When you’re working with honey bees you’ll have to feed them when there isn’t a honey flow to help keep them strong and ready for the next honey flow.  Feeding is part of management.  If you feed them before honey flow then you help get them ready to take full advantage of the honey flow.  However, in nature they don’t get this extra boost so they get to peak efficiency part way through honey flow typically.  Keep in mind you don’t want to feed them once honey flow starts or they will be storing sugar water and that is not what you’re after.  For they bees they don’t care much although some say they do have a preference for the natural stuff!

Once honey flow is over and you harvest or extract the honey the will only have some honey left in the brood box – and they will start to starve.  In nature this is normal and they reduce their numbers and get ready for winter – hopefully if all goes well they make it through the winter fine, but then you’d have a lot of ground to make up for the next honey flow – but in moderate climates it can be done.

If you continue to feed them after honey flow they will still be producing larva and their population will continue to increase so be ready for a swarm or be prepared to split a strong colony.  The benefit here is you’ll have a really strong hive for next year, however you’ll find at some point you have to split your hive.  If you let them swarm when they want then you’ll be at the mercy of the bee and they may do it right in the middle of honey flow and your efforts go down the drain.

The up side to splitting is more hives and that equals more honey!  Now, if you have all you can eat you can give it away, or maybe sell it if you’re up for that.  One thing you could do to avoid all of the ‘clean kitchen’ and other related issues to selling honey is you can sell the hive!  Personally I don’t think you’ll have a hard time – but you won’t get as much money as out of all of the processed honey most likely.  Just an option.

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