Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Don't Weigh Your Honey Before It's Capped

Ten days ago, I was overjoyed to see Austeja's surplus honey, but I was concerned about her having a new queen. Even more, I was concerned that with every bar filled with nectar, she wouldn't have a place to lay. Curiosity finally overcame me. I had to take a look.

What the heck?! Practically all the nectar is gone, and there are barely any bees inside! The plus side of this equation is that the queen has loads of room to lay. But...but.. but... there's no honey! (lip quiver)

There aren't any signs of robbing, so my guess is that the colony has been dwindling for the past month while Her Majesty has been gearing up to lay eggs. Without enough foragers to keep the nectar rolling in, nurse bees have used up the nectar to feed larvae. Crikey. I'm kicking myself in the pants for not keeping on top of this colony better and letting it swarm. Dagnabbit. All my dreams of honey are gone, gone, gone. How will I overwinter???

At least Austeja has plenty of pollen

I only peeked into the splits: 
  • Peach (14 bars) and Bubblegum (12 bars) have pretty much completely filled those nucs with comb and are busy capping honey.
  • Elsa (15) bars is still bringing in nectar and working on capping comb. She seems on track for winter readiness.
  • Buttercup has 9 bars of comb. Most of those are filled with brood. Feeling iffy about this one, but I supposed that she might still be able to get through winter.
Some pollen on a bee

All the bees seem to sense the days shortening and were bringing in lots of propolis in addition to nectar and pollen.

I didn't bother checking on The Beests. They seemed to be on track last Monday when I took a look-see. Fingers crossed for them.


  1. I have a hive (Olive Oyl) and they have put away zero honey. Its my first year beekeeping. Should I order pollen packets and start feeding them sugar water? I enjoy your blog, thanks for sharing.

    1. Sorry to hear about Olive Oyl. :-(

      I don't know the timing of your fall flow and your first cold weather. However, if you were in my area, I would definitely advise you to feed them 2-1 syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water). Feed them fast, too. In other words, give them as much syrup as they can possibly take as quickly as possible. During this time of year, I've had colonies take a gallon of syrup pretty much overnight. You don't want to give them dribs and drabs and possibly confuse them into thinking there is a flow on. They need to pack away the syrup and get it capped as quickly as possible. To feed my hives, I just lay some sticks behind the divider board (which has a hole in it) and put 3 or 4 quart jars of syrup on them.

      I've never had to feed pollen patties, but I'm not sure about putting them on in fall. Don't quote me, but I think they usually get put on in spring, though I know some people will put pollen patties in their fondant. You might want to double check on when to feed pollen patties.


Thank you for your comment! I can't wait to hear what you think!