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aidah
10-01-2007, 08:24 PM
Why don't we feed bees honey instead of 1:1 syrup? Can we dilute honey in water and feed this? Sorry if this is a stupid question.

LegionŠ
10-01-2007, 08:33 PM
Not a stupid question :). There are no stupid questions, just (sometimes) stupid answers!

Sugar is cheaper per pound than honey. Most beeks remove the surplus honey and sell it ($8 per lb or so), and then if needed, feed back sugar syrup ($2 per lb). Of course, the idea is to leave enough honey that you don't need to feed them, but it's not always as simple as that.

There is nothing wrong with feeding back honey if you have it and want to, though it's recommended to only feed with honey from a known source, ie your own hives, as honey can carry AFB spores and the like and infect your hives.

stingmaster
10-01-2007, 08:58 PM
I often open feed. Unless I use an entrance reducer (down to smallest size) no matter what I do, robbing starts when I feed within my hives.
Anyway, when I feed sugar syrup, no real problem...the girls behave like ladies. Now, the few times I dilluted honey to feed back, the "ladies" turned into knife-slashing street skanks. When the frenzy is done, there is a pile of dead bees. The odor of honey- even dilluted, just sets them off. I have gotton to the point that I hate to even have to let them clean out supers...yikes...what a battle. So, that is just my opinion...feeding honey, even dilluted, comes with risks...not just disease.

Michael Bush
10-02-2007, 06:12 AM
>Why don't we feed bees honey instead of 1:1 syrup? Can we dilute honey in water and feed this?

When feeding honey I never dilute it. It spoils quickly when diluted. I would feed it straight.

indypartridge
10-02-2007, 06:33 AM
There is nothing wrong with feeding back honey if you have it and want to, though it's recommended to only feed with honey from a known source, ie your own hives, as honey can carry AFB spores and the like and infect your hives.

Realistically, how big of a risk is this? We recently put my mother-in-law in a nursing home. While cleaning out her house, I found a gallon container of SueBee honey that I was thinking of feeding to my bees if they run low on stores during the winter. Now I'm thinking I may be better off donating it to the local food bank.

Black Creek
10-02-2007, 08:21 AM
i would guess that honey would have been pasturized. if it has, wouldn't that kill any disease it might have carried?

FANNBEE
10-02-2007, 08:23 AM
Besides open feeding, can you feed the honey in the hive using a bucket feeder? Do you have to dilute it before feeding? I have a gallon of honey that was left with the top off in my and a few roaches drown in it.

Thanks

riverrat
10-02-2007, 09:13 AM
Besides open feeding, can you feed the honey in the hive using a bucket feeder? Do you have to dilute it before feeding? I have a gallon of honey that was left with the top off in my and a few roaches drown in it.

Thanks
I wouldnt dilute it I would feed it straight to them using a pail feeder

Alex Cantacuzene
10-02-2007, 11:10 AM
We are thinking of feeding honey back to one of our weaker hives. I plan to do it by placing a honey super with filled frames above the inner cover and let them go to it. However, the ventilation gap on the inner cover has to be screened. Also, remove any "Imrie shims." One year I forgot those extra ventilation shims and I had one of our best hives robbed out. As was mentioned, the girls can become the sharks of the insect world when they go into robbing mode. I also think that the later in the year it is, the more scarce the sources become and the intensity of the robbing increases. So, I too am restricting the entrances to very small while feeding syrup or honey on all the hives, even the ones that do not get fed.
Take care and have fun.

Troy
10-02-2007, 01:45 PM
newbeematt, Commercial honey is often heated and filtered, but it is not truly pasteurized as that high a temp. would destroy the honey. SO the answer is no it is not safe because it is commercial honey - in fact it is NOT safe because it is from and unknown source. Ironically, if the jar is sealed and looks good it is fine for human consumption though.

FANNBEE: As for the honey with a couple roaches drowning in it. As long as it is your honey from your own disease free hives - then yes I would feed it back to them. I have had similar problems with ants getting in honey pails in the garage. I'll let the bees have at it and I get nice clean dead ants when done.

Tim Hall
10-02-2007, 02:03 PM
I am totally NOT an expert here, but I have read that honey (from a good clean source) is fine to feed as long as it's not mid-winter when the bees might be reluctant to make cleansing flights, and consequently become sick from a toxic build up of waste. Refined sugar is more of a pure carbohydrate source which is more completely converted to energy than honey, and therefore creates less waste material to be excreted (poop). This of course does not necessarily mean that their own honey stores aren't better for them.

