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First year in beekeeping, starting with new frames and foundation. I have two hives, started from nucs I was able to find locally in mid-June after waiting and waiting for packages I had ordered months earlier that never appeared. Given such a late start (completely missing the spring nectar flow) and wanting to build them up to have a good chance of making it through the upcoming winter, I have been feeding 1:1 sugar syrup pretty much non-stop. As a result, each hive now consists of two 10-frame deeps, very nicely drawn with 3 or 4 frames of "honey" (syrup) in each of the deeps near the outside edge of the box, while the 6 or 7 frames near the center are mostly brood with capped honey around the top and side edges. Looks just like the book says it should to me. Also, and I'm new at this, there seems to be plenty of bees around, packed between frames, busy doing their thing.

I'm about to add a medium with new foundation to each of the hives which I hope to use next spring as honey supers for harvesting. If I continue to feed sugar syrup, I'm assuming they will draw out the comb, then fill them with the "honey" (syrup) as they did with the deeps, along with some brood.

Over the winter, will they then use up this "honey", leaving clean drawn comb so that come time for the spring nectar flow I can expect honey that is not contaminated with sugar syrup? Am I correct in assuming what is in the frames now is not honey since it didn't come from nectar, but sugar syrup instead? What am I missing in how to obtain clean drawn comb for honey supers?

Thanks in advance. I've already learned so much from lurking on this forum for the last few months.
 

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welcome dmr!

i'd check with some of the experienced folks up your way for more relevant suggestions than what i could offer but,

my guess is that it's probably a little late in the season to try to get more comb drawn. your bees should already be making adjustments to get themselves prepared for winter, i.e. backfilling the broodnest in the upper deep, reducing their population, and rearing the special 'winter bees' that are fed richer jelly that they helps them have a longer lifespan.

continuing to feed might throw them off a bit on that timeline. i would consider removing the feeders and seeing if they get up to winter weight on the fall nectars. you could add a little feed later if needed, but given a decent fall flow it might not be necessary.

does anyone up there run single deeps instead of doubles? if so and it works out ok, you could consider splitting your doubles into singles next spring. you'll make increase, likely prevent swarming, and they will be eager to draw out those honey supers for you on the spring flow.

you can extract these supers and put them back on over the season, and end up leaving a couple of supers for next winter, and when the next spring comes you'll have more options when it comes to moving frames around.

that's how we do it down here. please, if i've sent this new beek astray some of you northern guys set him straight. :)
 

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"Over the winter, will they then use up this "honey", leaving clean drawn comb so that come time for the spring nectar flow I can expect honey that is not contaminated with sugar syrup?"
Yes. You may need to move some frames around in the spring to keep the condensed syrup close to the brood and away from the supers.

"Am I correct in assuming what is in the frames now is not honey since it didn't come from nectar, but sugar syrup instead?"
Yes.

"What am I missing in how to obtain clean drawn comb for honey supers?"
I don't think you are missing anything. I would try to avoid feeding syrup because nectar provides better probiotics for the bees' digestive system. I think it's best to not try to push the bees to make up for lost time from delay in getting bees. You will have plenty of drawn comb (and new challenges) in due time. Enjoy the bees.
 

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i would consider removing the feeders and seeing if they get up to winter weight on the fall nectars. you could add a little feed later if needed, but given a decent fall flow it might not be necessary.
:)
Unfortunately, from what everyone has told me and from everything I've read, our state doesn't have much of a fall flow. It's either feed lots to make weight now or plan to feed fondant all winter, if you have new hives, and don't rely on the fall flow, which may or may not happen. I've run into a couple folks who said their bees ate the winter stores during the summer dearth, which turned into a rough spot. Makes Maryland a uniquely difficult place to keep bees.

http://www.beesource.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-192433.html

ETA: I noticed my bees stopped drawing comb way back in June. I have kept a couple indrawn frames in the hives, but they haven't done a thing with them. I recently took some full frames to make space in my very full hives in case of a fall flow, but I'm not expecting them to do much with it.

You are not too far from Howard County Beekeepers or Anne Arundel Beekeepers or Central Maryland Beekeepers Association, if you can attend meetings.
 

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>Over the winter, will they then use up this "honey"

If they use it all up they will have starved. Hopefully they won't.

>Am I correct in assuming what is in the frames now is not honey since it didn't come from nectar, but sugar syrup instead?

Correct.

>What am I missing in how to obtain clean drawn comb for honey supers?

You could extract what is left come spring... they may burn a lot of it up raising brood.
 

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One of the most persistent issues I find with using deeps and mediums, Which I still do anyway, is that three is a hitch in getting them to move up from the deep into that first medium. Just how reluctant they are has something to do with how motivated they are to expand. But for the most part I find some bees will move up onto the new fraems to do nothing much more than lounge.

I have found feeding them from a jar over the inner cover helps get them to move up and do some drawing of the middle frames.
 

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Hey, DMR, I had the chance yesterday at the Montgomery County Fair to hang out with some beeks from the MoCo Beekeepers Association. I picked their brains.

Plan for 80 lbs of stores in a full sized hive to get them through the winter here. Configuration is whatever you like...if you are using deeps, mediums or whatever...as long as they have 80 lbs of stores. If we have a warm winter, they will eat through it all very quickly, so be ready to check stores any warmish days we have. Be ready with fondant/sugar blocks/mountain camp sugar to feed if they need help.

However, if we have a nasty cold winter, they need sufficient population to stay warm. So, again, check them on warmish days. Consider combining NOW if you have small nucs or hives that don't seem to be building up well.

To help build up, you may need to provide small amounts of pollen sub (watch for SHB) and/or feed now.

Start feeding 2:1 to hives that need help in September. But if you need comb drawn, keep going with 1:1 as much as they will take until then. No HBH in your syrup now because of robbers...robbing is fairly significant here because of the lack of flow from June on.

Do NOT rely on a fall flow to build up stores. If they get any this fall, great....but planning to let them get to winter storage capacity on fall flow is a mistake, because there isn't likely to be a fall flow of adequate size. New hives or hives started late will need help, and if you've taken all the honey from an established hive, you pretty much have to feed.

Nucs can be difficult to overwinter here because of the population need. There are people who do it, but it's tough. (After I was told this, I started thinking about combining one of my nucs into my smallest hive to add numbers, and keeping the other nuc where I can keep feeding the snot out of it now, build it up into maybe a 3 box nuc, and easily keep an eye on it later.)

Basically, to overwinter bees in MD you need to make sure they have enough food and enough numbers, and they do ok, even if you don't do anything else like windbreaks or hive wraps or the like.
 
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