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Breeding but hardly honey

 
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Michael Dreyer
House Bee


Joined: 21 Aug 2014
Posts: 13
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:23 am    Post subject: Breeding but hardly honey Reply with quote

Hi there, just want to mention my observations with my 2 years top bar hive experience. While my colleagues with there supers had plenty of spring honey my bees were happily breeding. The queens went from comb to comb laying eggs with a small honey area above the brood. But none had pure honey combs. Now with the summer honey season it's the same. I wonder whether I will use a queen excluder next year because with 2000 eggs laying per day my brood combs are to many in numbers now as she is not always filling both sides of a comb completely. How is your experience?
Best regards

Michael
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AugustC
Silver Bee


Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 613
Location: Malton, North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It really depends why you are beekeeping.
Nationals and Langstroths are honey farming factories. Managed conventionally they apply huge amount of demand on the bees to fill cavities above them. Healthy/strong colonies meet this need and provide honey.
Top bar hives allow you to apply smaller amounts of stress to the bees through introduction of single comb cavities within the nest or merely providing expansion space.

I am in it for the bees myself not the honey. I get enough honey for me but my costs are low enough that I don't need to sell honey to recoup my costs. On top of that my bees are treatment-free and apparently healthy and usually do not require supplementary feeding to support them.

It could be a simple matter of re-siting your hive. Queen excluders are possible in a TBH but why would you want to actively encourage your colony to be smaller?
If you want to produce more honey on a top bar hive you could feed a light syrup early in the year prior to the nectar flow. This would buildup the colony ready to convert the nectar flow to honey rather than the bees using the spring flow to build up.
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