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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Redwood City, CA
    Posts
    85

    Default ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    I live in Redwood City, CA. I have a hive in a location (Woodside) that lies on the inland side of the coastal mountains. It is very much a micro-climate. The fingers of fog from the marine layer just touch the edge of the town, giving rise to many sequoia and redwoods. I started a hive from a package of bees this spring, and they've done wonderfully. They've filled 2 deeps, great laying patterns, and lots of pollen and honey. I just pulled a medium super that was 80% filled and capped, and marveled at how dark the honey was. I cut a piece of comb yesterday, bit into it, and was sorely disappointed. The first second my tongue registered the sweet, but then an acrid and piney resinous taste followed, and stayed with me for some time. I am sort of bummed that this will be the case for the rest of my honey, but more so, I just want to figure out why the heck it tastes like this to begin with. Does anyone have any experience or ideas with this?

    I can only suppose that the coniferous environment has something to do with this? Maybe that's a shot in the dark, but I am totally stumped.

    Todd

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    Sounds like honeydew. There is a market and people who like it will pay a premium.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacifica California, San Mateo County
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    I am sorry to hear that you don't like your honey but I would love to try it.
    I love the forest honey that I had when I was still living in Germany.
    If this is honeydew honey I would love to find a place somewhere down the peninsula to place
    a few hives.

    I live in Pacifica (coast side) just north of your location.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Redwood City, CA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    @ Michael - If you mean honeydew, like the melon, I doubt it's that. The area isn't really an agricultural space. But I could be wrong...

    @stoffel64- I was just in Pacifica walking my dog this morning! I just got back and read your post. Too bad. I am sure I'll be out there again. I'll bring a sample and you can tell me what you think.

    We have a local beekeeping club that meets once a month. I will bring some of the honey to pass out and sample to get some input. Thanks for the help so far.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Pacifica California, San Mateo County
    Posts
    95

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    Hi Todd,

    Honeydew, does not come from flowers. It comes from aphids.
    Just follow the link.

    I am a member of the San Mateo Beekeepers Guild, I guess you refer to this club. It is very likely that we attended the same meetings.

    Cheers
    Stefan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Redwood City, CA
    Posts
    85

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    Stefan-

    Hope to see you there, and thanks for the link. Well, after reading the short summation of honeydew honey, it sounds pretty spot on with what I have. Interesting indeed.

    Todd

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    366

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    I doubt that all of your honey will be this way. If you extract and mix all of the honey together, you probably won't be able to taste but a hint of it. Alternatively, just leave the bees any of this super dark honey, and root through their winter stores for something more palatable.
    Of course, that assumes your honey supers and brood supers are the same size. Thank goodness mine are, for just these kind of reasons.
    4.5 hives of Italians. 2 seasons of experience. And you-- yes, you! You're my mentor!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesterms.htm#h

    "Honeydew = An excreted material from insects in the order Homoptera (aphids) which feed on plant sap; since it contains almost 90% sugar, it is collected by bees and stored as honeydew honey. "
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Manitowoc WI USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    Did an inspection today and I have one frame of brand new white comb that has turned very dark brown. I believed it was golden rod, but could this be honeydew?


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Spk_JpXi1U4

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    Goldenrod while being processed will smell like gym socks that have not been washed in a month. Kind of a pungent mildewy smell. I have not noticed it tasting like that however. It is strong, but not that bitter. Honeydew tastes as described above, kind of a bitter and resinous aftertaste.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,861

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    I pulled 600+ lbs. from Woodside, north Canada Road, today. Last year it was a secretion from oak trees and it was very late and strong. Maybe the same this year, the crop came late. I did not taste it but one of my helpers said it was "bad". And he already tasted harvests from Burlingame, Hillsborough and Redwood City earlier in the day. I don't think it is an aphid secretion, I think it is a node secretion, like we get from tanoaks up the mountain.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,925

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    Although all the definitions I tend to see for "honeydew" mention aphids, I tend to agree. I think sometimes it's tree sap or tree secretions of some kind and sometimes it is from aphids.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon City, Oregon
    Posts
    988

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    Look everyone I had nothing to do with it......
    Honeydew

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Siloam Springs, Arkansas
    Posts
    123

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    As a tree trimmer in Arkansas, last year we took out a large elm that was covered from trunk to leaf tips with every type of bee/ wasp I believe in the area. Yellow Jackets, Hornets, Red Wasps, Black Wasps, bees, etc. ....and they weren't hostile in the least. Cut the entire tree and loaded it without a single sting.

