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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This may be a stupid question, but if the bees are coming in with pollen, does this mean nectar is also available to them?

Also, what percentage of bees should be coming in with pollen? Is there a "normal" percentage?

One of my hives has about 50/60 bees flying aroound the hive entrance at any one time, coming and going. Too busy to see who has pollen, moving too much.
Another hive has few bees coming and going but about 60% coming in have pollen.
Third hive has a bunch of bees at the entrance acting like they are "tasting the wood" and sweeping it with their front legs. About 10-15% of the incoming bees to this hive have pollen.

Thanks much, can you tell I sat by the hives today?:D
 

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1."...bees are coming in with pollen, does this mean nectar is also..."
nope. nectar and pollen production are two different plant functions.
2."...Is there a "normal" percentage?"
nope, depends on the bees, and their genetics,even side by side.
3."...sweeping it with their front legs..."
its called "washboarding"
good luck,mike
 

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Thanks Mike, and why do they washboard?
there is no concensus but many believe there are too many "nurse bees" at the time with not enough brood to tend to so they switch to "housekeeping"-cleaning and polishing the hive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
1."...bees are coming in with pollen, does this mean nectar is also..."
nope. nectar and pollen production are two different plant functions.
2."...Is there a "normal" percentage?"
nope, depends on the bees, and their genetics,even side by side.
3."...sweeping it with their front legs..."
its called "washboarding"
good luck,mike
I have another question on this. I can see them bringing in pollen, but how will I know they are getting enough necter?
 

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by inspecting. its difficult to tell if a bee is bringing in nectar, but the fly like they're drunk and often crash into or on the hive/landing board. the surest way is to just look, because you want them to bring in more than they need to have stores in the brood nest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Mike, thanks for being so patient with me, neither of my two bee books are giving me this info. What exactly would I look for in regards to nectar? Capped honey? Is that an assurance of nectar?

I dumped some dry sugar in the bottom of each hive after installing the packages, as I was not confident in the pollen/nectar situation.

Now that I've seen them coming in with pollen, it's the nectar I'm worrying about. But I thought I read that they will cap "honey" made from sugar, and that it's not really honey...would there be a difference in color?
Am I worrying too much?
 

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If you see a good bit of uncapped honey - nectar - that's good. If the nectar flow gets too low they will consume more than is coming in and soon you will see less open nectar stores - or none.
 

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1.'...What exactly would I look for ..."
comb filled with a clear liquid, or capped comb with whitish caps.
2."... Capped honey? Is that an assurance of nectar?
when nectar has been dehydrated enough, its capped and called honey.
3."..dumped some dry sugar in the bottom of each hive ..."
likely hauled out as trash. they dont recognize it dry.
4."...they will cap "honey" made from sugar, ... not really honey...a difference in color?"
yes, they will cap "honey" made from sugar syrup. its not really honey- it tastes like...sugar. there is no difference in color as honey color depends on the source, with one grade being "water white". the difference is the taste.
5."...Am I worrying too much?
no, your inspecting too little.suit up, wear gloves, and dig in. join the local bee club, and get someone to help you do an inspection, or help someone inspect theirs. my abilities to describe beekeeping fall way short of what you'll learn from hands on.
good luck,mike
 

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"...thanks for being so patient with me..."
no, thank you for making ME a better beekeeper. describing the steps makes me think about the basics and the root reasons behind beekeeping practices, things that get lost when you've done it for decades. i'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Barry for beesource, and the diversion it gives me as i recuperate from my third round of cancer. glad to be here, and glad to try to help.
good luck,mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
1.'...What exactly would I look for ..."
comb filled with a clear liquid, or capped comb with whitish caps.
2."... Capped honey? Is that an assurance of nectar?
when nectar has been dehydrated enough, its capped and called honey.
3."..dumped some dry sugar in the bottom of each hive ..."
likely hauled out as trash. they dont recognize it dry.
4."...they will cap "honey" made from sugar, ... not really honey...a difference in color?"
yes, they will cap "honey" made from sugar syrup. its not really honey- it tastes like...sugar. there is no difference in color as honey color depends on the source, with one grade being "water white". the difference is the taste.
5."...Am I worrying too much?
no, your inspecting too little.suit up, wear gloves, and dig in. join the local bee club, and get someone to help you do an inspection, or help someone inspect theirs. my abilities to describe beekeeping fall way short of what you'll learn from hands on.
good luck,mike
ok, I've seen comb with clear liquid, and with honey colored liquid, and some capped.

I dumped the dry sugar in during install( It was less than 4 pounds for 3 hives), then lightly sprayed it with water a la Michael Bush, it looks like they've been using it...there is less there now, but it is not all gone.

I took a knife out there today, and cut loose one of the "interior combs" (3rd bar that had comb from the back ) - in this hive, they started the comb up close to a side wall, so I needed to cut the connection to the wall.

Whoa, that stirred them up some! I saw eggs, never more than one per cell, larva, and some capped brood cells, with open cells of pollen and some capped and uncapped honey (HOPE it's honey).
Stopped looking since I was in shorts, sandles, t sirt, and no gloves or veil, lol.
Got stung on cheekbone, so decided I need to wait until my smoker and veil get here, and dress better for really exploring.
They had ignored my just removing the end combs, but I see how much different it is to get in past there...

One good thing, all the comb I've seen is straight as a pin hanging from the triangular top bars.

Mike, there are no bee clubs out here, no beeks that I could find either...my learning is gonna have to be online and from the books, although online seems by far the best, thanks to guys like you, and Dave...:D
 

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1."... that stirred them up some..."
triggered their defences to cut into comb.
2."...Stopped looking since I was in ..."
please dont do this again. every year i buy equipment from beekeepers who got used to "docile", "tame as kittens" bees that "ignore me". and one day crack the lid and get stung 25 times-in the face, before they can get away. be prepared, because when they're hot, its too late.
good luck,mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
1."... that stirred them up some..."
triggered their defences to cut into comb.
2."...Stopped looking since I was in ..."
please dont do this again. every year i buy equipment from beekeepers who got used to "docile", "tame as kittens" bees that "ignore me". and one day crack the lid and get stung 25 times-in the face, before they can get away. be prepared, because when they're hot, its too late.
good luck,mike
Yes Mike, I could TOTALLY see the difference in the way they acted, and once was enough, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
"...thanks for being so patient with me..."
no, thank you for making ME a better beekeeper. describing the steps makes me think about the basics and the root reasons behind beekeeping practices, things that get lost when you've done it for decades. i'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Barry for beesource, and the diversion it gives me as i recuperate from my third round of cancer. glad to be here, and glad to try to help.
good luck,mike
Mike, I missed this post before, and just want to say GOOD LUCK with your fight, I'll pray for you!
 

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"...thanks for being so patient with me..."
no, thank you for making ME a better beekeeper. describing the steps makes me think about the basics and the root reasons behind beekeeping practices, things that get lost when you've done it for decades. i'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Barry for beesource, and the diversion it gives me as i recuperate from my third round of cancer. glad to be here, and glad to try to help.
good luck,mike
So glad to have you available. I will pray for you! God bless you... -Lori
 
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