On July 4th I robbed one of the hives and I was amazed at how full it was. So, on July 9th I went out after work to get some more honey from the hive next to it and there was hardly anything. All the frames were drawn, but only the center frames were capped. I pulled those and went to the next hive and it was the same thing. I was able to get 4 full frames eventually, but none of the hives had full supers like the first hive.
I’ve decided that I have to resume feeding. Last year I lost my strongest hive because it starved to death in the July dearth. I want all the hives to make it to September with enough stores. September and October have lots of fall flowers for the bees, but I don’t expect much honey.
If I feed each hive a few pounds of sugar a week from now on, I may find some honey in the supers in November. I take off the supers in November if the bottom boxes have enough honey. If the bottom boxes are light, I take out the queen excluder and leave the supers with any honey they have, so the queen can move up.
Feeding is cheap compared to having to buy a new package. I pay $2.45 for a five pound bag, but 5 pounds of honey pays me $40. It pays to feed the bees.