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Discussion Starter #1
I installed a package on May 17. This is my first hive. In the weeks since, the colony has been growing - lots of brood and lots of bees. Lots of activity in front of the hive with bees coming and going.

I installed my package into a 10-frame medium super on duragilt foundation (because I broke the wax foundation for the hive body and had to reorder, :doh:). I fed 1:1 syrup for the first 3 weeks or so, then stopped. On June 7, I saw they had filled at least 7 frames of the medium, so I added the hive body with wax foundation.

The bees have gradually been drawing out comb. As of yesterday, they had about 6 frames drawn in the hive body, with about 4 frames of that filled with brood.

My concern: I have not seen any honey -- it seems like all the comb they've been drawing out is used for brood.

** Do I need to be concerned that they have not yet started storing honey? (Or is this normal for new package 60 days after installation?)
** Do I maybe need to keep feeding syrup to assist with comb production?

It seems to me, the newbie, that the colony is healthy in that they are multiplying and are active. No obvious signs of trouble, aside from my not seeing any honey.

If it matters, we had 2 weeks of very hot weather here in PA. I added a Sundance I pollen trap a week ago, which is capturing maybe 2 or 3 tablespoons of pollen a day, so there's not a lot of pollen out there; I don't know about nectar.

My hive configuration currently consists of SBB, a sundance I pollen trap, a medium super, a hive body, a feeder which I have kept filled with water, and then inner cover and top.

Thanks for any advice.
 

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I wouldn't be real concerned. You can try feeding to stimulate but don't mess with success. You may not be on a flow right now anyway. I would pull the pollen trap. New packages should be built up and I'd want all the pollen to go into the hive.
 

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I would make the pollen into patty form and give it back. Why are you taking pollen from a new package?
Otherwise it's hard to say what normal is, I have several Nuc'c I got 8 weeks ago, some have only built out 2 deeps while others have filled 2 deeps and 3 supers.
 

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Im having the same problem with 2 new packages installed april 24th, i added a med super on top of double deeps (on 2 hives) on June 20th with queen excluder plus i sprayed the waxed plasticell foundation with sugar/water/HBH on both hives...June 25th took a look and seen nothing, even the bees didnt want no part of passing through the excluder so i took it off! June 30th i checked the med supers from the top vent and still nothing! I ended up pulling a adductor thigh muscle in my leg the next day and today was the first time i was able to crawl with a cane so i went out to the hives and looked inside just to be disappointed! I done everything i know and really have no clue what more i can do!
 

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on a new package don't expect to get any honey this year the first year is the the bees year to get established you feed then 1:1 till they draw out all frames then you let them pack honey for them to keep for winter. next year you can extra honey.
 

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I'll echo what honeydreams said. For package bees on foundation, I feed until they have drawn out comb on two deeps. The fact that you're not seeing any honey simply means they are consuming their food as fast as they can produce it. The objective for Year One is to get the bees established; get drawn comb; and stores for the first winter.

Also, as brac noted, it may not be a good idea to have a pollen trap on a new colony.
 

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In my experience, it takes 100-120 days for a package to reach full strength. This generally means that it is too late for honey production the first year. Now this can be improved but only if they are installed onto fully drawn frames and the weather is temperate.
 

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I agree with those who say your objective the first year is to get your bees through the winter. Period. To make this point some have said you are only a "bee haver" until you get your bees through the winter -- then you are a beekeeper.

Get rid of the pollen trap for now. Ignore new beeks who brag about harvesting honey the first year. Your flow may be different and they may have drawn out comb to start with. Many factors. Don't be confused that your second box had "wax foundation". Just like the plastic foundation, this foundation must be drawn out by the bees. On new equipment on a new colony, you should feed syrup until two deeps or the equivalent is built out. If they were my bees, I would start feeding them again now. You need many bees to get through the winter and they have to eat now and they have to store at least 60 pounds for winter in addition to what they may store in the brood boxes.

I do think some of the posts of new beeks who harvest honey, split hives, collect pollen and so forth may be misleading to other new beeks because we don't necessarily hear later if those particular beekeepers had losses over the next winter. Even if everything goes great for them, it still depends on local conditions. Keep focused. Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the advice. I put 1:1 syrup into the feeder this evening and plan to keep it supplied for the next few weeks. I am going to close the pollen trap as soon as the bees stop bearding at the entrance (otherwise I'd crush a bunch when I bring the gate down).

We broke our 2-3 week drought over the past few days, so I suspect there's going to be a lot more for the bees to forage over the next days since things are growing and turning green again.
 

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I left the feed on mine until they had drawn out the two deep brood boxes and had a couple of frames of capped honey then added an excluder, shims for an upper entrance and a medium super of foundation. I will put the feed back on when the surplus capped honey gets low.
 

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We broke our 2-3 week drought over the past few days, so I suspect there's going to be a lot more for the bees to forage over the next days since things are growing and turning green again.
And here lies the problem, the 2-3 week drought. During this time, the flowers are challenged. If the ground is dry, so are the plants. Being a beekeeper is not only getting them through the winter, it is also knowing when to feed and when to pull the feed pails.
When you want them to draw foundation, and you want them to grow, they need all the pollen they can acquire, aswell as extra pollen and syrup.

If you are in a rural area with alot of clover and such, you should expect a honey crop the first year.
If you are urban, depending on the flowers in the neighborhood, that expecation might be too high
 

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I had the same concerns as well, i installed a nuc at the end of may, and haven't seen any honey, so after reading a bit, i added a hivetop feeder (didnt want to use a boardman for fear of robbing) and i am just feeding them (1:1) until they dont need it, (i dont expect any surplus honey for year 1) i am also going foundationless, so they will need the syrup to help make beeswax. the drought has finally broke here in the NE it seems, and i am sure the girls will be very busy over the next few days!
PS- i went out this morning to do a quick visual check at the entrance after a day-long downpour, and wouldnt you know some girls were coming with pollen! i guess it was waterlogged pollen, but...pollen is pollen i guess...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
For the record, I put a half gallon of syrup in the feeder last night, and they pretty much had drank it all down by this evening. Added another half gallon tonight...

Everything turning green around here due to bunch of rain, and tomorrow's going to be sunny, so I think we'll be rocking once again.
 

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The summer flow is spotty. You kind of have to keep one eye on the bees and one on the blooms. My clover died right off due to the drought. I'm guessing that some of it will come back but the heavier fall flow is likely to be the next buildup.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Just did an inspection today, this time with an experienced beekeeper I mete through our local bee club helping me out. Since I started feeding syrup several days ago (and with nice weather), it's amazing to see how much progress they made-- they had drawn out at least 3 more frames, enough that I was able to add another medium super. I also broke the hive down and removed the pollen trap, which I'll hold out until next year. I'm going to keep feeding syrup at least until they get this next super drawn out.


 
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