Can I ask what you mean by a "successful colonies?" Does this refer to the amount of honey produced or did you actually have whole colonies that died? I have two hives (boxes) with 80% bare foundation frames when I started. I probably still have 8 sides (4 frames total) that are just barely drawn out, from the two boxes. Is this usual or does it indicate a poor producing colony? I have yet to put any super on because of this, and now think I might not need this. I am planning on caging my queen this weekend. Are you going to do any demo? What do you use for the cork - a cork or wax for the queen box? Or can I just do duct tape. Still need to read a bit as this seems so soon!
Hello Marin, I use a piece of wine cork. I lay a cork down on a cutting board and slice it like a cucumber into about ½ inch width disks. Then I cut the disks in half. One of the halves should fit perfectly into the queen cage entrance (hole). I consider “successful colonies” those that produce anywhere from 5 to 12 gallons of honey. 4 frames left to be drawn-out isn’t bad. Do you have any honey? What I would do is put the super boxes on anyway and when you have extracted all your honey, you will put the VERY STICKY FRAMES back into the hives. Once the bees clean these frames up, they will consolidate all the honey into one smaller area and cap it. After you rob the very last of the honey, you can feed the bees sugar water and they will draw-out any frames that are bare. This should all be complete by October at the very latest so that you can wrap up the season by shop vacuuming the bees and storing your equipment in a dry, cold place for next year. Please don’t hesitate to ask more questions. Oh, and it will take 21 days before all the eggs and larva are hatched out so in 21 days, we will be into September when there is little to no food for the bees to forage.