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Author Topic: Need an explanation. Or what did I do wrong?  (Read 865 times)
Irina
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Location: New Boston, NH


« on: August 22, 2011, 01:54:15 PM »

Hello everyone and I hope you will help me to puzzle this,
This is my third summer of Beekeeping and I have 4 hives now.

I did the inspection of all my hives yesterday (hopping to get some honey) and was very much disappointed.
- 3 hives have no honey at all, even in the brood boxes; they have brood, pollen, good activities, a lot of bees; healthy.
- 1 hive has total of 4 frames of honey, brood and pollen in the brood boxes. Good activity, plenty of bees.

My previous inspection before yesterday was on 7/17/2011.
All 4 hives were doing very well - a lot of honey (more than enough) in the brood boxes, brood, pollen; 2 hives started working on the honey supers. I was really happy to see that.

And... now all honey storage is gone? This is happened to me a second time - last year and this year.

Last year, I did not get any honey and I had to feed them. But, they were not that strong from the beginning of the season, and I thought maybe it was not a good season.
Two seasons on the row look like a pattern...Huh

I thought I was doing so well this year. Thank you to this forum, I was able even to do a split on my own this year and learned a lot from your posts.

Where did all honey (a lot of honey) go? What did I do wrong?

I am not thinking about myself; I am worrying about the bees. I have to feed them again…

Thank you for all your inputs.
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Irina, NB

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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2011, 02:02:54 PM »

some years are like that.  i expected 10 supers of honey and got one so far.  i thought we had a strong flow, but it was not enough for them and for me.  weather was the culprit here.  we have had about 2 weeks of summer.  to much rain and cold.

if they were raising a lot of brood, they will use more.  if the flow was not good or ended, they will use the stores.  it's not anything you did, it's just the way it goes.

one thing you can try is to make sure they are well fed in the spring.  you have to be a little careful because you don't want to get them honey bound, but if they are well fed from the start, they can store more for you and for winter.

be glad that you caught it and can feed them.  it's a sad thing to find a starved hive.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
Irina
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2011, 02:18:51 PM »

Thank you Kathyp,
I did not have to feed them in spring; they had plenty of storage left from the winter. Two hives had a swarm beginning of the season and I had 1 split. And they were still doing very well! They were able to store a lot of honey after all...
I cannot believe they eat all honey. What did they think?
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Irina, NB

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BjornBee
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2011, 02:34:26 PM »

Managing a hive for excess honey means also understanding the flow, brood timing, and other factors.

Your way past your main flow. So if you left on supers all summer, and perhaps allowed them to have an unlimited brood chamber, then of course they will eat back half (if not more) of what they stored. Do you have Italians that also seem to never shut down in a dearth? Your main flow was probably over by the end of June. While they may still have nectar coming in through July and Aug, it usually amounts to nothing in gaining stores.

Take your honey off by the end of June. Compress the bees back down to their wintering configuration. By doing so, they will stop brood production and many times be in a better position to harvest honey and yet allow the bees to not eat all their stores by raising brood all summer in times of little nectar flow.

This year, there was a nice long clover and nectar flow after the cold rainy spring.

Management of your bees is much more than putting on supers, leaving them on all summer, then expecting a huge surplus.

Collector your surplus in June and then putting back wet supers also stimulates the hive to keep collecting. As it is, your bees probably stopped collecting from any main flow weeks ago, but probably kept raising brood.

You have to remember that in nature, the bees will quickly fill the brood area in spring (And why they swarm), limiting the queen and having much less bees being raised all summer long. We as beekeepers usually never allow the bees to be effected by limited space (by constant supering), and the queen never shuts down. So what we do as management, not always gets us the results we want.

Understand what bees do in nature, what they are inclined to do, and understand your part.
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Irina
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2011, 03:34:44 PM »

Thank you BjornBee,

It explains a lot!

I realized that I did mistake in spring, not adding the supers at that time. I put the supers in July when they almost filled the brood boxes with honey. I did not know.

I have a question for my next season;
Do I put supers in May in my area?

Thanks
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Irina, NB

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stella
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« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2011, 04:45:34 PM »

Oh Bjornbee! That was so well said! I am saving that information for future reference. Thank you for taking the time to share.
 
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indypartridge
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2011, 06:57:07 AM »

I have a question for my next season;
Do I put supers in May in my area?
I don't look at the calendar. I add supers in the spring when I see the first dandelions bloom.
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kathyp
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2011, 10:05:00 AM »

it's really going to depend on the flow in your area.  i don't super with the first weak flow which is fruit trees and dandelions.  we are still in the middle of a lot of rain at that time and what they take they need for brood.  i super with the raspberries which will be mid to late may.  this year, the end of may.  that take me through the blackberry bloom to the end of june and i'm pretty much done.

this year everything was late, didn't bloom as well, and maybe the nectar was not such good quality.  the berries weren't very good.

point is, you have to be aware of what is in your area and when it's doing it's thing. 
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
ziffabeek
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2011, 12:48:24 PM »

The most important concept I was introduced to at Bud III was when Alan Buckley said to me that beekeeping was as much about learning about your environment, the plants, trees, weather, water, animals, everything around the hive, as it was about learning about the bees themselves.  The bees are so intertwined with their environment, that being aware of it informs how you work the bees.  It wasn't something I had considered with that much depth, but it is really true. 

love,
ziffa
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BoBn
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2011, 01:39:36 PM »

Hello everyone and I hope you will help me to puzzle this,
This is my third summer of Beekeeping and I have 4 hives now.

I did the inspection of all my hives yesterday (hopping to get some honey) and was very much disappointed.
- 3 hives have no honey at all, even in the brood boxes; they have brood, pollen, good activities, a lot of bees; healthy.
- 1 hive has total of 4 frames of honey, brood and pollen in the brood boxes. Good activity, plenty of bees.


What size & how many boxes are your hives now?

The fall flow is just starting.  Goldenrod, knotweed,and asters.  Last year was a washout for a spring flow, but in the fall flow each of my hives stored 2 mediums + of goldenrod honey for winter stores.  I did not have to feed for the past 2 years.

Our spring flow ends around the middle of July in this part of New Hampshire.  Dandelions and apples bloom in late May here.
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"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites."
--Thomas Jefferson
Irina
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Location: New Boston, NH


« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2011, 02:15:30 PM »

Hello everyone and I hope you will help me to puzzle this,
This is my third summer of Beekeeping and I have 4 hives now.

I did the inspection of all my hives yesterday (hopping to get some honey) and was very much disappointed.
- 3 hives have no honey at all, even in the brood boxes; they have brood, pollen, good activities, a lot of bees; healthy.
- 1 hive has total of 4 frames of honey, brood and pollen in the brood boxes. Good activity, plenty of bees.


What size & how many boxes are your hives now?

The fall flow is just starting.  Goldenrod, knotweed,and asters.  Last year was a washout for a spring flow, but in the fall flow each of my hives stored 2 mediums + of goldenrod honey for winter stores.  I did not have to feed for the past 2 years.

Our spring flow ends around the middle of July in this part of New Hampshire.  Dandelions and apples bloom in late May here.
All my hives now have 2 deeps and one super. I am planning to convert all hives to mediums next year.. I am going to remove the supers today or tomorrow, since nothing going on there, and almost nothing in the brood boxes. And, yes we have fields of goldenrod blooming 0.6 mile from us.
 Should I start feeding them now or just wait a little bit?
Thank you everyone for a great advices and explanations!
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Irina, NB

"Always learning"
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