Where is the Honey?

It’s close to the end of September, the weather is beautiful. It’s warm and sunny out. At this point in the season I am looking for the bees to fill up their hives with honey. The farm that they live on has plenty of forage all through the year and the bees have constant access to water. It would be much better for them to fill their hives with honey than for me to feed them sugar syrup.

Opening the Orchard Hive first and finding them very grumpy. The hive has 26 bars with comb on them, but 8 of those combs are empty. There are 17 bars with very little capped honey on them and 13 of them have some nectar too. On 12 of the bars there are capped brood and 5 of them have larvae. I only saw 1 bar with some eggs and the queen was there too.

There should be more honey than this at the end of September. It looks like I will need to start feeding this hive as soon as possible. I want them to be able to build up enough stores to get through the winter. Right now they don’t have nearly enough. This is usually the inspection where they surprise me and have lots of honey stored up. That’s how it has been the last two seasons, I guess these bees didn’t get them memo.

The other concerning things that I found were deformed wing virus and mites. I spotted 15 bees with deformed wing virus and I saw 4 bees with mites on them. These things could be one of the reasons that the bees don’t have enough honey. The mites can cause so many issues within a colony and the diseases that they carry can confuse the bees. This could be causing the bees not to act like bees and the deformed wing virus means less forager bees to bring in the nectar.

Now to the Willow Hive. Luckily, they were much more pleasant to work with. It is so much easier to inspect a happy hive. This little colony has not built any new comb since moving into the hive. They have 11 bars, 2 of the bars are empty and I removed 1 of them. There are also 2 bars with comb on them, but the comb is empty. For now I will leave those and hopefully they will fill the combs with honey.

They have 2 bars with capped honey and on 6 bars there is nectar. The 2 bars that have some capped honey have a decent amount of nectar on them, the other 4 bars have only a little bit of nectar on them. There is capped brood on 5 bars and 3 of them had larvae too. I did not see any eggs nor did I find the queen this time.

In this hive the pest I found was small hive beetle. I found 7 of them and I squashed them. During the inspection, I also kept an eye out for small hive beetle larvae. This time I didn’t find any. This colony looks good, but I am concerned about the lack of honey in their hive too. It seems like these honeybees forgot how to be honeybees this season. Let’s hope they kick it into high gear and build up their stores for winter. In the meantime, I will start feeding them 2 to 1 sugar syrup for fall.

Orchard Hive
Peek inside
Willow Hive
Small colony
Hive beetle chase
Inspection done

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