Albuquerque Beekeepers

Urban beekeeping in New Mexico's largest city.

I have a new Layens horizontal hive that I set up in the East Mountain area in early May.  It is very active and there is a lot of comb, larvae, and worker brood, as well as some drone brood but almost no honey.  Is this unusual? Should I be concerned? Is there anything that I should do?  Anyone have thoughts on the matter?

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There could be several reasons you are seeing little honey. One question to ask is what is the population of foragers? Another is what is blooming? Is there a nectar flow right now. There is a cost for all the larvae. If the forager population is low and/or there is not many nectar resources, the hive could just be getting by and using most of what is brought in to rear new bees. Are you anticipating a good fall nectar flow? Are there other beekeepers near you with a similar micro climate? Are they seeing the same thing?

There seems to be plenty of foragers coming and going and right now we have lots of flowers with bees busy on them.  I'm thinking there should be a good nectar flow from wild flowers through the fall especially if the rains continue.  I was not planning on harvesting any honey this year but I'm concerned that there will not be enough stored for them to get through the winter because there is almost none at this point. I've only been beekeeping for about 3 years but I haven't experienced this before.

Hi Ed,

I also started two new Layens-style hives with packages in early May, and I also live in the East Mountains. Following guidance from a mentor, I have been feeding my bees ALL summer. They are building out prolifically and are storing "nectar," but they continue to take syrup quite voraciously (i.e., there is not much "real" honey in there). My mentor has encouraged me to keep feeding them what they will take in order to give them all the carbohydrate energy they need to build out all that new wax. She told me not to consider this year as "typical," but rather to get the colony built up and strong going into winter and to expect that, if they overwinter well, next year they will be able to produce more honey on their own. 

Don't know if this helps much, but hopefully it provides some insight. 

Thank you. I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions.   

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