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Some questions after my inspection this morning


I opened the hive this morning for my weekly inspection. I did find the queen and there are lots of eggs and brood, but very little actually capped because they have pretty much stagnated on building new comb since the last time I fed them a quart of syrup. It appears that as one area emerge she re-lays that space but they are not building her new space. There are 2-3 very small corners of capped honey and some nectar surrounding it but it seems like a very small amount to me. I am thinking I may need to give them another quart of syrup to give them the boost they need to fill in some more comb to give the queen more cells to lay in.

@Michael_Bush, I didn’t see any drones and I thought that I observed some drone cells mixed into brood. Could this be something related to using the small cell foundation with unregressed bees needing a little more room to develop so they bubble out the capping to get it? Or could these drones have already flown off for mating flights and not returned?

Is this a “do nothing & let them be” scenario or could they use another helping hand from the big friendly giant?


I am going to say that you should probably feed them. I base that partly on your observations, and partly on my observation of the weather for the last 3 weeks or so. I think in the south-west US we are beginning a nectar dearth. We had some nice rain in April, and a little in May, but now it has been dry for a while, and in AZ it is really hot. Many people see things flowering and think the nectar must be flowing, but when the weather is dry, the plants actually don’t make much nectar. The plants look after themselves, conserving water, and the bees suffer a dearth of nectar as a result.

Just my 2 cents, but I have seen a couple of colonies owned by others starve in the heat of our summers, and it seems needless. I would always choose to feed if I didn’t have harvesting supers on.


Sounds like a small, young hive in a derth. Feed them 1:1 syrup to get them going. They will find pollen but, like Dawn said, while there may be flowers in a derth they often don’t produce much nectar.



Okay I put another quart of 1:1 in the inner cover, and we’ll see how they take to that. Hopefully they will bulk up some more comb so the queen will have some more room to get these guys humming. I wish there was a little more flow going but this is fairly close to the time when the club members said that we experience a dearth here. It’s a little early though since they said we usually have to feed in June. But this year has been pretty warm so far so that also makes sense. Glad to see my instincts on this were pretty good, I may just be getting the hang of this ::knock on wood:: lol.


Keep the syrup up to them so they have the energy to build up. Young hives use everything they have to raise brood so let them have it. You will know when its time to stop, they will start backfilling brood comb.



This is a legitimate question from someone who doesn’t hardly ever feed and that may be because I’m in honey bee heaven as far as forage is concerned.

Why feed and create a huge population of hungry bees? Are you expecting a significant flow in the coming weeks/months that can support the huge population of hungry bees? Just curious is all.-Thanks


It sounds like a young hive with few resources. You could leave them in a nuc and over time they will build up if they are not taken out by hunger or beetles. By feeding them you free up the pressure on the young foragers to allow them to raise brood. As the hive grows and gets some stores behind it it will become self sustaining. That is my view. I find that once a hive is up to strength and if you don’t rob it blind it is a really robust beast but the trick is to get it going quickly so it can look afer itself.



Hi Adam, I would feed them if I was you. It’s easy for me to say, seeing as I never feed my bees unless I need to tie them over for a day or so.

Your bees will build & expend as the colonies population expands. It is no good the bees building lots of comb for the queen to lay in if the hive doesn’t have sufficient staff (critical mass) to feed & look after it.

It would almost be similar to a restaurant having seating for a hundred customers & the restaurant only has enough employees to cater for 50 customers maximum.


I am not trying to get them to reproduce faster then they are able per se. I would like to try to get the hive built up with wax sufficiently so that when the next flow starts which should be in about a month or so that they are ready for it. I am not supplementing any pollen/substitute that would trigger them to lay more brood then can be cared for. My other concern is to keep the health and vitality up through this dearth so that small hive beetles which are a known issue here will not be able to get a foothold.


That’s understandable: Thanks


I just got back from Chicago for business and checked the hive this morning. The syrup baggie was sucked dry, so that means they went through it in max of 6 days but likely in 4-5 by the look of the baggie. I’ll open the hive and see how they are doing on Friday morning and evaluate what if anything further needs to be done.


An inspection got away from me this week with the memorial day weekend. But it appears that the last feeding may have been just what they needed. they have put on a good amount of weight since the addition. Here is some data that shows their stagnant weight for a few days and the considerable pick me up that the syrup gave them.


WOW - Great decision, man! :smile: