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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys. I haven't been on the forum in a few months. My summers sure are busy......

I finally pulled off my honey today. At last count, in late June, I had 7 supers full of capped honey, on 3 hives. Those 3 hives have double deeps as brood chambers, although I don't use a queen excluder. When I tried pulling my supers today, all I had left was 15 full frames and 4 more frames that were half full. Talk about a shocker....... I was expecting 15 gallons of honey and wound up with 4. I guess the old saying about counting chickens before they hatch, works for counting quarts of honey before it's extracted.....

But, my bees sure are doing good. LOL Their populations are huge. No wonder, since they've had plenty to eat since June. One hive had brood in both deeps and up in the first super.

Question: I'm running double deeps. When the honey flow started, the top deep wasn't being used as a brood box, it was full of honey. If I pull all the supers off the double deeps next summer, will the queen just ramp down egg laying to match the food supply or will it cause problems to short them on feed like that? If I continue to run double deeps next year, do I need to leave them a super also, for the dearth, or will they take care of themselves on limited stores? I do not want to feed unless I have to, but if I have to feed so I can have honey, I guess I will do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I'll shorten this down and see if I can get a response...

The bees cleaned the honey out of most of the supers that they put up this spring during the flow. The flow stopped here around mid June.

I'm running double deeps. When the honey flow started, they stopped using the top deep as a brood box, and packed it full of honey. If I pull all the supers off the double deeps next summer, will the queen just ramp down egg laying to match the food supply or will it cause problems to short them on feed like that? If I continue to run double deeps next year, do I need to leave them a super also, for the dearth, or will they take care of themselves on limited stores? I do not want to feed unless I have to, but if I have to feed so I can have honey, I guess I will do so.
 

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hi brad,

can't comment since i've no experience with double deeps. i'm curious though about the movement of the broodnest up like that during the summer as i haven't seen that. did you take a peek to see what's going on in the bottom deeps? i wonder if they are plugged out with pollen?

it was a weird season this year. winter drug on for an extra month causing some of the early blooms and the brood build up to be delayed. i had 5 - 6 mediums stacked on my production hives going into main flow, but the late start caused a lot of the frames to not quite get capped. i was able to pull a few supers in early july, but i'm just now starting to harvest the bulk of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I didn't look in the bottom deeps yesterday but at the end of the flow they weren't packed with pollen. I had a few frames that had quite a few open cells on them but I could not shake out any nectar/honey so I went ahead and extracted them. I had read that if the nectar/honey couldn't be shaken out that it was dehydrated enough that it wouldn't cause fermentation.

Have you noticed any missing honey in your supers compared to what you saw 6 weeks ago?
 

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a few open cells with thickened contents will pose no problems at all. we can get a reading on my refractometer if you're curious and happen to be in my neighborhood.

actually i don't think we've had too many 'dearthy' days up here this summer. i've seen decent foraging on most days except a few when it was so hot and humid that the bees had to beard up outside to cool the hive.

there seemed to be enough coming in over the summer so no stores were used, and a little fresh nectar could be found being stored here and there, but capping didn't resume until about 1 - 2 weeks ago. i haven't been deep into mine since spring, so i'm not sure how much if any brood breaking took place.

i'm wondering if your bees have decided to overwinter in your upper deeps. walt talks about that happening sometimes. maybe he will chime in, he was giving presentations at the symposium this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
We've definitely had a dearth here. I've had wads of bearding going on, and also saw my first "washboarding." Given your location, I would guess you have a decent amount of Sourwood pretty close by. We have very little. We also have very little Sumac.
 

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i was kind of surprised not to see more of a foraging lull like we usually have here between spring and fall. i chalked it up to the regular rains but that would be the same for your location. i wish i knew what it is they have been getting into, makes me want to get a microscope and learn how to identify pollen. i spoke to walt briefly earlier this evening, and i asked him to take a look at your thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, we had plenty of rain in June through the first half of July. The grass is turning brown now, but the bees didn't eat all that honey in a couple weeks. I saw a little pollen being brought in during the last week of June but haven't seen any since. They should get cranked up now on the Goldenrod.
 

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that's amazing brad, considering that we are on the same mountaintop. in previous summers, i have noticed some stores used, but not as much as what you saw this year. but then i've never had such large colonies as what you ended up with. i can see how stores could get depleted in a long dearth with that many mouths to feed.
 

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I have 4 hives with double deeps and in June without supers ( first year hives) top boxes had 5 frames of honey and a couple in bottom box. Then by August a lot of the honey was consumed. Maybe that's why people in my area use 1 deep and 1 medium then super. A lot of bees can make a lot of honey and consume a lot of honey. Maybe build them early to double deeps then after flow extract honey then split them. Feed them to build up stores.
 

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Around here if you don't pull honey by the 4th of July, the bees turn it into more bees. If you do pull it, they will shut down brood rearing until the fall flow starts. A queen excluder does nothing for this issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Get an excluder and learn to use it properly. Problem gone.
Thanks for the response but if you don't include instructions on what you consider the proper use of a queen excluder then it's not really advice.

I have one hive where the queen has moved up into the bottom super. The other hives had no upward movement of the queen, but the honey in those had been eaten and/or fed to the larvae. So what effect will a queen excluder have on that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Around here if you don't pull honey by the 4th of July, the bees turn it into more bees. If you do pull it, they will shut down brood rearing until the fall flow starts. A queen excluder does nothing for this issue.
That's what happened here, and I wasn't expecting it. I have bee numbers now that rival what I had in May. Hives are packed with bees. If I had drawn comb, I would split some hives. I have THAT many bees per hive.
 

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Thanks for the response but if you don't include instructions on what you consider the proper use of a queen excluder then it's not really advice.
That depends on your philosophy. Does it really help to deliver all the instructions over and over again - or is it more sustainable to get people searching by themselves for the answers? If you search for excluder and my name you already would get some instructions I posted just recently. Together with other people's posting useful hints, too.

Don't give fish to the people, teach them fishing. (Or so...)
 
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