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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Brazoria County, Texas, USA
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    13

    Default Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    I have searched this forum and other resources on the internet and can't seem to find an answer.

    I do not have feeders in my hives (2 hives) as of now. Both hives have two deeps and a super. Hive "A" is full and they probably need more room ASAP and hive "B" has barely touched the super. I have had both hives since early May this year.

    My question is when I do put the feeders in, and if I decide to leave the super on when I put the feeder in, is my honey still good or will I not be able to extract and sell after having the feeder in the hive?

    This may be a really dumb question, sorry in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Black Forest, Colorado
    Posts
    349

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    You shouldn't feed if you have supers on that you intend to extract. You will most likely be extracting a lot of capped sugar syrup to one extent or another.
    Agis Apiaries LLC - Three beeyards up to 7700' elevation in Ponderosa pine forest.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,568

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    Honey that is completely capped when the feeders are added can be harvested later with almost zero chance of being diluted with the presence of sugar syrup. Sugar syrup that has been worked by bees and capped is not in anyway noxious to humans but it is illegal or at least unethical to sell as honey anything that is not 100% from nectar. (honey dew?) Any uncapped cells will have sugar syrup added to them.

    If you are feeding with supers present you would have a hard time convincing people that ALL of your honey was not indeed cut with sugar syrup. Perception becomes the reality in most cases.
    Frank

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Aberdeen, Idaho
    Posts
    679

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    Your first years selling set your reputation for ever. If you sell honey that is not up to par it will haunt future sales. I would advise it is not worth the risk.
    I have had bee keepers tell me that bees do not move honey around in the hives, but I question this. Two weeks ago our hives had almost totally back filled the drone frames with honey. Little of it was capped. This last week the same frames were full of eggs and new brood. If the bees did not move it up into the supers where did it go?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Brazoria County, Texas, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    Thank you all for the very helpful responses.
    I would never want to sell someone sugar syrup "honey". I have a good clientele right now. Our bee hives sit around blackberry bushes and that honey harvest was a huge hit around here.

    Another question I forgot to ask is, what happens to my frames next spring when I take the feeders out? Obviously I don't want any of the sugar syrup to get mixed in with the honey flow. Do you take those frames out if they have been storing it and replace with empty ones?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    university park, md
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    Quote Originally Posted by TXBEELADY View Post
    , what happens to my frames next spring when I take the feeders out? Obviously I don't want any of the sugar syrup to get mixed in with the honey flow. Do you take those frames out if they have been storing it and replace with empty ones?
    I'm sure there are 1000 answers to this (like everything else in beekeeping!) but the general practice is to keep supers intended for surplus honey separate from ones used for brood/honey for the bees. You'd typically only have the honey supers on the hive during a flow and wouldn't want to be feeding at that time. That way any frames you're extracting from for yourself/sales would never be the ones loaded up with sugar syrup.

    Of course, I'm not quite sure what happens if you have a neighboring beek (somewhat foolishly) feeding their hives with sugar water during a flow and your bees decide their feeder is a better source than the surrounding nectar.... Guess we have to trust that given that choice, the bees would go for the best natural sources first.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Brazoria County, Texas, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    Thanks! That makes sense. Most of these questions you already know the answer to but once you start thinking about everything it gets crazy overwhelming! Especially since I'm so new to this.

    I'm in the country on a good bit of acres. We don't have but 2 neighbors and neither have bees so I think I'm good in that area.

    I appreciate all the feedback!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    1,367

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    Quote Originally Posted by TXBEELADY View Post
    Thank you all for the very helpful responses.
    I would never want to sell someone sugar syrup "honey". I have a good clientele right now. Our bee hives sit around blackberry bushes and that honey harvest was a huge hit around here.

    Another question I forgot to ask is, what happens to my frames next spring when I take the feeders out? Obviously I don't want any of the sugar syrup to get mixed in with the honey flow. Do you take those frames out if they have been storing it and replace with empty ones?
    The new honey should be in a new super. I usually take a couple of frames of the capped honey and put it in the supers to entice the bees up. I write the word sugar on the top bar of the frame so that I know not to include it when I extract.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Brazoria County, Texas, USA
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    Quote Originally Posted by dsegrest View Post
    I write the word sugar on the top bar of the frame so that I know not to include it when I extract.
    That is smart! I will keep that in mind. Thank you!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Cameron, Wisconsin, United States
    Posts
    17

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    I have no experience but, if you are feeding it would seem as if you are getting ready for winter and don't plan to harvest any more honey. If you leave enough honey for them to get through the winter you shouldn't have to feed. And if you are feeding you are trying to build up their reserves for winter and shouldn't be planing to take more honey. So it should be pretty rare situations where you would be feeding and still plan to take honey.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Spanish Fork, Utah
    Posts
    31

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    This is actually a bit confusing because everyone talks about using sugar syrup like crazy...like for queen rearing to make sure bees are fed before grafting or to influence certain things....and then I hear suddenly sugar syrup makes for less quality honey....but aren't people ONLY doing sugar syrup when they think the bees don't have anything available at the time??? and if so then would it still be damaging your honey quality since you are only doing it when they wouldn't have an alternate source anyway??

    So if you do sugar syrup ( for only a good reason of course ), would that then mean you should take out and harvest your capped and cured honey before giving them sugar syrup?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    1,418

    Default Re: Can I take honey after feeding syrup?

    The only way I can tell if the bees have a flow on is to weigh the hives regularly. When we feed syrup, the weight goes down a little after feeding as the water evaporates off the syrup and they eat some of it. When a flow is on the weight goes up, and not by a little bit. Tens of pounds a week. This year we pulled the feeders and added the supers when we thought the flow was about to start. Nothing happened, until we got a short flow after we thought the dearth should have started.

    Still unanswered, what do the experienced guys do with all the syrup honey left over from winter? We extracted ours this spring for personal use because we wanted the empty comb available for making honey. We only had a couple of hives worth and wanted to practice with the new extractor anyway. I assume you can store the syrup honey frames for the summer and put it back on a hive for the winter? Marking the frames sounds like a workable idea, unless they do move it around.

    The syrup honey is rather bland, but no worse that that stuff at the grocery store. Not to sell, OK in our tea.

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