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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    York, South Carolina
    Posts
    136

    Default Feeding old honey

    Hi:
    Is there a problem feeding old honey (could be as much as 4 yrs old) back to the bees? A person called me and asked for my help with their hives. The hives ariganlly belonged to her father-in law who passed away two seasons ago and nothing has been done to the hives since then. There were 8 hives 3 of which were dead and the rest in BAD need feeding. under a shed with his bee equiptment we found several 4 gal jugs of honey. It had turned, or was origanilly, very dark but was still good. Would there be any side effects to the bees if she fed it back to the bees? Would a 2-1 sugar syrup be the best. She will probally loose 2 more hives if she doesn't get food to them real quick. Any thaughts would be appreciated.
    Barney
    What\'s smarter than a talking Parrot-----A spelling bee

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Campobello, SC, USA
    Posts
    195

    Default

    Someone more experienced than myself will probally answer soon.
    But, unless the honey smells fermented, I don't see what it could hurt other than than if it had traces of foul brood in it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,597

    Default

    The honey will be fine to feed if it's not fermented, which it won't be unless it was too much moisture in it which I doubt since it was sealed in jars. Honey does not spoil, it only will ferment if the moisture content is too high.
    “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Cambria County, PA US
    Posts
    404

    Default

    There are problems associated with feeding honey to bees if the honey has been heated for a significant amount of time. There is a chemical buildup that occurs in the honey, and increased amounts of this chemical are bad for the bees. I'll dig and see if I can find the info unless someone else comes across it first.

    It's "Something-methyl-or-thymol"-furfural or something like that...
    "burr comb happens..."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Cambria County, PA US
    Posts
    404

    Default

    It's HMF - Hydroxy-methyl-furfural. There are better articles out there than this one, so you may want to dig:

    http://www.xs4all.nl/~jtemp/hmf.html

    There have also been a few threads about this as well.

    For instance http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=194687 - see post #'s 10 and 12, with a reference in http://www.beesource.com/pov/usda/beekpUSA82.htm

    Just something to think about. If you're sure it's never been heated, it's probably ok to feed. I wouldn't if I came across it and wasn't sure though. Many would, and that's their choice, just wanted you to know this was a consideration on previously heated honey.
    "burr comb happens..."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Sawyer, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,115

    Default

    The honeybee has been making and consuming honey for a very long time so if it’s not bad it’s good. Don’t let the color throw you off for the quality, buckwheat honey is very dark. Taste it if it tastes good to you it will to the bees.
    The Busy Bee teaches two lessons: One is not to be idle and the other is not to get stung.

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