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Author Topic: No honey this year? What would you do?  (Read 1286 times)
Nyleve
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« on: September 17, 2013, 09:31:30 AM »

This is my third year beekeeping with one hive. First season I was able to harvest one super and last year I got two full supers from this single hive. The girls came through the winter just fine and it looked like they would have a good season again. But here we are, mid September and they haven't filled even a single super. There seem to be plenty of bees, and every time I check the hive there's lots of activity in the honey super but it still is only about half capped and I'm reluctant to take any of it at all. But then what do I do? It's time to start treating for mites etc. and there's a half-full super that I don't know what to do with. I'm in central ontario, and have heard similar stories from a couple of others in my area - plenty of bees but no honey. What's up? And what would you do at this point? Not everyone is in this pickle, so it's not exactly a regional situation.
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10framer
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2013, 10:28:22 AM »

i'd leave it and skip the mite treatment. 
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Moots
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2013, 11:03:04 AM »

i'd leave it and skip the mite treatment. 

Same here!  Smiley

Good Luck!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2013, 11:29:42 AM »

The two questions are how many bees and how heavy is the hive.  They need stores to get through winter...
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kathyp
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2013, 11:55:10 AM »

and do they need mite treatment.  you can leave it and treat also.  just remember that you did that so that you don't eat the honey next year if it's left.

i'm thinking you are asking if you should harvest that super even though it's only 1/2 full?  in that case, i'd 1st check to see what they have enough food below?  how big do you want them to be going into winter?  then make the call on taking or leaving the super.  then make the call on treatment.
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edward
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2013, 02:15:54 PM »

Make sure they have enough stores for the Winter and Treat for mites, so your hive will bee strong next year.

Some hives don't build up honey stores, maybe time to re queen.

Most likely they will have eaten up this years stores under next year build up


mvh Edward  tongue
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Nyleve
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 09:59:21 AM »

I will call a friend who is more experienced than I am and have him help me figure out whether the bees have enough stores for winter. I can't figure out why this season has gone so differently - it was a nice-ish summer and the hive is in a field of wild flowers, not near farm fields where there might be pesticide use.

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edward
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 03:57:14 PM »

Have they swarmed?
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Nyleve
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2013, 09:07:08 PM »

My guess is that they swarmed sometime in June or early July and I didn't notice it. So they have spent the summer building the colony back up and just haven't been able to make honey. The only thing is that I'm pretty sure they swarmed last summer too and even so I got a bazillion tons of honey last year. Ah well, never mind. It's just another one of the mysteries of beekeeping.
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tjc1
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2013, 09:45:49 PM »

I left a mostly full super on over last winter - they couldn't have done without it. They seem to have gotten used to living in a deep and a super.... beeks here have helped me realize that this is not a problem. I got a little honey but have left a mostly full super on again and am feeding to get them up to target weight. I also treated for mites with the MAQS formic acid - the good thing about this is that you can leave the honey on during and it does nothing to the honey, which is safe to harvest and eat afterwards.
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edward
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2013, 02:35:22 AM »

I also treated for mites with the MAQS formic acid - the good thing about this is that you can leave the honey on during and it does nothing to the honey, which is safe to harvest and eat afterwards.

The honey is safe to eat, but it will have a measurable change in taste and amount of formic acid.

It is preferable to harvest honey Before treatment of the hive.

they swarmed sometime in June or early July and I didn't notice it. So they have spent the summer building the colony back up and just haven't been able to make honey. The only thing is that I'm pretty sure they swarmed last summer too and even so I got a bazillion tons of honey last year.

Why did they swarm this year? Why did they swarm the year beefore?

mvh Edward  tongue
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Parksguyy
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2013, 12:09:36 PM »

Hi Nylene,
I'm near Ottawa and had a similar experience this past summer.  We have 4 hives, this being our second summer ... they all came out of the winter in pretty good shape, one was alittle weaker than the others.  Earlier in the summer I was questioning Hive #3 ... seemed to have lots of bees, but lots of empty comb and not alot going on?  I though maybe I lost the Queen, I was doing alot of inspections trying to figure out things.  Then later this summer, we did have a swarm ... it didn't hang around very long (maybe an hour), so we missed it.  Don't know for sure from which hive either, but it appeared that Hive #2 was acting similar to Hive #3.  We had supers on all the hives, but only two actually produced honey.  We ended up with about 120lbs of honey in total.  Talking to other beeks, apparently there was alot of swarming this summer once the weather dried up and got nice.  We also had some supers with some uncapped honey as well and decided to leave it on, only to find that the bees took it for themselves in little over two weeks ... which was fine by us.  I've been hearing also, that it wasn't the best year for honey production either ... cool wet spring hung on, then very hot humid weather for the remaining summer, and now alittle cooler than normal. 
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Glen H
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2013, 08:54:19 PM »

