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First inspection -- and a question

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gtb 

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Opened up one of my (two) hives for the first time today since tucking them up for winter. All looks well, with lots of bees bringing in loads of bright yellow pollen, capped brood on five frames, eggs, etc. but only a small amount of honey stores around the brood.

I did leave a full super on over winter, and they have used some of that, the remainder being medium set (what I assume is) ivy stores across four or five super frames. I poked it with the hive tool, and it 'gives' quite easily.

So the question is this...if there was no super I'd definitely feed now, but do you think the can use the stores in the super just fine? I assume it is as good as any fondant I could give, but maybe I should augment with light syrup to give some fluids in there?

What do you think? They look great now but I'm aware that such a big and active colony could starve if food is not readily available.
 

MJBee 

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If you are concerned that they may "ignore" the stores in the super a possible solution would be to persuade them to move it down into the brood frames.
To do this remove the super, place a crown board on the brood box with just one hole open, then an empty super, then replace the super with the stores in it.
The bees will quickly move the stores and as soon as they have done so both supers can be removed and a feed/no feed assessment made.
One condition though DO NOT do this if the weather turns cold again cos they will not leave the brood.
Good luck :cheers2: Mike
 

gtb 

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Thanks for the reply Mike. Yep, I had considered that, but figured it was making work for them that they don't really need to do. It appears that they have eaten a nice semi-spherical chunk out of the supers over winter, so perhaps I'll leave them with it and check back in a week or so. Just a bit nervous to see so many bees and so few stores alongside them in the brood box.
 

MJBee 

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In your original post you didn't say if you have a queen excluder between brood and super.
If you have and there are lots of bees perhaps consider going to brood and a half by removing the Qx.
Mike
 

gtb 

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There wasn't a QX in place until yesterday. I had removed it over winter but have it back now that laying has restarted in earnest.

There's plently of empty space in the brood box (langstroth jumbo), so don't think I need brood + half.

Thanks again.
 

Finman 

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There's plently of empty space in the brood box (langstroth jumbo), so don't think I need brood + half.

Thanks again.
Take a super off and let the brood box become full first. Extra space just slows down build up.
 

gtb 

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Take a super off and let the brood box become full first.
Take a super off ... and add a light syrup contact feeder do you think? I'm guessing nectar flow still light at the moment. Lots of pollen incoming though. WDYT?
 

Poly Hive 

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Nectar flow?

Why do you think you have anything like that at his time of year?

"I hae ma doots."

PH
 

gtb 

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Nectar flow?

Why do you think you have anything like that at his time of year?

"I hae ma doots."
There are uncapped liquid stores around the brood, could be uncapped honey that is partially eaten -- dunno. I'm just making it up.

All the more reason why taking off the super would require some additional feed I suppose.
 

Polyanwood 

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My bees are collecting water and pollen. They dilute the honey with the water to feed themselves. Mine also have a ring of ready to use diluted honey around the brood. I wonder if it is the same for you gtb?
 

Finman 

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If weather is good, bees may get quite much nectar from willows. But in few days they consume their store.

However, the is no advantage about extra space in hives this time of year.
If they get food from nature, it is no advantage to feed them either.

If you have full box of frames and bees, you need to have altogether 2 full frame of food for bad days. More food restrict the brood area.
 

gtb 

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.If you have full box of frames and bees, you need to have altogether 2 full frame of food for bad days.
Sealed brood on four frames covering approx. 10cm x 10cm on each surface.
Stores are low, I'd guess sealed honey was only 15cm x 15cm *total* (certainly not 2 full frames). That's why I left the super on.

Certainly lots of room for laying.

[should have taken photos <g>]
 

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