Gene Weitzel
10-02-2007, 02:43 PM
I am totally NOT an expert here, but I have read that honey (from a good clean source) is fine to feed as long as it's not mid-winter when the bees might be reluctant to make cleansing flights, and consequently become sick from a toxic build up of waste. Refined sugar is more of a pure carbohydrate source which is more completely converted to energy than honey, and therefore creates less waste material to be excreted (poop). This of course does not necessarily mean that their own honey stores aren't better for them.

Tim,

I am not sure where you read that, but it sounds pretty suspect to me. What is the difference in feeding them honey in mid-winter that you have previously robbed from them and letting them keep it in their stores and they feed it to themselves in mid-winter? It makes far more sense to me to regard honey as better feed in all instances since it is "what the bees make". Further more, since honey is approx. 31% glucose, 38% fructose and only 1% sucrose, this means that the bees do not have to spend extra energy to break it down as they do with 100% sucrose, so the energy conversion claim you quoted does not make sense either.

WVbeekeeper
10-02-2007, 03:23 PM
It makes far more sense to me to regard honey as better feed in all instances since it is "what the bees make".

that is exactly why i divvied up the fall flow between my less built up hives from my large overwintered colonies. if you want to feed honey back to the bees, imo it's much easier to do while it's still in the comb. i might add that this was so much easier than standing over a stove mixing sugar syrup in order to have enough to fill empty feeders, keeping a constant eye on the feeders, drowning bees in feeders, attracting ants, etc...
http://208.69.121.208/forums/showthread.php?p=265866#post265866

Michael Bush
10-02-2007, 05:59 PM
>can you feed the honey in the hive using a bucket feeder?

Sure.

> Do you have to dilute it before feeding?

No. And I wouldn't.

The best way to feed a weak hive is give them some combs of capped honey from a strong heavy hive and feed the strong heavy hive if it needs it. That way the strong hive is less likely to rob the weak hive.

Tim Hall
10-02-2007, 06:16 PM
Gene,

I had indeed gotten some info jumbled up in my head. What Ross Conrad states on p45 of "Natural Beekeeping" is that honey is indeed the best thing for them...organic refined white sugar is second best, while stuff like brown sugar, raw sugar, etc. has "indigestible parts" (not less fuel-efficient parts)which can be bad if bees are reluctant to relieve themselves in the cold. My apologies for the error. Like I said, I'm NOT the expert here.

newbee 101
10-02-2007, 06:38 PM
What about crystalized honey? Could I scoop it onto a candyboard?

WVbeekeeper
10-02-2007, 07:06 PM
What about crystalized honey? Could I scoop it onto a candyboard?
you can melt it back down in the microwave or put a jar of crystallized honey into a pot of boiling water and it's like it just came out of the comb. be sure not to overheat.

Bizzybee
10-03-2007, 05:03 AM
Feeding "in" winter I would agree not to dilute the honey. Feeding now, I do dilute it by about 25%. As it will not be in the feeder more than 2 or 3 hours.

I will also agree completely that it will cause the honey to ferment quickly when it's diluted. But this time of year the bees will take it greedily just the same.

So the question is? Do the bees get a "buzz" from their beer honey?? :eek::)

Michael Bush
10-03-2007, 06:08 AM
Crystallized honey can be fed either in a frame feeder that has access all the way across (like the plastic ones from Mann Lake etc.) or in a file folder with some slits in it and placed next to the cluster. Next to the cluster is a good place for winter feed if the hive is light in late winter.

wharter
02-02-2012, 11:58 AM
Something happened to my colony, I suspect "CCD" (no sign of foulbrood, mites, etc.) I collected 5 gals. of honey, and thought to use it for winter feeding of a new colony. But since then I've learned I should destroy the old hive to prevent possible cross infection. Doesn't that mean I should also not feed the honey to other bees?

sqkcrk
02-02-2012, 12:16 PM
If your colony died from something noninfectious, I wouldn't destroy it. There would be no need. Buy a package and put it on that comb.

Eat the honey. Then you don't need to fear feeding it to bees.

wharter
02-02-2012, 01:49 PM
Thanks for responding. Too late for the hive, I already destroy it. As to the honey: it was my first year and I didn't remove the sugar-water feeder while the first two supers were being filled. I heard this results in impure honey, which is why I decided to retain it for later feeding. Since the cause of colony collapse is not known, how can I be certain death wasn't caused by infection? As it turns out, I have the bad luck of living in one of the Bay Area counties with a high rate of parasitic fly infestation--although I saw no indication of fly larvae on the few dead bees that remained in the hive.

sqkcrk
02-02-2012, 02:13 PM
I don't know hwo you would prove one way or the other. Sorry. Can't help you there.