    Whatever that tree was secreting they wanted.

    FWIW
    Trying techniques that I doubt will work because I like to be right!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Auburn, NY
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    Langstroth on the subject: "Bees not only gather honey from the blossoms, but often obtain it in large quantities from what have been called honey-dews - "a term applied to those sweet clammy drops that glitter on the foliage of many trees in hot weather." Two different opinions have been zealously advocated as to the origin of honey-dews. By some they are considered a natural exudation from the leaves of trees, a perspiration, as it were, occasioned often by ill health, though sometimes a provision to enable the plants to resist the fervent heats to which they are exposed. Others insist that this sweet substance is discharged from the bodies of those aphides or small lice which infest the leaves of so many plants. Unquestionably they are produced in both ways. ... Honey-dew usually appears upon the leaves as a viscid, transparent substance, as sweet as honey itself, sometimes in the form of globules, at others resembling a syrup; it is generally most abundant from the middle of June to the middle of July, sometimes as late as September. It is found chiefly upon the oak, the elm, the maple, the plane, the sycamore, the lime, the hazel, and the blackberry; occasionally also on the cherry, currant, and other fruit-trees. Sometimes only one species of tree is affected at a time. The oak generally affords the largest quantity. At the season of its greatest abundance the happy humming noise of the bees may be heard at a considerable distance from the trees, sometimes nearly equaling in loudness the united hum of swarming. In some seasons extraordinary quantities of honey are furnished by the honey-dews, and bees will often, in a few days, fill their hives with it. If at such times they can be furnished with empty combs the amount stored up by them will be truly wonderful. No certain reliance, however, can be placed upon this article of bee-food, as in some years there is scarcely any to be found, and it is only once in three or four years that it is very abundant. The honey obtained from this source is generally of a very good quality, though seldom as clear as that gathered from the choicest blossoms. The quality of honey is exceedingly various, some being dark, and often bitter and disagreeable to the taste, while occasionally it is gathered from poisonous flowers, and is very noxious to the human system."

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Rockford, Il
    Posts
    499

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Goldenrod while being processed will smell like gym socks that have not been washed in a month.
    Interesting. I was wondering of something was wrong with a couple of my hives. We have Goldren rod all over and a couple of my hives have not been smelling the greatest.

    ~Matt

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Lincolnton, NC
    Posts
    1,106

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    There is a disease that oaks get sometimes. I can't remember what is is called. It prevents the sap from rising into the tree and it oozes out of the trunk near the ground. One of our old oaks had it years ago (which killed it) and I remember the bottom of the tree and the ground being covered with honey bees as well as hornets, yellow jackets and butterflies. Maybe that is what it is.

  18. #18

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    Would you like to sell some? I'd love some strong honeys for mead, see my post and offer here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...want-Goldenrod
    Best to PM me

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Marin County, California USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: ACK! My Honey Tastes Horrible!

    BT, In North Marin county not far from 101, there are A LOT of assorted nut trees that are in everybody's yards fields and just growing in random places all over Novato. I have seen a lot of the trees with sap oozing out from broken limbs and branches and from the bark. There are all ways a large assortment of bees, wasps, flies, ants and hornets eating up the sticky dark sap. This comes out of many different trees and it seem to happen to the cherry and orange trees in my yards as well as the date palm when the fans are pruned. And it starts late in the summer (or if the tree is damaged ) If you pull a frame in June and one in September I bet you will see that the June honey is thinner, lighter in color and tastes a lot better. The stuff I have in my haves now is nice light gold and is fruity tasting. I know that in a month it will be thick and dark and will look taste and smell like molasses> I think it is tree sap that does this also the hippy organic compost worshipers at IVC believe this too. IT'S THE SAP JACK. (my very humble opinion) otto
    Last edited by otto; 10-08-2011 at 12:54 AM. Reason: misspelled word

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