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No honey from an established coloney

Hi Everyone - I am asking on behalf of a friend (seriously) as I am interested in the answer too, and she doesn’t spend time on the internet. She has 4 hives and this season did not get more than 3 frames half filled on the supers. Last season she had a huge harvest. Any ideas why this year, there is just no honey in her supers? Thanks!

I believe France is currently suffering from a drought and a hotter, dryer summer this year?

That will affect nectar availability for the bees.

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I agree with Stevo, a drought has a very dramatic effect on nectar being produced in flowers. Last Summer in my area the flowers where still blossoming but the bees were starving so I had to feed them. The flowers were so dry of nectar the bees ignored them.

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Oh - thanks. Yes, very bad drought here and very hot at the moment.

Thanks, I didn’t realise that the drought & hot weather would have such a bad effect. Interesting.

And yet my two hives produced loads of honey - (I’m about 15km away from her). My first year of getting honey - it was so exciting. :slight_smile: :honeybee:

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There is micro climates in a general area of similar climate. For one reason or another an area can have a different climate to somewhere not that far away. About 5 klms away there is a single mountain in other wise flat country, I have seen storm clouds blowing towards it then hit the mountain and deflect off in a different direction.
Last Summer Jeff whose apiary is about 15 klms from mine was producing good quantities of honey, he is on the other side of the mountain, he was getting rain and I didn’t even get a shower for almost a year. I had to feed my hives to keep them going. Amazing how just one mountain about 6 klms around its base and no more than 400 meters high can cause a big change in rainfall. Have you ever seen a storm with pouring rain pass you by off to the side? That is a micro climate if you have it regularly. I wish my apiary was on the other side of the mountain where they a lot more rain. :wink:

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That’s true - I have noticed different weather and rainfall close to us, but passed us by, and when we have had rain, other areas close by got nothing.

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Hi khp,

There are many things that could have in impact to the honey produced by a colony.

Climate is one (which we can not control or do anything about it)
Disease or issues with the colonies is another.
Swarmed hive would have not the full foraging force, so this can cause an in impact.

I have 7 FlowHives and the production of honey has varied this year and I think I have identified the issues with 5 of my colonies, two of which I requeen and immediately saw an improved honey collection.

Here are the results of my harvest
Amba = 37.6kgs
Radha = 32.7kgs (Also has a second brood box full of honey)
Kali = 17.7kgs (Daughter to Amba, I replaced Laxmi due as they had two queen and was creating an issue, so split that to two Nuc colonies. This colony also has a 2nd brood box full of honey)
Ganga = 11.4kgs (3 frame Nuc daughter to Amba, has potential for next year)
Jansi = 10.6kgs (Colony does not show good genetics will need requeening next year)
Subhadra = 10.1kgs (2018 Queen is slowing down, I think the colony has replaced the queen and will see how the new queen will perform)
Kunti = 14.8kgs (This was new queen and colony had issue earlier)
Laxmi = 0.9kgs (We replaced the colony with Kali and have broken it down to 2 Nucs)


Careful. :wink:

I really like the crop weight variations, thanks for that. My worst producer last year turned into the best ever this year so am reluctant to requeen as a consequence.

Hi Skeggley

Did your colony requeen the queen, I have found the one which did requeen themselves are pulling through okay, but has been late for this year. As I am also doing queen rearing going forward from colonies showing the best production, calm temperament and healthy colonies to promote good genetics.

Radha that did not want to swarm on me this year has been on double brood from the start and she has exceptionally well.

All my good strong producing colonies have had 16 frame of brood between April and May, the second brood box is then converted into the their storage for the winter, this is what I would like to adapt to all my honey producing colonies if I am able too.

Aha, the question I was hoping for. :+1:
Short answer, I don’t know.
Maybe, maybe not.

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It is interesting to see your figures but not really surprising.
This will open a can of worms but it is my opinion from research and experience is that often an under-performing colony in an apiary the queen is too often blamed and replaced. I mark my queens and can trace back to their mother. A queen is an egg laying factory and the amount of eggs she lays is dependent on many factors that are not a reason to terminate the queen. It is often a joint decision of the colony as to haw much she lays. I terminate my queens after two years as a part of my hive management in my climate she doesn’t really have a Winter break. I have fluctuations in honey yield between hives in my apiary and often a poor performing hive can with nothing having been changed in the hive it can become a great producer. I have no problem with terminating a genetically poor laying queen but too often some bee keepers on this and other forums terminate a queen because there is a drought, for example, so being held back by the colony from laying to her potential.
Your thought?

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Hi Peter,

Very true we often blame the queen, the colonies I had issues certainly had some sort of minor issues. Looking at my records. The ones I replaced with the queen bounced back and did perform better.


I’m really enjoying the conversation between you all - so interesting