No honey this (1st) year
I'm a newbie, and I don't know what I don't know. I've read that it's not uncommon for a new colony (i.e. a collected swarm) not to produce much/any surplus in the first year as they're essentially getting established. But I have also read that it's just as common to get a super or two the first year.
So – and I'm just kind of common-sensing it out here – I figure that one, if not all, of the following factors in my situation may be the cause of no excess production this first year. But as noted, I don't know what I don't know, so hoping some of you pros can let me know potentially what's what (thanks in advance).
- I'm using boxes made of New Zealand pine and I sealed them with 100% Tung Oil before the swarm was moved in. The frames are your standard untreated NZ pine with wired in beeswax foundation.
- I have set them up in a sheltered (from wind) section of my garden, get's early and all-day sun (but not a problem re: heat as it's pretty mild in my part of the world (NB: I'm in the southern hemisphere, a little place called Tasmania – where it's pretty mild most of the year)
- I live in the burbs and all yards (including mine) are large and are filled will flowers/fruit, so no shortage of available pollen or water.
- The swarm collected for me (by local association) was 'small', they said. So I figure a lot of time spent building numbers and feeding them. Not certain, but think they're the common European honey bee.
- I did feed them just before the winter (something like 10 litres of sugar syrup) – assumed it was necessary given it was a small swarm and they were staring from scrat on all new foundations.
- More or less from the beginning, I gave them two deeps for homemaking. This might be another hinderance – too much space upfront? To keep warm/cool and fill out with comb?
- I try to keep my inspections to a minimum (I use this this calendar/schedule as a rough guide as it's written for the next State over from mine, and has similar climate. Though, I would not probably inspect as often as it suggest.)
- Oh and fun fact – Tasmania is pretty tough on biosecurity – more so than the rest of Australia – so we don't actually have most of the common hive pests and diseases (no hive beetle, varroa mite, not even termites. Foulbrood I think can happen, but I'm fairly certain I could identify that) So these can be ruled out.
That's about all I can think of. Let me know if you need any other info!