In an ideal world of beekeeping, you would have a beehive full of healthy bees producing delicious honey that you can either keep for yourself or sell on as an extra income. However, we do not live in a perfect world; beekeeping requires work on your part and, even with the best will in the world, things can go wrong. Moreover, unless conditions are almost ideal in your hive, you might find that there is no honey to harvest. So why are there occasions when there might be no honey in your beehive?
What is Wrong with Your Hive?
When you are not finding honey in your beehive, you might automatically assume that there is something wrong. For the most part, the cause is usually incorrect conditions within the hive. There can be many reasons for this, including extreme temperatures and pests. Nevertheless, when it comes to a new hive, it could simply be the case that the bees are simply not producing enough honey to feed themselves with some to spare.
When you get a new hive, you need to give it time for the bees to establish a pattern of producing honey. Before the bees begin storing surplus honey, they will concentrate on raising their young. This means building brood comb and collecting food to feed the brood. The drones will also need plenty of honey for energy when out collecting nectar. Once the hive has been firmly established, you are then likely to see the amount of honey in the hive increasing. It will just be a case of being a little patient.
If you already have an established hive that has stopped producing surplus honey, it is important to check for causes of the decreased production.
External environment can affect honey production in a beehive. If the weather conditions are extreme at a specific time of year, you might find that production has decreased. If it is too hot, too cold, too wet, or too dry, your bees will not produce as they usually do.
Insufficient Nectar Flow
A strong nectar flow is necessary for bees to begin filling up a super. Many new beekeepers will make the mistake of placing supers on their hive and expecting their bees to automatically fill it. Unless there is a strong flow of nectar though, your bees will not waste their energy building comb. It is also a mistake to assume that there will be nectar available at certain times of the year.
For example, flowers can bloom late because a winter has been longer than usual, or if there has not been much rain in that particular year then flowers can dry up sooner than normal. These are conditions that can negatively affect the nectar flow and cause a lack of honey in your hive. So if your bees are not producing honey, you might need to help things along by feeding them with some sugar water. This might help the colony to get stronger and may motivate them to start building new comb.
If you cannot find anything amiss with the conditions of your hive, it is crucial that you check on the health of your bees. You will need to ensure that your bee colony is capable of filling a super, which means checking on the size and strength of your colony. To do this, take a look at the brood. A healthy frame will have a capped brood and should be covered in adult bees that are caring for the larvae. If your brood frame is not full of capped brood, you might have a problem.
If your bee population is not strong in number, it is important to avoid adding more space as this extra space is something that they will feel a need to defend, which will weaken them. Too much space and too few bees can also cause issues with temperature control.
It is vital to give your beehive time to establish before expecting it to produce honey. However, if your hive has previously been producing good amounts of honey and has now stopped, it might be worthwhile trying to establish if there are incorrect conditions within the hive. This might be extreme temperatures, poor health, or an insufficient nectar flow.