Hi,
I'm just north of Toronto in Bolton.
 Started with two hive in June of this year one hive swarmed and now have three.
The hive that did not swarm has one deep and five mediums on it. one medium is half drawn out and they are working on filling it. The rest of the mediums are full. The parent swarm hive has one deep and four mediums with on medium half filled. The rest of the mediums are full.
The hive that I captured has one deep and two mediums one medium and deep full. The second one half full.

What is you hive configuration? how many boxes?
Where about are you in Ontario?


Glen
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T Beek
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« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2013, 06:29:58 AM »

i'd leave it and skip the mite treatment. 

Same here!  Smiley

Good Luck!

 applause applause   We had a less than desirable honey season this year.  Too dry, too hot, too wet at the wrong times........all contributing to less than adequate flows throughout the summer.  We left the majority of honey for our bees.

Are you feeding your bees?  Sounds like they will/do need it.
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Nyleve
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« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2013, 01:00:29 PM »

I'm near Peterborough, Ontario. My hive is 3 deeps - two brood boxes, then a queen excluder and a third deep on top of that. This configuration has worked very well for the past two seasons - in fact I've always put a 4th deep on top of everything in late summer since they were filling the honey super so quickly. This year is very different. Put the honey super on in late June and it has been there ever since. They seem to be working on it, but never quite getting much put away. They may be bringing the honey down below - I will be checking the hive later today with my more experienced friend if the weather is ok.

I have no idea why the hive swarmed last year and this year. I'm really not experienced enough to try to catch a swarm so I figure they've gone off to make more wild bee colonies - which is not a bad thing anyway.

I know I can't go into winter with 3 deeps so I'll need to figure this out before too long.
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Glen H
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2013, 01:06:45 PM »

Just wondering, what makes you believe you cant go into winter with three deeps? Or do you mean three deep but the top one only half full?
I'm doing it with three hive that will have one deep and two mediums when they go into winter.
Hives will weight 150-160 lbs. each.


Glen
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Nyleve
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2013, 04:06:57 PM »

Well it seems that everyone says 3 deeps is too much space for the bees to try to keep warm during our cold winter. I've always left them with 2 deeps, plus a third empty one on top that I fill with old pillows for insulation. Then I wrap the whole mess up. But they're only inhabiting the two lower boxes. So far that's worked for me.
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Glen H
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2013, 05:22:03 PM »

Well it seems that everyone says 3 deeps is too much space for the bees to try to keep warm during our cold winter. I've always left them with 2 deeps, plus a third empty one on top that I fill with old pillows for insulation. Then I wrap the whole mess up. But they're only inhabiting the two lower boxes. So far that's worked for me.

OK got ya, I thought you were thinking that three deeps wouldn't be enough.

Two is good, but people do winter bees here in three deeps too, as long as they are full. A supplier/beekeeper in Orillia does the three deeps for winter.
I'm planning on leaving my boxes on until the Goldenrod and Aster flow is over before removing my partially filled boxes. They are still going like mad bringing in pollen and nectar and drawing out comb still.
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Nyleve
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« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2013, 01:04:29 PM »

Ok so there's good news and bad news. My friend came over and felt that my hive is too light, so they probably don't have enough stores to make it through the winter. That's the bad news. He suggested that I pull off my honey super - even though its only partially filled - and extract what honey there is. That's the good news. Then he said I should start feeding immediately, supplemented with pollen patties, which I will get. Also start my treatments, which i will do. Anyway, it seems that quite a few bee keepers in this have had the same kind of season so it doesn't appear to be anything I've done wrong. Ah well - it's just one of those things, isn't it?
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T Beek
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« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2013, 05:48:03 AM »

If they are light then FEED!

If they were mine I'd simply dig to the bottom of your 3 deeps removing any and all empty frames until you have 2 deeps full of bees, pollen and honey. 

ALL HONEY stays in the hive with your bees, placing the majority above and around the broodnest which you've already made certain was on the bottom (Honeybees move up as they feed and move down as they grow...generally).  It really is as simple as that.

The practice of "taking all the bees honey and replacing it with sugar" is abhorant IMO.
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"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."
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