Have you tasted the honey? Could still bve edible. I don't know why it wouldn't be. Unless it is off flavor or fermented, I'd try it.

wharter
02-02-2012, 02:26 PM
When I extracted it, it tasted fine to me. If I can manage to eat my way through the other two supers before the next harvest (I didn't realize how much honey one hive could produce!), I'll open it up and give it a try. Thanks for your help.

Michael Bush
02-02-2012, 06:52 PM
I might consider destroying a hive if I saw AFB, which I have not. Otherwise I would not destroy equipment. Even if I saw AFB in a hive, I would probably just destroy the frames, not the boxes or the bottoms or the covers. You can scorch them or I can boil them in beeswax and rosin, if I want to sterilize them. I think the image of burning hives gets ingrained in newbees early on and they see it as a solution of some kind. It's only a solution for AFB. Not wax moths , or nosema or some unknown cause (all of which I have seen newbees destroy hives over).

Adamd
02-05-2012, 02:32 PM
Why feed honey when it's more valuable than sugar syrup. Also it may contain disease which is harmless to humans but is harmful to bees. Heating (pasturising) will increase HMF which is harmful to bees. Feeding honey can cause robbing too.



In the UK, AFB and EFB are "notifiable" diseases. (It's the law that the authorities are informed). Bee inspectors WILL destroy a colony with AFB by burning in a pit then burying. As a result we have very little AFB in the UK. Some have noted that AFB hotspots have occured around the sites of importers/packers. Maybe contaminated honey comes in and the containers are left outside the factory ....

EFB is treated by destruction if severe, possibly by treatments and/or shook swarms if the colony is salvageable with destruction of the old comb.

Other diseases can be treated one way or another. (80% Acetic Acid fumigation for Nosema spores for example). If in any doubt whatsoever, I would not use old comb with a package. Why risk it when a package should draw out clean comb quickly if fed. We are encouraged to replace all comb in a 3 year cycle to reduce the build-up of pathogens and we don't have CCD (yet, praise the Lord!)

PatBeek
04-15-2012, 02:37 PM
.

Very informative thread.

The search tool is great !!!

So, for instance, if I were to buy raw/unfiltered honey from Whole Foods (specifically Papa Carrol's brand from here in Florida), would I be running a high risk of spreading AFB to whatever bees are feeding on it?


Papa Carroll's

Naturally Raw Honey from the Apalachicola Forest in the Florida panhandle. The honey is bottled and naturally crystallized to a smooth texture. The abundance of wildflowers prepares you for a unique and wonderful taste.

.

sqkcrk
04-15-2012, 03:30 PM
A. It's anybody's guess at best. But, there is a chance you would.
B. Since you shop at Whole Foods you can probably afford to buy high priced honey to feed bees, but that sort of behavior looks like a waste of money to me. Considering adequate and less expensive alternatives like sugar or corn syrup.

PatBeek
04-16-2012, 11:36 AM
A. It's anybody's guess at best. But, there is a chance you would.
B. Since you shop at Whole Foods you can probably afford to buy high priced honey to feed bees, but that sort of behavior looks like a waste of money to me. Considering adequate and less expensive alternatives like sugar or corn syrup.

Thanks.

Well, here's what I am experimenting with.

I have several bait hives and real hives set out with comb and lemongrass oil placed in them. I had the idea (even though many have warned against it because of pests and now AFB) that the scout bees probably double as foragers, or at least at some point during their approx 6-week life.

Wouldn't I have more of a chance of attracting a swarm if more bees knew about the hives?

I remember about 2 or 3 years ago, before I had any interest in bee keeping, my next door neighbor had their recyclables set out on the side of their house with an abundance of Mountain Dew cans and whatnot leaking-out their remains. A swarm ended up landing right near his recycling bin area. And - OF COURSE - he gets out there with a can of Raid and starts going to town. I didn't really know any better back then to try to stop him....but it's too late by the time they've been sprayed anyhow.

So yes, I'm not trying to go against anyone's wisdom here. It's just an experiment of which I hope wouldn't have dire consequences on a hive somewhere else.

sqkcrk
04-16-2012, 01:02 PM
Wouldn't I have more of a chance of attracting a swarm if more bees knew about the hives?



Not necassarily and not likely. I have stacks of palletized supers which are routinely passed by by swarms. So, what you are doing may attract a swarm, or maybe not. Keep on trying, just don't jump to conclusions concerning cause and effect.

PatBeek
04-16-2012, 01:22 PM
Not necassarily and not likely. I have stacks of palletized supers which are routinely passed by by swarms. So, what you are doing may attract a swarm, or maybe not. Keep on trying, just don't jump to conclusions concerning cause and effect.

Duly noted. Thanks.