My camera battery was dead today as I was getting ready to check on the bees at home, so I had to leave it behind. I apologize about that, you'll have to use your imagination for this post.
The overwintered hive is still working to fill up their two supers I gave them over a month ago. The hive is plenty strong, they're packed with honey, pollen eggs and brood in their brood boxes, but they just aren't bringing in the honey to the supers (incase you're wondering, I am not using any queen exlcuders). I'm pretty bummed about this. In years past we'd have harvested a decent spring harvest by now and put the supers back on for a summer flow. I've had no spring harvest and at the rate they're going, it will be a small summer/fall harvest.
Maybe it was the overly long winter? Maybe the overly wet spring? Maybe this hive is just consuming all the honey they're making to raise their baby bees?
I also checked the two other hives that started as packages this spring. They each were given a set of 10 frames pre drawn and only needed to draw a second deep brood box. They've been fed 1:1 sugar syrup since I got them.
They had both finally drawn out all their frames, although I don't think there's a strong enough nectar flow going right now for them to draw out a set of super frames.
However, I had with me 3 gallons of 1:1 sugar syrup because I wasn't sure if they'd need it still or not so I made it and took it to the apiary with me.
Rather than waste it, here's what I did...
I got two new, foundation only supers from the garage: one brand new pure wax super and one with plasticell that wasn't used last year so I recoated with bees wax this year. I gave each of the two hives a super. Nothing weird there you might say.
However, I put their hive top feeders back on and filled them up.
I know what you're thinking..."Whao- you're not supposed to feed bees to get them to draw supers out because they'll fill the supers with sugar syrup" and you're right.
H-o-w-e-v-e-r, these bees are in the mood to draw wax because of the artifical nectar flow I've created by feeding 1:1 sugar syrup for so long so I felt I could take advantage of it.
Here's how my train of thought went: I'm not going to get any honey from them this year, its too late in the season for a lot of nectar to be left for them to draw wax. I can either do nothing and let them go for the rest of the year, or I can try to get them draw out a super and have it ready (already drawn) for next year.
Hence, I put the feeders back on and asked them kindly to keep producing wax and draw the supers out.
If/When my overwintered hive ever brings in enough honey to harvest, I'll pull these two supers that I'm sure will be filled with sugar syrup and extract them separately and either disgard the syrup or feed it back to them in the fall or next spring if they need it.
Well, that's the plan anyways, we'll see what the bees think of that idea.