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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    649

    Default Bees Stopped Capping Dry Honey

    In later August and into September bees almost stopped capping honey and I kept waiting. We normally start fall prep about Sept 1. I did purchase a refractomter and it was back ordered and shipping was slow but honey is around 15%. As a result I have two supers of somewhat crystallized honey and three hives with three deeps. Want to get to two deep broods. Didn't need the honey but have a bit of a mess to clean up in the spring.

    Does it cool down sufficiently in the fall so that bees slow and quick making wax???

    Any suggestions with how to get bees to clean frames from 5 supers? Thinking(in spring) of rearranging brood and pollen frames into two deeps, a queen excluder, a empty honey super with a couple of frames of brood, inner cover(center hole opened), vent box and super with crystallized honey, top inner cover and outer cover.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,489

    Default Re: Bees Stopped Capping Dry Honey

    The bees won't cap partially filled cells not matter what the water content is. Not unusual for find uncapped honey around the edges of a super here when the honey flow drops off.

    Typically, at least here, the bees will dry down nectar all over the supers, then transfer the honey down to the brood nest and out of the top supers for winter. Don't know how they do things up that far north, but I'd guess it's similar.

    If you have lots of canola around, crystallized honey is a problem. I've heard that canola honey can crystallize shortly after capping, and this can be a problem for the bees, they really need liquid honey under foot for wintering, and you have real winters up there (my brother sent pictures, he's been working for a pipline company for a couple years there).

    I would personally skip the queen excluder unless you want to attempt comb honey. Brood in the supers is only a problem if you have to extract while there is actually brood in a frame. Once the brood has emerged (and it's usually drones around here, not workers), the bees fill the cells with honey, and there is no effect on the quality. Black comb in cut comb wouldn't sell very well, eh?

    For cleaning up residual honey after extracting or just to get patches of honey out of a super, put an empty box on top of your inner cover, then put the supers you want cleaned out on top of that, then the top cover. Since there is a gap, and the inner cover, the bees won't consider the supers to be part of the hive and will rob them out nicely. Naturally, the temperature has to be high enough for not to be clustered to do this. If you have storage where it will be below freezing most of the winter (unheated out building) you can just store them inside with screens to keep mice out and let the bees use them next year - they should clean out all the crystallized sugar and refill them nicely.

    Peter

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