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I'm a little concerned about honey stores in my TBH and would love some advice. It's been a really strong hive all summer, building at a steady pace with plenty of brood, no queen cells, and very few drones. There are no signs of disease or infestation, except for two hive beetles that I just found this week.The hive is located in an urban area with plenty of flowering trees, nearby gardens, etc.

Unfortunately, the colony hasn't been storing much honey. There are 7-10 large combs with brood and some honey, but only one small comb of honey at the end. The hive is about 3/4 full, and the bees have plenty of room to expand.

Here's a diagram of the layout (e=empty bar, B=brood, h=honey, |=follower board, o=entrance holes)


ee|eeeBBBBBBBBhee
_______o o o_______


I'm concerned that they won't have enough honey for the winter (I haven't harvested anything). Is there anything I can do to encourage them to build more comb and fill it with honey?
 

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Each of our packages have several bars of fully capped honey, but they also superceded so they backfilled quite a bit when they did that. We're pretty close to a large alfalfa field that flowered and wasn't cut for a couple of weeks as well as having an abundance of sweet clover around our roadways.

The swarms we caught in early-late June do not have that much put away yet, but they are booming with bees. Hoping for a good fall flow so we don't have to feed too much on all of these first year hives.
 

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I'm new to beekeeping, new to this forum and new to forums in general, so I hope I'm not breaking protocol by asking my own question inside this thread.

I too am concerned with honey stores. On July 5 my father in law gave me seven combs from his TBH: two with brood/bees, two with honey/pollen and three clean/empty. I bought a queen that they accepted July 7, but she waited until they had drawn two new combs to start laying. But since July 16th (when I first noticed capped brood) she has been laying like crazy, good regular pattern in the middle and bottom leaving the top 1/5 for honey. I now have six combs of brood with honey in the top, but only one partial comb dedicated to honey (perhaps 1/3 comb) and no capped honey cells. I also see very little pollen, although this morning for the first time I saw bees entering with baskets full if it. Being concerned, last week I put in a quart of 1:1 syrup which they emptied in a day. I did this three days in a row until I read a post that said over feeding is bad.

So that is why I am here. Being new, I'm concerned. And having read many different beekeeping sites and threads on this forum, I'm still not assuaged.

Any advice would be appreciated.

BTW, I liked Eric Bakes diagram. Here's mine.

(e=empty bar, E=empty comb, F=feeder, h=honey, B=brood, =follower board, [] hive ends, o=entrance holes)

[eeeee|FFFEhBBBBBBE]ooo
 

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(e=empty bar, E=empty comb, F=feeder, h=honey, B=brood, =follower board, [] hive ends, o=entrance holes)

[eeeee|FFFEhBBBBBBE]ooo
Assuming the | is the followerboard, I think you probably need to give them more room. Is your hive only 16-17 bars long?

As far as asking your own questions, it's related to the topic. I'm sure some goofballs may get worked up about it, but I have never understood that. I kind of think about this as a conversation. If you were to walk into the discussion and had a similar question, why shouldn't you ask?
 

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Hives with a new queen devote all their resources to raising brood. The super-organism is seeking a minimum 15,000 population. Once they mature as colony, the hive will shift to stores collection. The initial brood rearing of a new queen can be shockingly explosive. You might run out of season before the natural transition to stores colleciton occurs.

Different lineages have very different brooding patterns. Italians are notorious in my area in breeding themselves into starvation in a dearth. Other lineages are considered more thrifty. Bee's bred against the characteristics needed for almonds will brood up on a supplement at any season. Since this is the dominant trait selected for we see lots of colonies making seemingly "irrational" brood decisions.
 

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having lost my queen my bees turned their sites towards pollen and honey. the issue i'm seeing is very little capped honey except for an inch or two at the top of most bars. They have however filled many of the combs with pollen.

It also looks like when they lost their queen the slowed their cell building to a snails pace. they were building a couple full bars a week but in the past month they haven't even built a full one.
 

