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Bees not storing honey in summer


#1

Hi everyone,

I recently split a very strong hive and created a new nucleus hive (Langstroth not Flow) for a new beekeeper. It’s summer in Australia and the honey flow is amazing in my hives - but the new hive isn’t storing any honey at all. It’s been going for five months now and the bees have eaten all the stores I put into the nucleus but they haven’t replaced them.

There are about six frames with brood, one with pollen and three that haven’t been built on at all.

Does anyone know why the bees wouldn’t be storing honey when the nectar is abundant at the moment?

Thanks for any tips you can give.


#2

Any signs of robbing? I would decrease the nucleus hive entrance to make it easier to defend anyway (about 5cm wide), but if there is robbing, you may need to do something more active.


#3

Katherine,

I’m with Dawn … a colony of any size not having any store … something isn’t right n smells fishy like they are helping some other hive thus Robbing …

Like Dawn said … reduce the entrance way down so the girls can take care of business n guard their own opening adequately ! I had two colonies robbed out by yellow jackets this last early autumn. The hive die-out n no honey harvest what so ever. It’s a free hand out to another hive n they don’t have to work as hard going next door for honey n not foraging afield.

Good luck :four_leaf_clover:,

Gerald


#4

I think the bees just don’t have the foraging force needed to feed all that brood plus make a surplus.
“Amazing honey flow” Here where I am, that means I could harvest weekly. Is that what you’re saying or are you seeing flowers in bloom with bees working them? That doesn’t mean there is a “flow”.
You can equalize the hive a bit more and give it a frame of food from the parent hive.


#5

Ed (@Red_Hot_Chilipepper) has a really good point, actually. I don’t know how many nuclei/splits you have made in the past, but I always try to put in 1.5 frames of food (capped honey and pollen), 3 frames of mostly brood (with arcs of honey too) and 0.5 frames of empty drawn comb.

If you didn’t have about 30% food to 60% brood, the colony will be trying to climb a very steep slope to keep up with all of the hungry mouths, as most splits won’t make foragers in decent numbers for several weeks. A nucleus needs about half of a frame of food per week - hives need at least a full frame or more (if there is no flow and/or no foragers).

Hopefully that is the reason. Much easier to deal with than robbing. :blush:


#6

Thanks for the thoughtful responses. (BTW- Amazing honey flow for me is ten full frames of honey every three to four weeks.)

When I started the nucleus it had one full frame of capped honey, one frame pollen and honey, two frames brood with honey at edges, one sticky and one frame with new foundation. So they shouldn’t have been starving.

I’ve had a look at the laying pattern and I think it’s a dud queen and I’ll need to re-queen.


#7

I would be looking for robbing, I have a pretty good flow at present and strong hives are bringing in 10-20kg a week. I split a unproductive hive late Dec and had to give them another 5 frame box of foundation as after 10 days they had filled everything that was empty in the nuc and had been back filling as quick as the brood emerged.