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Summer Feeding Bees

I live in the USA in Western Washington State. We purchased a nuc back in early May. My wife and I disagree on feeding. It is early September and the bees have been active in the flow part of the hive for months, but we see no honey. It is my opinion that we should not have been feeding them during the peak flowering season, because why make honey when you have plenty to eat from the sugar syrup. Comments Please. Thanks


The consensus seems to be that during the first year, don’t plan on getting any harvestable honey, just focus on building the colony up and getting them through the winter. You wouldn’t want to harvest honey made from sugar syrup if you’re feeding anyway.

Might want to remove the super to make sure they are storing all possible honey for themselves.

Not sure what your microclimate is like as Western WA has a very wide ranging climate types, or how much stored honey yours will need for the winter but do what you have to do (feed if you need to) to get them through the coming fall and winter and worry about harvesting honey next year.

When you inspect, what does it look like inside as far as number of bees and frames of capped honey or nectar? Pollen stores?

And watch out for Asian Giant Hornets if your area!


There is no honey in the flow just yellow coatings inside the cells. Bees in the flow seeming very busy, but no caped honey.

As @chau06 says, it is usual not to get a harvest in the first year. Do you have double deep brood boxes? You should with your climate. The Flow super should come off the hive now. It should go on in Spring, and come off in late Summer/early Fall.

It generally doesn’t work quite like that. If there is excellent forage, the bees will not take the syrup. If there is a nectar dearth, they will need the syrup. However, you should never feed with a super on the hive. After all, do you want to harvest processed sugar syrup, or real honey made from nectar?

For now, I would suggest that you take off the Flow super, inspect the brood box(es) and assess the stores they have. Unless you have two brood boxes and they are full of honey stores, you will need to consider feeding during the fall and winter. :blush:


Welcome to the forum, you will get lots of sound advice about bee keeping in general but a great local knowledge base is your nearest bee group.
Bees generally will ignore syrup given to them if there is a good supply of nectar from flowers. I offer syrup to a nuc as a boost for them but as soon as they are building up in numbers and they are foraging well I stop artificial feeding.
Your target in the first year should be all about the colony building up in size and stores. A very common mistake made by beginners is adding the super too early so giving them space they don’t need, and worse more, is adding space to the hive they have to keep warm when there is not enough bees to do it.
What is the set up with other hives in your area? A single brood box or a double? If you find your climate needs double brood hives then I would remove the super, if the colony is big enough to NEED a double brood hive then go in that direction.
A bee in it’s life time will produce 1/12 of a tea spoon of honey, a hive in it’s first year needs all of that honey for the colony.


Thank you all for your very helpful comments.