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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We shook a new box of bees into a new hive the last weekend in May. I've checked on them periodically and in late June/early July we combined them with a swarm we'd captured.

Here it is the 10th of August and upon inspection yesterday I found that they've only drawn out 5 and 1/2 frames. What can cause them to be so slow about drawing out?

We are surrounded by cotton fields, bean fields and residential housing consisting of gardens and lots of ornamental trees.

At this point, I am actually worried they won't be drawn out enough and have stored enough honey by winter to survive.

Thoughts?
 

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Hi Heather,

Have you been feeding? A new colony won't have adequate foragers to take advantage of everything that is in bloom around you.

Of the 5 1/2 frames that have been drawn - how much brood is there? It is tough to say without knowing your local conditions but you might need a new queen.

Even with the added swarm it doesn't sound like the population is all that great.

If you haven't been feeding, start feeding 1:1 ASAP. Do not use a feeder that goes in the entrance (so called Boardman feeder) as that can encourage robbing. Instead use a division board or hive top feeder. (An old 1 gallon pickle jar with holes punched in the lid works great when inverted over the inner cover)

If you have been feeding, I'd get some local advice, and be prepared to replace the queen.
(And then feed)

Along about September switch over to 2:1 syrup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice!

We feed them for the first three to four weeks. They stopped taking the food though, so we thought that it was time to take it off. I guess that's where we went wrong.

They stopped taking it in, so I thought they were done. I'll mix a new set and get them started again.
 

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Sorry for your delima. From what I gather you have no other bees to draw frames of brood from when you requeen. Which is the only chance you have of making it thru winter. You should of requeened early July when you noticed they weren't doing well. If you can do what I've suggested then you must feed, feed, and feed more. It should be 2-1 this time of year in my opinion. That way they don't have as much moisture to remove, and can store it easier. Good luck!!!
 

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NC is in a dearth right now so you absolutely need to feed. Do bees take nectar from cotton? Is cotton making nectar right now? I don't think so.

I would feed 1:1 until September. Sounds like the bees need to draw more frames so they will have room for fall honey/sugar syrup storage. If you have a good laying pattern, you can still make it, although you may have to feed through the winter.
 

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The cotton here is making nectar for sure. i have about 3 supers so far and even my smallest colony and youngest is up to 3 meds and I picked them up in May. I would feed and I am doing the same on a colony i just requeened not too long ago....
 
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