter soon. If you are doing reduced chambers, it is time to start bringing them down. Also, if you don't have supers on, and if you do you should probably take them off now anyway, it is a good time to do a mite count and treatments. Depending on what you use, there are still enough days here, that look like they should be cool enough for just about all the different treatments.

So if you simply have no stores, but they are laying like crazy, that is awesome, but they need some pollen as well as syrup. You can buy patties at TSC locally or there are plenty of recipes for making them from either from pollen substitute or some combination of soy flour and brewer's yeast. I would just buy some to start with. I would go with a thicker syrup 1:2 or 1:1.5 something in that area, they are more likely to eat this than store it which is good for now, you don't really want them to start storing a whole bunch in the brood chamber just yet. If they are still interested in laying lots of bees then that's great. Just be ready to split them or at least give them more boxes to lay into. You can still get a new queen mated probably through next month.

When you do your inspections, look for a good brood pattern. If they queen is making a nice pattern, great. If not, look extra closely (shake the bees off the frames if you have to) for queen cells. They can be anywhere. Watch for brood diseases.

Not storing much honey for you is pretty expected this year since this has been a terrible season. I think all the way back to the tulip poplar all the nectar was getting washed out so when it wasn't raining there was little nectar to collect. Though, you should have had pollen coming in regardless. If you have full frames of pollen/beebread those are like gold. So if they are crowding your hive take them out and freeze them for later if you have to. Once the privet is done, there is not much to speak of until August or September when goldenrod comes in. If they can build up big enough by then, and the rain holds off you can actually get winter stores out of it. Make sure they have some place to store it and cross your fingers. If they have slowed down laying by that point the brood nest should have that nice rainbow of nectar and pollen stores across the top of the frames and still have plenty of brood in the bottoms, any frames that are just packed full of stores move them up above the brood nest starting from the center out, but leave the two outer ones one for each side. If they fill that upper box with stores then you are set for winter, otherwise time to make candy-boards, sugar bricks, fondant or whatever you use for winter.


Make sure your mite counts are low. Seriously low. Like 0 or some number like that low ;) Don't worry about killing 300 bees to find out the mite count number. More than that many bees will emerge in the next few hours. And most of the treatments that you will want to use require temperatures below 90°F and some prefer below 85°F. So great opportunity to treat before that summer sun scares all the rain away.


These are the specific things I wish someone had bothered to tell me. (There are a few Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar) things that I missed out on as well, but that is a discussion for another time.) Had I known and understood these things, I would not have lost 3 out of the 5 colonies that I lost. I am sure someone much smarter than myself can/will chime in with better overall advice, but what I am telling you now, is what I have learned from my own failures so far. Kind of the things that when bad stuff happens and you tell someone and they respond with "Why didn't you do XYZ" or "You should have done ABC"? or my all time favorite "You needed to do QRS last month?" I so hate those answers. :) So here they are, ahead of time. What I wish I had known. :)
 

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Hello, I've been to Mebane before, near Grahm, Saxphawah
I do love that area. My grandmother was from Eli Whitney (right next door to Saxapahaw) and I came down summers as a kid to visit. When I grew up and was first married, I took my wife (6 months pregnant) there to visit and we had an ice storm. It was beautiful, coated all the trees and everything shined and sparkled like Christmas ornaments. My grandmother wouldn't let her go outside for fear she would fall on the ice, so we sat up in the house and ate 3 heavy duty meals a day for 2 weeks straight. I, myself, gained 15 lbs in that 2 week period that I still haven't lost in 33 years :) (probably added some more to that as well, but let's not go there :) )

Some of the nicest people you will ever meet down there in Saxapahaw, but d%$n do they talk slow. It is like a whole other meter to speech, reminds me of a 45 played on 33. :) Not just accent, because lord knows I can take on an accent thicker than canola honey, but a whole different sound to words. I personally love it.

Anyway, I never moved there, but I was in GSO for 8 years, and now after 15 years in Charlottesville, VA; I am in Mooresville for the past 6+ years. I really love NC, and not exactly sure why, but it just feels like "home".
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm feeding a little heavier syrup , not 1:1. In this county the nectar has been washed out by lots of rain. It was cold and wet for red maple and the same weather for tulip poplar. There will be a small crop in the eastern part of the state and lots of robbing.
OK that is good to know. Today when I got home I found my bees all over my hummingbird feeder. Soo I put on the top feeders and fed them good. Ill make the next batch a little heavier. Thank you for the input, Greatly appreciated!
 

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OK, yes they do speak a little differently. :). We delivered produce to some folks in Eli Whitney today. We also have a couple that we deliver to in Saxaphaw, and Graham. Church family and I cant say a word about anyone's weight. Good home cooking does that to ya. We moved to Mebane in 2008, lived in Chapel Hill for about 20 years before that. It is a beautiful area.
 

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Thank you for responding, When I did my inspection the two brood boxes had plenty of brood of all stages, I hive did have some queen cells, that had already hatched and I heard one pipng as I was inspecting that hive. What I found was that there was very little honey stores at all. Maybe a small amount in a few corners. Also this morning early I found the bees all over the hummingbird feeder so I fed put more food in the top feeders asap. So tomorrow I going to set up a pollen box for them. Thank you for your advice, I think that we learn from what works and doesn't work. Its part of raising honeybees. I only have 3 hives, but Im in it for the long haul either way. I love beekeeping. Thanks again.
 

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OK, yes they do speak a little differently. :). We delivered produce to some folks in Eli Whitney today. We also have a couple that we deliver to in Saxaphaw, and Graham. Church family and I cant say a word about anyone's weight. Good home cooking does that to ya. We moved to Mebane in 2008, lived in Chapel Hill for about 20 years before that. It is a beautiful area.
I've been to that church :) Well the Baptist one. I know when my mom was young they were in the Friends church. but I have never been to one of them. I only ever knew my grandmother to go to the Baptist one there. It is a beautiful area.
 

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Roma lloyd:

Welcome to Beesource- glad to have you aboard.

Here in W. Kentucky we've had a strange year as well- seems like more variability in weather might be the norm going forward.

Sounds like you've gotten some good local advice concerning your lack of stored nectar so far, and hopefully you all will have a decent Fall flow to make up for this Spring.
 
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