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Thanks for all the great responses. I think I found the problem: Robbers. I have a screen bottom and there was a gaping hole in the mesh. I always wondered why bees kept flying around the bottom of the hive. Plugged the hole and after several days no bee activity at the bottom and the quart of syrup eaten each day has gone down to about 1/5 quart a day. In a week or so I will inspect the hive and see if honey stores are improving.

Craig
 

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My TBH's are first season colonies and here it is mid-August, and it seems there is a good chance that they will not have much honey going into the fall/winter. All the old beeks kept telling us to stop feeding once they colony started storing honey, so I did - and I regret that now. I think they are using so much nectar to build foundationless comb that there is little to save. I see the small honey arch on the brood combs, but they don't have even one bar of just honey yet. So...this morning I put the syrup feeder back into both hives. If they store the syrup, that's fine, I'm not looking to harvest honey this year. Both hives need to build up the population and start storing honey. We still have the goldenrod coming any day now, so I'm hoping they will be able to do some last minute "shopping."
 

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What they will "store," of course, is your sugar-water. You "think" that they're burning-up their available nectar building comb, but there's really no basis for that.

Many flowers wait until Fall is approaching before they put out "one last huzzah" of blooming, and the bees harvest that. During the summer months, when abundant flowers might not be available, they'll eat-down their own honey store ... which, of course, is precisely why they laid it up. When the Fall flows start coming in, food becomes plentiful again and they're packing-away the (real) honey with amazing speed. You can safely take a small harvest from that before the flow starts to wind down. But if you see a relative lack of honey in midsummer, that's fairly normal. (I suspect that they build up the supply of available workers in anticipation of the rich harvests to come.)
 

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What they will "store," of course, is your sugar-water. You "think" that they're burning-up their available nectar building comb, but there's really no basis for that.)
"You might run out of season before the natural transition to stores collection occurs."

Both of my hives were late getting started, one was June 1st, so I am concerned about running "...out of season...before stores collection occurs".

Both hives are just barely half filled with comb (in approx. 42" TBH's). They need more comb for brood and more comb takes more nectar (or sugar syrup), does it not? As I said, if they end up storing the syrup this year, that's fine with me. I'm going to keep an eye on the syrup jar and if they don't take it, I can always remove it. I'm in New England, and the fall is already in the air, so to speak - we will have the big goldenrod rush in about a week but without more bees and someplace to store pollen/nectar, it won't matter. 8 (
 

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Well...FWIW...I just checked the syrup jars in the two hives. I put a fresh quart in each this Saturday at noon. In one hive, the jar is half empty, but in the other it's down to the neck of the jar, in just 48 hours. Maybe I made it extra yummy by putting in some nettle tea and vinegar to lower the PH, but they definitely went after it. We shall see...
 

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I too have the same problem with my only top bar. It is new this year and has comb on 26 of 32 bars, not any honey, pollen, or nectar whatsoever! I checked every bar yesterday. Lots of brood and everything else looks super. Here's the confusing part, I have 15 other hives at the same location and they are all in great shape with various stages of stores, a lot of it capped. I have watched the bees returning with pollen yesterday as well. It is in the triple digits here, but we have actually had steady rain this year. What gives???
 

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Although everyone is giving good advice, please remember that advice is valid only within the flight range of THEIR hives.
For example, if the nectar flow goes from April until September (as in the southern US), there is probably no reason to feed, but if you live here in Falls Church, you feed from late March (when we get our packages) until the flow starts, then harvest in late July, start feeding again unless you want them to start consuming what you've left, and stop when the weather gets cool; then they are on their own. and that advice is only valid within the flight range of my hive :). - Mike
 

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Although everyone is giving good advice, please remember that advice is valid only within the flight range of THEIR hives.
For example, if the nectar flow goes from April until September (as in the southern US), there is probably no reason to feed, but if you live here in Falls Church, you feed from late March (when we get our packages) until the flow starts, then harvest in late July, start feeding again unless you want them to start consuming what you've left, and stop when the weather gets cool; then they are on their own. and that advice is only valid within the flight range of my hive :). - Mike
So you feed from august until they stop taking it? You dont have a problem with them backfilling the broodnest early? I am light and am going to have to feed, I was hoping they would change my mind with the goldenrod and clover but they arent putting on anything. G
 
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