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Frosty
07-11-2002, 11:31 AM
Can I take all of the honey from the supers away from my hives and just feed the bees sugar water instead of letting them keep the honey for winter? I'd like to get some opinions on this. More than one please. Thanks.

Kevin S. Lunsford
07-11-2002, 12:05 PM
Hello,
Always leave more than enough honey for the colony to survive the winter. Sugar and corn syrup have no nutrient value. Your queen will soon start to produce your "winter bees" and if forced to feed on a poor diet will only produce poor bees. And when the temps. get down around 40-50 the bees will not break the cluster to go feed on sugar water. Go into winter with a well fed and happy colony and you will get more honey out of them than you can eat!!!!
Kevin

Kevin S. Lunsford
07-11-2002, 12:30 PM
I forgot to add. Sugar water stored in cells has a tendancy to ferment, something the bees hate. The worst case being they would abscond. But I might add, in your part of Texas you may have a short "winter". This may allow you to "have your cake and eat your honey too".
Kevin

Frosty
07-12-2002, 07:34 AM
Hmmmm, let's hear some more opinions on this one. Thanks for the response.

NewBee
07-13-2002, 09:29 AM
Frosty, When you say the whole crop do you mean all of the honey supers? If so, yes, you can remove all of the honey supers for extraction. You should consider saving either a couple of frames or honey to feed back to your hive in the spring. Do you have a second harvest? Here in NJ we get a fall crop and I use some of this for over winter use. Do you use 1 or 2 deep brood chambers? Don't be too greedy or you may lose the honey gathering source. Steve

Clayton
07-14-2002, 06:24 AM
Hmmmm, let's hear some more opinions on this one. Thanks for the response.

reply:

No comment. Don't use sugar water! Just honey for my girls.

Can I take all of the honey from the supers away from my hives and just feed the bees sugar water instead of letting them keep the honey for winter?

reply:

Yes from the supers you can remove all at once. But why would you take their honey and replace with syrup? One manages bees to harvest the "surplus only". Robbing beyond that is a poor practice. It also give a false sense of production. If one removes ninety pounds of honey. Leaving only twenty pounds for the bees then feeds back and it takes at the minimum of 60 to winter on. Then one needs to feed back 40 pounds worth. Subtract 40 from the 90 yeilding only aprox. 50 pounds of true surplus. But now you have twice the labor and time spent as you had to feed them. Life is short don't waste it on feeding bees who have already feed themselves. If one does feed bees syrup it should really be a suppliment not exceeding 20%. Not a complete substitute. But do what you feel is best. Just remember bees are livestock if you treat them wrong you remove the word LIVE.

Clay

By the way I use the honey envelope method for emergency feeding when it occurs from time to time.

Frosty
07-15-2002, 07:09 AM
Ok, what is the formula for how much I leave the bees? I have two brood chambers. At this time I have one full honey super on top and I am wanting to take it off and extract. I am kinda confused about the info mentioned above. Thanks for responses guys and gals.

Chris

Kevin S. Lunsford
07-15-2002, 08:06 AM
Hello,
What you have is a "text book" colony, one hive body for brood and a second hive body of honey. Now anything above that is yours to enjoy or keep for other colony needs-emergency feed, make splits, etc. Your colony should have all it needs for a Texas winter. Good job.
Kevin

Frosty
07-16-2002, 05:39 AM
So, I can take all of my honey supers off and my bees will be fine for the winter?

Kevin S. Lunsford
07-16-2002, 07:34 AM
Hello Frosty,
Sure, if your top deep hive body is full of honey then your girls should have enough for your type of winter, take off the extra. Remember if you have a mild winter the bees will eat more, always check for honey storage in late winter-early spring-this is the time bees will starve.
Kevin