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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
We are trying to understand our bees' cycle more. Here's what we have noticed the past few years:

Early Spring--little nectar coming in but lots of bees produced
Late Spring (June)--Less bees being born but lots of nectar coming in
By July we have 40 lbs to 90 lbs of honey on some hives
By Mid-July they're eating it and uncapping the honey
By fall they've ate ALL of it.

Its almost like we don't have a fall flow. We have heard of "lazy" bees from too much syrup and not going out to forage...The questions is are our bees "lazy" because they have so much honey stores that they don't want to go forage for more? We are hesitant to take honey from them in July and spin it out and by fall there is nothing to take...What do we do? Do we really not have any fall flow? Are they making more bees and can't store nectar in addition to that? We live in Southern New York State in a heavily wooded area. The bees are in a field full of flowers. We have about 10 hives and they all do fairly similarly.

We would love to take some honey from them but since they're eating through it we haven't been able to...
-C
 

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You need to get some good quality food patties on those hives. I like Mann Lake Ultra Bee patties but they make a bulk patty that is basically the Ultra Bee food patty but with higher amounts of syrup and fats added. They are about 15% protein. This type of patty can provide good nutrition while at the same time carbohydrates the bees, especially the foraging bees need to forage nectar and natural pollen but not adulterate any honey stores currently in the honey supers. It is this or start feeding sugar syrup and forego the honey harvest.
 

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cwalker, you should update your profile to reflect where you live. Most areas go through a dearth this time of year so the bees aren't lazy, there just isn't anything to forage. Although, your area may be different. I don't think there is such a thing as a "lazy" bee. If there is forage available, they will go get it.
If your hives are light, give them feed but watch for robbing.
 

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cwalker, you should update your profile to reflect where you live. Most areas go through a dearth this time of year so the bees aren't lazy, there just isn't anything to forage. Although, your area may be different. I don't think there is such a thing as a "lazy" bee. If there is forage available, they will go get it.
If your hives are light, give them feed but watch for robbing.
I'll update my profile. Its NY. I understand that right now there is less nectar flow and its the dearth. That's not what I'm worried about. I'm worried about the fall flow. They start eating now and never stop until next Spring. I was curious if people thought it meant there was a) no fall flow or very little or b) the bees realize they have stores and don't continue foraging (or do they forage regardless of their stores). Trying to decide if I should take some of their capped honey and freeze it and keep it for later when they're hungry.

I'm trying to avoid feeding sugar syrup and patties to these hives every year and really am trying to do it only in late winter/early early spring.
 

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......The bees are in a field full of flowers........-C
Likely poor late pastures.
A "field full of flowers" does not make it a good pasture.
There have to be the right flowers.
 

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Your timing is pretty close to mine and we are over 2,500 miles apart. At my location the last flow is blackberry which ends just about July first every year. After that, the only significant nectar source available is ivy, which comes on in late September. I start feeding in July as soon as the supers come off and don't stop until almost November. The bees are not lazy, there are no good nectar sources available in a quantity needed to keep them alive. My advice? pull the honey in July and start feeding. In my area 50 pounds of sugar costs about $20.00. 2 pounds of honey costs the same. feeding sugar is a much cheaper way to keep them alive.
 

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I'll update my profile. Its NY. I understand that right now there is less nectar flow and its the dearth. That's not what I'm worried about. I'm worried about the fall flow.
you have to look around and identify the plants that are blooming. right now we have knapp weed in full bloom, wild yellow and white clover, vetch etc and large stands of golden rod coming in. starting in the beginning of july we had big flows from sumac and basswood. For the month of july good hives were capping a med a week, slowed a little right now but I just had to put new supers on, they filled the last super in 10 days. I do have one small yard in a town that in 5 years, I have never gotten a honey super off the hives, they make just enough to survive, barely. look around and find some other beek near you and see how he does. did your hives swarm?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
you have to look around and identify the plants that are blooming. right now we have knapp weed in full bloom, wild yellow and white clover, vetch etc and large stands of golden rod coming in. starting in the beginning of july we had big flows from sumac and basswood. For the month of july good hives were capping a med a week, slowed a little right now but I just had to put new supers on, they filled the last super in 10 days. I do have one small yard in a town that in 5 years, I have never gotten a honey super off the hives, they make just enough to survive, barely. look around and find some other beek near you and see how he does. did your hives swarm?
We have Golden Rod that's blooming now. Not much clover left. Our hives didn't swarm this year. I agree that that the field might not produce fall flowers. We have tons and tons of Golden Rod but I mostly ever see bumblebees on it.
 

