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Lazy Bees? Bees a plenty but no Honey


#1

About 8 weeks ago I tapped the honey and it flowed probably got 3kg from 4 or the 6 modules. First ever harvest. Since there has been no Honey flow
I opened the hive and removed the 5 of plastic modules these were covered with bees but none of the cells had honey. The bees had a small nest in the roof space. There were plenty of bees in and around.
We are just South of Nannup WA and the weather has been fine.
There are plenty of flowering trees, but no honey!
I put a rod into the round hole at the bottom and it came out with a few drips of honey.
Any theories or suggestions?
AB


#2

Hi Alan, over the Winter here I was harvesting all 6 frames of my Flow hive every 5 weeks. Now come the Spring my Flow Hives have dropped off in honey production. There was heaps of flowers giving pollen and nectar over winter and that has continued into the Spring with different flora. I have put it down to a lower production of nectar on what is flowering now as the hives are still strong.
It is just one of those things with the Australian bush. Flows can come and go and my thinking it is more about the weather and rain fall than what is flowering at the moment.
Cheers


#3

Pete

Thx I will watch & wait

Rgds AB


#4

Hiya @Boyntz, generally you should get about 3kg per Fframe so if you are saying you got this amount from 4 Fframes then you probably harvested too early. We’re the frames inspected? Remember we are only extracting their surplus honey stores.
I was wondering also if there was a flow on, as like your area, plenty of trees are flowering now. But the bees are still building their colony and when the marri flowers they’ll be set provided they have stores to build. My first year I had no honey, now in my 3rd year, I have some colonys still not producing. Remember they require stores for potentially 3000 new bees per day!
Patience.


#5

I agree with this completely. Last year, I had 4 fully capped frames, and got around 3.2kg per frame from them. This year, I had 4 frames which were fully capped but only 30-50% full. I got about 1.3kg average from each frame. Plus there was a lot more wax and “other junk” when the frames were only partially capped, so I had to strain it to remove the unappealing-looking stringy bits. :blush:


#6

Skeggley

Thx for the advice, I had not tried to harvest over winter. Colony was started in Feb last year, after the first harvest 6 weeks ago I thought they were ready to deliver regularly – Seems not. Should not have given away so much of first harvest!

Rgds AB


#7

can you clarify how much honey you got per frame when you harvested?

Also- be aware: there can be plenty of bees- and plenty of flowers- but there may not be much nectar in those flowers. There are many factors which can affect a hives ability to store honey. The flowers may not have much nectar, the bees may not have enough foragers to collect what is there, there could be a disease slowing down the bees, the queen may not be good, etc.


#8

Jack

Thx for the advice – How can I check the queen? As a new bee keeper I am relaxed about pulling the hive to bits but would struggle to know a good queen from a bad one. There are plenty of bees in the hive, in fact it was packed and air traffic control had them banked up waiting to land.

Rgds AB


#9

you don’t necessarily need to check the queen herself- you need to get a feel for the hive overall. You need to be able to look at your brood frame and see if the queen is laying well- with large fields of brood/eggs/larvae. If the brood pattern is ‘spotty’ that’s an indication that the queen may be failing. But mostly you have to realise that there are a lot of factors that determine if the bees can store excess honey for you to harvest: there are periods in spring summer and autumn where they do not store much honey- these are called ‘dearths’ periods where there isn’t much in the local environment for hem to collect. You may see many flowering plants but that doesn’t automatically mean you will see lots of honey.


#10

Hi Alan, You don’t actually need to check the queen or even need to find her. What you are looking for is frames that are 90% with capped brood with the top corners of the frames containing some honey. Very few empty cells on the frame. New larvae and eggs(which are hard to see but assume a wet cell is likely to have an egg in it). All that present and you have a healthy queen that is laying well.
I prefer to mark my queens so they are easier to find so that when I am taking a frame of brood to weaken a hive I am sure that the queen remains and the frame of brood can be added to a weaker hive. From the weaker hive I will take an outer frame of honey and put that in the strong hive.
It is also an advantage when you do a split of a strong hive that you know which hive is going to be queen right so that the the hive without a queen gets an extra frame of eggs so that hive can produce a new queen.
I hope that explains about the queen and answers your question.
Regards


#11

Pete

Many thx I am new to this.

I only have one hive.

If the queen is weak is it best to remove her so the hive then creates a replacement?

Would be good to talk if you are happy will call if you text me on 0409 780 800

Thx AB