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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Honey bound, please help me to understand how to avoid this

I have been reading about honey bound hives
now I have concerns about feeding
Is this more of a Spring/Summer concern?
I have two 10 deep frames, the bottom has nectar and capped brood, the top is loaded with honey, and I just put a medium super on the top with a QE because someone suggested it to provide more room. Then I was told to feed the bees. I am going to use the paint can method but I need to know if I need to be concerned about causing a potential honey bound issue. I don't understand honey bound, I mean I understand what it is and the problem it causes for the queen, but how does it happen and is it a concern with fall and winter feeding. Oh, and does my situation sound like it could be a future concern.
 

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You are not necessarily honey bound if you have capped brood in your bottom deep box of ten (10) frames. If a new bee ecloses (emerges from the pupa stage), and her sisters fill the empty cell with nectar, then you are honey bound (the queen has no place to lay an egg). The solution if honey bound is to checkerboard some foundation or drawn comb into that brood box, to give them more room, and also adding another honey super does not hurt.

Your second box of ten (10) frames has approximately eighty (80) plus pounds of honey which should be sufficient to over-winter in North Dakota, so I presume sufficient in New York. If honey bound and with more than adequate stores, I question the need to feed, as was suggested to you. it merely perpetuates the supposed problem. Plus, the stored results aren’t “honey”, just stored sugar syrup which should not be harvested next spring.
 

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if the honey in the hive weighs in around 120 lbs you normally are ok in this area, so top deep filled and 2-4 frames capped in the bottom deep should be fine, if they aren't capped you can feed, you probably don't want to feed with the honey super on as they may store it there and you will have to get it off again, and if you leav it on through the winter remove the QE. the majority of the nectar sources are dried up, so if you lift the hive in the AM you should have an idea about how heavy it is. If you feed after the queen has stopped laying they will fill the bottom deep and leave little room to cluster. On a more important note, what have you done for mite treatments?? seems that this year the mite counts are high, people have had to treat an extra time already, one person said the inspector found "17 mites, 12 mites, and 27 mites per one hundred bees about a week ago." I wouldn't want those counts on 300 bees never mind 100 bees.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
If you feed after the queen has stopped laying they will fill the bottom deep and leave little room to cluster.
thank you, that is what I needed to know.


On a more important note, what have you done for mite treatments?? seems that this year the mite counts are high, people have had to treat an extra time already, one person said the inspector found "17 mites, 12 mites, and 27 mites per one hundred bees about a week ago." I wouldn't want those counts on 300 bees never mind 100 bees.
I am currently doing a Formic Pro treatment. When I did the alcohol wash I had 7 mites per 1/2 cup of bees. (is that a 100 count or 300 count?) I know that is on the high side but could also be worse considering I hadn't treated them yet. I haven't seen any dead bees on the ground and it has now been 5 days. They are on a screened bottom, (which I am going to swap out for solid soon) not sure if that defeated the mite treatment or not. I didn't think about the screened bottom board until afterwards. When do I do another alcohol wash? I put two pads on. I also have Apivar strips on hand, if my mite counts continues to be high would you suggest using the Apivar for the second treatment? Thanks for all your support
 

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When the flow is on in spring the day length motivates the queen to lay. If a large percentage of available comb is full of brood and the balance is filled with nectar the queen will have no place to lay and she would be honey bound or flooded out with nectar. Swarm conditions.

My perception is that in autumn there are many conditions different including the motivation of queen and workers. The most likely scenario is that the queen will merely cease laying and the workers not motivated to swarm. This is providing that they are satisfied that the ratio of young winter bees to old foragers and the amount of capped brood is correct. This would be normal conditions for approaching winter. Our interventions can throw them off their game though; like taking all the stores in September. Then we have to do further intervention to help them get back to survival conditions. Not saying this is wrong but just the way it is when we put our interests into the picture

If you have made them queenless for a period of time previously or fed them so heavily the queen had no room to produce the wintering bees then you would have produced abnormal conditions. My understanding is that some beekeepers will deliberately shut the queen down with gallons of feed but only after inspection shows they have an adequate population of wintering bees. Making this decision has been a bit of a puzzlement for me since I have ventured into single deep colonies. I opted to take the honey supers off a bit early and not fed them really heavily at first but I did pour it to them the last several weeks as I approached target weight.

Knowing what the target weight should be and keeping track of where they actually are seems easier for me than going in and examining combs. If one side of a colony is much heavier than the other it will tell you you may have to go in and shift their brood area back to the center of the box etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I just checked the hive and nothing is happening in the super I added, just a few bees hanging around in there. They are still bringing in pollen. I checked the upper hive and the outer empty foundation that I moved one space inside is being filled up nicely and the other side's outer foundation is also being filled. They look to be working hard on capping all the honey in there. I would assume that the Super will give them a place to put nectar so that they will not crowd the queen if she is still laying??
 

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I think I suggested you feed because traditionally people in your area want 2 deeps and a medium going into winter. As I recall, they had not drawn all the frames in the deeps and none in the medium. Good to hear that they are progressing.
Bees will do what they want so you have to go with the odds. It would be highly unusual for a nectar bound hive to swarm this late in the north. We worry about that in the spring and summer. Southern beekeepers are still monitoring for this.
The odds say swarming because of a bound hive are low, starvation in winter is higher. That's why I suggested you try to get some more stores on. J
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think I suggested you feed because traditionally people in your area want 2 deeps and a medium going into winter. As I recall, they had not drawn all the frames in the deeps and none in the medium. Good to hear that they are progressing.
Bees will do what they want so you have to go with the odds. It would be highly unusual for a nectar bound hive to swarm this late in the north. We worry about that in the spring and summer. Southern beekeepers are still monitoring for this.
The odds say swarming because of a bound hive are low, starvation in winter is higher. That's why I suggested you try to get some more stores on. J
So would you still say I should feed them, I have a couple of gallon paint pails full of 2/1 sugar water just waiting. :)
 

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It is unlikely that they will draw more frames this late. If your top deep is wall to wall nectar or syrup and the bottom is nearly filled except where there is brood, its about all you can do. How much brood is in the bottom deep? As they hatch, there might be more room for stores, but keep in mind that some mostly open cells is where they will cluster. How many depends on the size of the colony. I would put the cans on for a week. They will use it after the flow before they get into a tight cluster for winter or not take it at all. After that, not enough time for them to ripen.
I would plan on making sugar bricks and checking if they need them in winter. J
 
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