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Your timing is pretty close to mine and we are over 2,500 miles apart. At my location the last flow is blackberry which ends just about July first every year. After that, the only significant nectar source available is ivy, which comes on in late September. I start feeding in July as soon as the supers come off and don't stop until almost November. The bees are not lazy, there are no good nectar sources available in a quantity needed to keep them alive. My advice? pull the honey in July and start feeding. In my area 50 pounds of sugar costs about $20.00. 2 pounds of honey costs the same. feeding sugar is a much cheaper way to keep them alive.
I suppose you're right. Just trying to keep them more "natural" and use less sugar but also figure out how to get some honey as well. Frustrating that everyone speaks of a fall flow but I have yet to see real effects of it. Blackberries are done for us! Just Golden Rod from what I can gather. I never see them on it though.
 

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Trying to decide if I should take some of their capped honey and freeze it and keep it for later when they're hungry.
I'm trying to avoid feeding sugar syrup and patties to these hives every year and really am trying to do it only in late winter/early early spring.
Fortunately, there is no need to overthink this. Pick up the back of the hive and if it feels light, feed them.
I don't know about your area but North Georgia has 2 types of goldenrod. The type that blooms in August through early September is not worked by my bees. The GR that blooms in October is the one that the bees work. If you are waiting to see if there is a fall flow you could be wasting valuable time for the colonies to bulk up. I have been at this 7 seasons and there was only one year that had a fall flow.
You may not want to feed but if the hives are light, you must feed or they will die.
 

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Because of extra heavy precipitation in the spring and early summer, many states possibly have some delayed blooms?

What do you think about this idea?

I like what a lot of the others said.
 

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Why not pull off the 40 to 90 pounds of honey in July and harvest it? Isn't that the point of having bees? I treat in August with supers off and will put one back onto the really strong hives to get some fall honey. The ones that don't get a super can keep everything.

Clover is about done here. Knappweed started and knotweed should be soon. Early goldenrod is also just getting going.

Re rain: With all the rain my harvest is really low this year. My spring honey was also the color of new motor oil. Usually it is very light. At some point I'm going to try and figure out why it was dark. I happened it 3 yards very far from each other, so whatever the bloom was it was widespread.
 

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Fortunately, there is no need to overthink this. Pick up the back of the hive and if it feels light, feed them.
I don't know about your area but North Georgia has 2 types of goldenrod. The type that blooms in August through early September is not worked by my bees. The GR that blooms in October is the one that the bees work. If you are waiting to see if there is a fall flow you could be wasting valuable time for the colonies to bulk up. I have been at this 7 seasons and there was only one year that had a fall flow.
You may not want to feed but if the hives are light, you must feed or they will die.
Good to know about the GR. I'll have to read more about our variety. I definitely don't think there is much of a fall flow. Its been 8 years and they never really get much in the fall. Just produce more bees. We all ways feed them if we have to. Just debating if we take their honey and still have to feed them a lot or not take their honey and in theory feed them less sugar.
 

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Because of extra heavy precipitation in the spring and early summer, many states possibly have some delayed blooms?

What do you think about this idea?

I like what a lot of the others said.
We definitely have delayed blooms and I think that's why our best flow is June. Just not much happens after that.
 

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Why not pull off the 40 to 90 pounds of honey in July and harvest it? Isn't that the point of having bees? I treat in August with supers off and will put one back onto the really strong hives to get some fall honey. The ones that don't get a super can keep everything.

Clover is about done here. Knappweed started and knotweed should be soon. Early goldenrod is also just getting going.

Re rain: With all the rain my harvest is really low this year. My spring honey was also the color of new motor oil. Usually it is very light. At some point I'm going to try and figure out why it was dark. I happened it 3 yards very far from each other, so whatever the bloom was it was widespread.
I guess that's what we kind of started to do...We pulled all the capped frames and what we could, consolidated the boxes and plan to put the frames back on as they need it.
 

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Bees are not lazy. Are your hives all swarming and leaving a small forage force going into fall? If I can keep them out of the trees, I have a good fall harvest. If they swarm, not much. J
 

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I'm about an hour and 15 minutes north of you, but you guys have basically the same forage. I know your area has lots of apple orchards, so maybe monoculture is an issue?

edit: I plan on putting supers back on after I treat (early September), so I'll let you know about any fall flow, which I highly doubt will happen.
 

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Not swarming.
They could have swarmed and not known, sometimes they are pretty sneaky with that, unless you inspect every 2 weeks and catch them drawing out the queen cups. Don’t be afraid to super early, and not just one super. I learned to manage the Spring/Summer honey a little more intensely, easier with less hives, having about 20. As you said earlier, they build up fast and store quickly. We had a wet Spring, so delayed blossoms but produced a lot of nectar. Our area of NY is mostly forested like yours with farms and corn. The Spring and early Summer trees produce lots of nectar for the bees as Mike pointed out, from early maples to the wild and domestic fruit trees to b.locust, tulip trees, linden, etc. Echinacea, phlox, sweet autumn clematis, etc. Dearth now, at least here. The first goldenrod or two the bees don’t like, it’s the last one, along with asters, and the ones Mike mentioned.
 
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