Not producing honey?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Mountaineer, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    My two second year hives are loaded with bees, and we are in the middle of the fireweed flow. There is a HUGE amount of fireweed around here, plus the clover is still blooming- some goldenrod, among others.
    My hives are empty! I have two supers on 'just in case'. There was about 2 nearly full frames in each, but that's it from the entire summer. They were started frames at that, just to get them up in the supers.
    They are drawing the foundation out VERY slowly.
    The bees are incredibly active flying somewhere, but I want some honey deng it!
    I'm not sure what I'm missing. I got this much from them as nucs last year alone. And that was with about 3 swarms each! At this rate there will be a little more honey coming in, but basically nothing compared to what you would expect after such a huge investment of time and money, and such a seemingly good flow.
    Any ideas?
    BTW they were treated for mites last fall and this spring- and have no other obvious diseases. Brood/numbers are high- good queens.
    Thanks!
     
  2. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Mite treatment was preventative.... if that matters. They weren't weakened hives.
     

  3. valicia

    valicia Active Member

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    give then a little more time.on a good flow i have had the bees fill 2 supers
    in a week.im not sure where you are but if it has been very hot that might affect them. hope this helps
     
  4. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I will try to be more patient. It was hot, cool, now hot again. But we don't get serious heat. And.... I was horseback riding through fields of fireweed and my bees were all over it! Jeez do I ever want some honey...
    In September the dearth hits and we have nothing until the willows next April. Short but full/plentiful season.
     
  5. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What is blooming is not always what they collect from. You said hot and dry. That might be the trouble with them. Good luck.
     
  6. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    I'm actually in fairly moist soiled-mountainous area. So everything is always lush till it freezes. We can't really have a drought.
    I think there is actually a problem.
    2 supers in a week? I'm lucky to get a frame in a month, while clover etc is in full bloom. And this is serious acreage of clover- 25 x 25 miles of clover, weeds, fireweed.
     
  7. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    do you have a feeder on them? i think i read somewhere that if you feed them a sugar mix they will eat that and use what they collect to make honey rather than eating what they collect right away,
    besides that, if they dont build up stores SOME way they wont last the winter anyway, so if your not feeding them a sugar mix you might try that
     
  8. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    Slow drawing out the cells in the honey supers!!!!!!
    I had honey supers on with new foundation last year. Bees were not doing any thing with it but packed it into the top brood chamber. I talked to every bee keeper at our monthly meeting and every one was getting nearly full supers. A bee keeper with 40 years experince said to me. Young fellow (HA!) just split the brood chamber and set tham honey supers between then for a week to 10 days. And get rid of those queen excluders too while your at it. Took a week to get the foundation drawn out. Had the queens lay in to honey supers out of 15. I then placed the queen excluders so she couldn't continue to lay there and when that brood hatched the girls filled the cells full of honey.

    :D Al
     
  9. Vere My Sone

    Vere My Sone Well-Known Member

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    I'm not familiar with fireweed
    Are you sure it is nectar producing and not just pollen?
     
  10. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the tricks!
    Yes fireweed is actually one of the best nectar sources. Probably THE best here. It's an alpine/sub alpine plant also found in lowlands in places. It's FULL of nectar. I tasted a bit of the fireweed honey today and it's very nice. It can be bought as a specialty honey.
     
  11. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

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    Al, thanks for the 'trick' with the honey super. I'm in the same predicament. Two hive bodies packed to the gills but an empty super with new foundation that's been on for 3 weeks and they haven't even attempt to draw foundation in yet. Sorry...not meaning to hijack the thread...just wanted to pass on a big thank you to Al for sharing what he's learned. Might get some honey this year after all!
     
  12. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

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    Happy to have helped, Thank Billie Miller next time Ya are passing the thanks to the great spirit. I was just passing on what he taught me.
    :D Al
     
  13. rwjedi

    rwjedi Member

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    if you want honey. the bees will not differenciate between the nectar and the sugar water. You will have a mixture of adulterated honey that isn't fit to sell or eat even. If you have a good flow on, there is no need to feed, they will probably ignore it. Try the tricks the others told you and see if you have any luck.