Bees Marking time?

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House Bee
Jul 12, 2009
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Sanderstead Surrey
Hive Type
Number of Hives
I hived a Buckfast F1 headed nuc on 1st June and by the 25th the brood box was 90% full. On 2nd July I supered as the bees had started building comb above the crown board and filling with nectar. I was advised to leave the QX out to encourage the bees to go up into this super. The next week (9th July) this super was 80% drawn out with 40% capped honey, plus a large amount of nectar. I inserted a QX above the brood box and because my hive is on a remote site added a second super to be on the safe side. A week later (16th) it became evident that my queen had initially got up into the first super and there was quite a lot of brood in it. No worries, I decided to let the bees clear this by natural hatching and assumed they would clean the area up and fill with stores. Since then the colony seems to have marked time. There are plenty of bees, eggs, emerging brood, some stores and a busy, always evident queen, in the single National brood box. Currently, the first super is now clear of brood, is still only 25% capped honey (I think the bees have utilised some of the capped stores) and has quite a lot of nectar. They have started to draw out the second super and nectar is evident.
The hive is well sited and there is a mix of domestic gardens and golf courses with wild flowers in the vicinity. As the season is starting to wind out, and the weather is patchy, am I to assume that this colony was started a bit late and my main priority will be to see it into and through the winter with adequate stores and put any thoughts of harvesting honey at the back of my mind? All seems healthy; the bees have a great temperament, there have never been any signs of swarming and the varroa count is negligible.
Any thoughts from you experienced guys would be welcomed!
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You've only got the one hive (I am in the same boat) It's great that they have had a robust start but the weather has been patchy, general honey harvest reports are low and any honey from them in the first year would have been a bonus. Getting them ready for winter to have a strong base from which to expand next year must be the priority surely?:confused:
bees marking time

Thanks Rosti,
You have confirmed my sentiments. Does anyone have advice on how much honey stores a sound National brood would need to overwinter?? Is there a rule of thumb for working this out??
May be worth you switching to a current alternative thread - Harvest and winter prep, started by Grizzly, there's some useful first hand experience being shared there by the big boys and girls, I'm just reading it and hoping a plan comes together. One cautionary element raised elsewhere is not to feed too early in case there is a strong Ivy flow which could then cause a population increase / over crowding and increased swarm potential for Sept. Rosti
The strongest colony in the world surrounded by a floral nectar secreting paradise is utterly useless if the colony cannot fly.


Lack of means starvation. And the biggies go first.

The strongest colony in the world surrounded by a floral nectar secreting paradise is utterly useless if the colony cannot fly.


Lack of means starvation. And the biggies go first.

Poly Hive

I knew I was going blind in my dotage but it was kind of you to reply in 300 font size crimson red colour to help me!

Joking apart, bees flying down here in the sunny south has not been the main problem. Its just the spasmodic windy and overcast days that seems to have made the June gap last through a lot of July!

Let's hope the poor little blighters can put away enough stores to weather whatever the jet stream will throw at them during the downtime months!
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