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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first try at beekeeping. So I started my hive a little late in the spring, about middle of may. This is a new hive, had bees and queen shipped to me. When they had drawn out 80% of the deep, I added a super on top, this was about July 1st. Problem is they have never started drawing out comb in the super, therfore nothing has been stored in the super. The deep looks great, lots of honey stored, eggs, larvae, pollen. Ok here is the question: Can I extract honey from the deep or am I supposed to leave it for the bees for the winter? I'm just wanting to taste some of the sweet product these ladies have worked so hard on. Or since this was a new hive should I just wait until next spring and add the super again. Any advice?
 

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Honey in your lower brood box is what the girls depend on to get them through the winter. Here in Maine, there will be a minimum of two deep or three medium brood boxes that feed them over winter. I know nothing about overwintering bees in Texas or how many brood boxes you need, but not touching the brood box honey is pretty universal.

The girls won't mind if you poke a few cells of honey with your hive tool and take a sample, though.

Wayne
 

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How are things over in Howe, TX? I used to live and work in the Blue Ridge, Anna areas.

I'm trying to get my bees to draw out two deeps. That may be overkill but that's my humble opinion. During the dearth times like these, I'm putting on sugar syrup in a 1:1 or 2:1 combination that will encourage comb building and storage of winter supplies.
 

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I'm to the east of you by 150 miles. My girls drew out and filled a deep and a medium by July 1st. They were busting out of that so I threw another medium on to give them more room. So far they've drawn out all the frames but have absolutely nothing in them which does not surprise me since little is blooming right now. Around here we get a fall flow (if the weather cooperates, PLEASE RAIN!) if that doesn't materialize I'll throw the feeder on them for a few weeks.
With as short a winter as we have here a deep and a medium should suffice but another medium would be good insurance.This next spring I'm going with nucs.
Even coming from just south of here packages don't start shipping til the first week in April which is already half way through our spring flow. It makes it hard to get them built up before the dead time. Mid-July through mid-September.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Have you fellow texans ever had the problem with the queen not laying eggs for an extended time in the summer. That was another problem I had earlier this year. Here is the story of my first hive, I'll try to keep it simple.

Bees mailed to me middle of may. Everything was going according to plan, brood pattern was excellent, storing pollen, necter. I checked the hive around June 20th, still looking great and I added a top hive feeder since I was having to fill the front feeder jar everyday. I also added a super since 80% of the deep was finally drawn out. Around 1st of July I went out of town. Gone for two weeks, then it was about 1 week before I found time to check on the hive. So basically the hive was undisturbed for a month. While I was out of town, a buddy of mine refilled my top hive feeder for me, so all he did was take top off, pour in feed, and close top up. When I checked it I saw no eggs, no larvea, and couldn't find the queen. I waited 2-3 weeks to check it again and whalla! eggs, larvea, queen. So not sure if I just missed the queen when I looked and she wasn't laying for some reason, or if something happend to her and they raised a new queen and then she started laying. So all is good at this moment, just none of them ever started drawing out the comb in my super. Therefore no honey harvest for me. But if these guys get through winter then I should be able to put the super on early spring and reap the rewards.
 

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If you have been feeding this entire time then most of what is in the deep is not real honey but stored sugar syrup. In any case I would leave it all for them even if they fill the super. Better to make it thru winter with bees than have a bit of honey. :)
 

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I know I read this somewhere, if I'm wrong someone please correct me. The house bees are responsible for the management of the stores in the hive, communicating to the foragers what is needed at any given point in time, Nectar, pollen or water although pollen is basically a byproduct of an endless search for nectar. When a dearth is underway they can also suppress brood production in an effort to preserve the stores until a flow begins again. So in the case of a dearth there will be less brood production, orientation flights etc.
 

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The likely scenario is that due to inexperience on the part of the beekeeper, the bees now believe that they are honey bound in the brood chamber and they swarmed. Unless something is done to improve the space in the brood box they will swarm again soon.

There should be no honey across the top center of the brood area. Then they will move upward and use the super.

But what do I know, I'm a human not a bee.....
 
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