I am posting on behalf of my mum who lives in France, she got her first hive in May, yesterday she started collecting her honey but only managed to collect 4 jars worth.
What she would like to know is if she has done anything wrong, what can she do the help production (if anything) there is no oil seed rape in her area she plant her garden completely with bee friendly plants plus there is a small orchard nearby or is it simple because it is a new hive?? Any help or advice would be much appreciated.
It takes time for a new hive to build up the stores of honey. Mum should never take all of the honey, she should only take the excess when the frames are at least 80% filled and capped otherwise if the nectar flow stops the bees could die from hunger.
Many bee keepers don’t get enough honey stored in the hive to extract it in the first year. Her aim should for now bee to care for the bees and let the colony grow strong and get to understand her bees and keep them healthy.
Welcome to the forum
Its common not to get a harvest in the first year of a hive. The bees use most of their resources to build up their strength. Your Mum did nothing wrong, it just takes time BUT I hope she left a good amount for the bees over winter.
Many thanks for the reply, mum just took the excess and left most of it for the bees, she planned on feeding them over the winter months.
She has closed the opening a little and would like to know when she should start feeding them please??
Thank so much for your help it is very much appreciated.
Thanks for the advice Rob, it’s much appreciated.
Mum need to look at the frames and begin feeding when the honey frames gets down to an estimate of two frames of honey, she could feed the bees back some honey or a 50/50% mix of white sugar and water and stirred till all the sugar is dissolved. I use a small nail to punch a few holes (5 or 6) into a glass screw jar lid then place an empty super box on the hive and turn the jar filled upside down and sitting on the top of the frames. A couple of jars will provide enough holes for the bees to feed from and she needs to refill as the jars empty.
After being nice on my first post I will say that you never plan to need to feed your bees. Feeding is a last resort and while it will keep your bees going its like you living on potatoes only. You should only ever take off excess honey, not what they need for winter.
Thank you for advice I will pass it on to my mum. She definitely only took the excess.
Any advice given is always appreciated.