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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have supers on my 1st year package hives(2). I stopped feeding them a month ago when I added the supers. With the drought we are having and the slowing of blossoms in my area I'm wondering if anyone is feeding their bees at this time? I've heard that the bees won't store 2 parts water to 1 part sugar but it will help them draw comb. Anyone have success with this? Any other ideas?
 

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We have been feeding our two hives in east San Diego County since May. We use the 3 to 5 ratio and they do store it. They have been working the peppertree, sumac and buckwheat, as well as whatever they can find at neighbors. I didn't bother with supers on them this year. Our hives closer to the coast are doing much better. Yes it will incourage them to draw comb.
 

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On the coast, the bees are still making enough honey to keep the hives growing without syrup.
Toyon is in full, summer Ceanothus is opening, Mustard is still strong. Buckwheat is just getting started.
We have some midsummer Asteraceae (Senecio, Ericameria, and the like) that hasn't opened yet. The sage and Horkelia are winding down. Poison Oak was a bust this year, and Coffeeberry had a diffuse stretched out bloom.
Small hives need supplementation.
Anywhere off the coast that was counting on star thistle or vinegar weed is not good.
 

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Don't forget ******** was crap this year (at least in my region) Thank god for commercial Raspberries, Blackberries, blueberries and Costco


On the coast, the bees are still making enough honey to keep the hives growing without syrup.
Toyon is in full, summer Ceanothus is opening, Mustard is still strong. Buckwheat is just getting started.
We have some midsummer Asteraceae (Senecio, Ericameria, and the like) that hasn't opened yet. The sage and Horkelia are winding down. Poison Oak was a bust this year, and Coffeeberry had a diffuse stretched out bloom.
Small hives need supplementation.
Anywhere off the coast that was counting on star thistle or vinegar weed is not good.
 

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Thank god for Costco

What kind of flower is that? A bush? A tree? What kind of honey does it produce? If I might venture a guess........If you are referring to the company and its left leaning founders jab at making the news headlines (book banning) the past dew days I would guess it would be a flower that produces nectar that induces the "worker bees" to go on a robbing spree instead of hunt their own flowers. Since the topic is the promotion and care of "Welfare bees" I suppose your right on course when including Costco.


As per feeding in the current conditions? Any hive that is making its own wages right now is all right by me. The bigger ones seem to be dragging enough in to keep the robbing at bay currently. The small ones ( late splits ) need more love. (Syrup)

Anyone one who came out of this past winter with any premonition that they were going to make a crop this year, in these conditions. needs to have a major head check. Having them slop on the end of the hose is all I have excepted since the month of MAY arrived.

As per syrup ratios. If you can keep the fermentation at bay my guess is the bees would have a hard time keeping a stiff proboscis out of even something as low as a 10% C6 H12 O6 solution right now in most Nor-Cal Range land locations. Feed what you can. Toss the supers!!!!!! Keep 'em healthy.
 

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I'm in the north bay suburbs. My hive started as a package this year. I stopped feeding after they fillled 2 deeps. They've now filled 2 supers that I'll be extracting this weekend, and I expect to extract a second time in 2 weeks after I come back from vacation. According to my math I'm expecting ~80lbs of honey from a first year hive.

Guess the drought and weather aren't affecting us too bad up here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
wow 707 your hive is on steroids compared to mine. I started my first 2 packages in April and 1 hive is still drawing comb on its 1st super. My other hive is stronger and I just added a second super. I am also in a suburban area with open space similar to yours. Do you know what they were foraging on to get those results?
 

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No idea. There's a creek nearby and a few flowering trees that I see them on but nothing especially stands out to me

While on syrup they built up the first 2 deeps pretty quick. When I took off the syrup and added the supers they slowed down but they seem to have consistently drawn wax and produced honey. I'd say it's taken them 1.5 months to draw the comb and fill the 2 supers.
 

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Careful 707, I'm in Novato and although my bees are working on their 2nd super I won't extract until I am well certain they have enough for winter. It has taken too long to build these up (IMHO). Of course I don't feed my bees unless I need too and I try to leave them with enough honey to get themselves thru winter. But things are dry; the blooms are dying out and even these 3 strong hives are not putting it away like they should. Don't leave them short unless you want to feed. Don't count on Aug / Sept restoring your winter stores.... local gardens seem to be what are feeding my bees.
 

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Do you leave your supers on over winter to feed the bees? After the second harvest I planned on pulling the supers and trying to thin down the population to two deep boxes which I hoped they would have enough honey in.

As a first year beek I know I'm doing this a little aggressively but I think they can handle it. My only concern is I have no idea how I should winter these hives in our climate.
 

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I leave enough honey on each hive to feed them through the winter and usually have to check in the early spring to make sure they still have enough.
Bees thin their own population down in preparation for the winter.. we do not have to do it for them.
They 'cluster' in the winter to keep warm and the honey stores need to be close enough to the cluster to be usable.. not easy to do with sugar/water. Too far away; too cold and they will still starve.
The cluster also moves up and down in the hive over time; gets bigger and smaller, comb is used for brood, then honey.. always dynamic, changing, growing and shrinking. We cannot control this and better to let the bees take care of it. Don't assume both deeps are full of bees...

I know it is fun and tempting to harvest now.... last year was fantastic; year before even better...this year be conservative! Take the opportunity to learn about it too...lots of resources in your area. Sonoma beekeepers are up there. Bee Kind has classes, they have the yearly Bee symposium in Sebastipol, even Santa Rosa Jr. College has bee courses. Marin Beekeepers have classes... Dave Peterson has classes. Let me know if you need specifics.

I figure it is better to leave the honey until the fall then risk taking it now and having to feed it back to them. Especially if you are going to do crush and strain which means it takes so much more resources for them to build new comb..... I already know of newbies who have taken the spring honey and I expect they are in for a shock in the fall when they find it has not been replaced. I wish I were wrong but why risk it? I am also noticing a lot of dark honey at the farmer's markets and when I question them it is from last winter. No one is harvesting.... the signs are there.. we are going into a dearth quickly here. We need rain this winter...

Good luck to you.
 
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