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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    lee county, fl, usa
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    Default article feedback request

    This is from Bee Informed and states that feeding bees with frames of honey is not good. By mid August I'm checking hives and when I find ones without stores, generally nuks, I pull honey frame from strong hive and give to weak. Especially when I know that it's a hive that didn't get built up enough before dearth. If it's a failing queen hive, I pull queen and combine.

    Am I hurting my bees with the honey frame feed? I haven't tracked whether I have lost those particular hives. Has anyone else noticed a problem?

    http://beeinformed.org/2014/06/feedi...ase-mortality/
    Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Prvb 16:24
    March 2010; +/- 30 hives, TF

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,217

    Default Re: article feedback request

    >Am I hurting my bees with the honey frame feed? I haven't tracked whether I have lost those particular hives. Has anyone else noticed a problem?

    I haven't fed my bees anything else for the last six years...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: article feedback request

    it's reading too much into the survey results to make the claim that feeding honey will cause greater losses.

    for example, it's not known if the colonies that were fed the honey were the ones that didn't survive, or if the honey was taken from the colonies that didn't survive and fed to the colonies that did survive.

    most colonies generally shouldn't require feeding if the beekeeper leaves enough stores for the bees. one exception is a spring nuc that didn't have time to put enough away to get them through the summer dearth. i wouldn't hestitate to give them a frame of honey from a strong colony.

    a colony that fails to produce at least enough stores for itself probably has something wrong with it. feeding a colony low on stores when other colonies have plenty could just be prolonging the inevitable. this may be part of why the survey results suggest that feeding either didn't improve survival or worsened it. it could very well be that it's not the feeding, but the reason feeding was necessary in the first place.

    it's interesting that the lowest losses were found among beekeepers that didn't feed, and there are a number of possibilities for why that may be the case, but again the information isn't detailed enough to drawn any firm conclusions.

    hopefully next year's survey will get more detailed so these nuances can be teased out.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Boundary Creek NB Canada
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    59

    Default Re: article feedback request

    If you put honey into a hive that is sealed is not good.You should uncap a large amount off it first

  5. #5
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    Jul 2010
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    moravia,ny
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    Default Re: article feedback request

    anyone that believes this article is a fool. nuf said.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Elizabethton, Tn
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    341

    Default Re: article feedback request

    Quote Originally Posted by arnoldhicks View Post
    If you put honey into a hive that is sealed is not good.You should uncap a large amount off it first
    Yeah, cause bees can't uncap the honey they cap...
    It takes a family to raise a family, it takes a village to really screw that up... Djei5

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
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    Default Re: article feedback request

    The bee informed survey is certainly a valuable, and interesting resource. But imo it is necessary to consider what lies behind it.

    Statistically hives that were not fed had higher survival than those that were fed. Bear in mind that a lot of participants in the survey are relatively new beekeepers. Commercial beekeepers rarely feed honey, preferring syrup, so they are out of this mix. It's likely those feeding honey included a disproportionate number of nubees who are likely to screw their hive up one way or another anyway. The hives that were not fed honey likely had higher survival because they were not fed, cos they already had enough stores, hence well prepared hives more likely to survive.

    If the question had been what was the highest survival of only the starving hives, those fed honey or those not, the answer would have been the opposite, those fed would have had better odds. IE, if you find your hive starving, feed it.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
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    287

    Default Re: article feedback request

    Oldtimer, you are right. The survey mixes (and the article confuses) correlation with causation. This is something that able researchers recognize and have to deal with regularly. There is nothing wrong with the survey, but it must be understood. It is similar to concluding based on survey data that getting multiple DWI's tends to cause alcoholism or that getting free school lunches tends to cause increased dropout rates. I would use carefully selected and well placed frames of honey to feed a colony that is reasonably calculated to fail if not fed. Cheers.
    Last edited by Riverderwent; 08-21-2014 at 06:32 PM.
    Inscrutable little bugs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Millbury, MA, USA
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    Default Re: article feedback request

    I find my bees winter better on syrup/fondant than honey.

  10. #10
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    May 2013
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    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
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    Default Re: article feedback request

    "I find my bees winter better on syrup/fondant than honey."

    Do they do better for you with fondant and with syrup than they do with sufficient supplies of their own capped honey in frames?
    Inscrutable little bugs.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
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    287

    Default Re: article feedback request

    deleted -- same post posted twice
    Inscrutable little bugs.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
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    273

    Default Re: article feedback request

    Three points about this article.
    1) The writer definitely has a bias.
    2) The data seems to prove the point. What is the source of the data? It seems to be a survey. While the results seem to have some validity. I don't see any evidence of a control group or background on the respondents.
    3) If disease is a concert the frames of honey can be frozen. They should also be uncapped.

    As an aside. Wasting $8 a pound honey to replace sugar water seems kind of foolish, unless the honey was produced while sugar water was being fed and is not suitable for sale.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Millbury, MA, USA
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    Default Re: article feedback request

    Quote Originally Posted by Riverderwent View Post
    "I find my bees winter better on syrup/fondant than honey."

    Do they do better for you with fondant and with syrup than they do with sufficient supplies of their own capped honey in frames?
    yes

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: article feedback request

    the thinking is that in the far north where the winters are long and cold and the bees may go months without a cleansing flight that there is less dysentery with sugar feed vs. honey because of the syrup not having solids thus making it easier to digest.

    outside of that consideration is the finding that honey contains nutrients not found in syrup that augment the bee's natural immunity against pathogens and toxins. a honey diet is a common denominator among treatment free beeks and the thinking is that it may be part of why those bees tolerate mite loads.

    it's another one of those 'beekeeping is local' considerations, which includes the priority or not of maximizing the honey harvest.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Maple Valley, WA
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    165

    Default Re: article feedback request

    You always have to be careful when reading an article that is interpreting the results in someone else's study. Does the actual data support the conclusions they are drawing?

    The results are in response to a survey and ask very generally:

    Which, if any of the following, did you apply to a majority of your colonies between April 1, 2012 and March, 2013?
    -Candy
    -Dry sugar
    -High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
    -Honey
    -Sugar syrup
    -Wet supers
    From the start, this isn't a study of hive mortality so much as it is a study of management practice. In other words, it isn't a controlled experiment that is examining the efficacy of various feed types. Knowing that, you can read the data little differently. You can't quite conclude that feeding honey is harmful, as the interpreted article suggests, but you can conclude that respondents who feed honey as part of their management practice were less successful than other respondents.

    It's also important to not read into the survey your own biases. The data doesn't support the assertion that the survey was taken by newbees, for example. It doesn't appear that the question of experience was asked. You can look at the data to determine average numbers of hives managed and see, for example, that in 2013 the average number of hives managed by those feeding honey was only 9.9 while the average number of hives by those feeding HFCS was 1521. You can probably draw some reasonable conclusions from that about scale of operations, like the respondents were not limited to backyard hobbyists. But you can't conclude a thing about years of experience.

  16. #16
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: article feedback request

    Quote Originally Posted by cryptobrian View Post
    You can't quite conclude that feeding honey is harmful, as the interpreted article suggests, but you can conclude that respondents who feed honey as part of their management practice were less successful than other respondents.
    agreed brian. i thought that the following statement about changing management practices was stretching the interpretation of the findings a bit:

    "Up to now, I thought I was helping my colonies when I provided supplemental carbohydrates. In fact, I have jars of syrup on several newly installed packages right now (5/12/2014). But these results will definitely change my practices where honey is concerned and may change my practices where syrup is concerned as well. Why would I want to go to all that extra work to end up hurting my colonies?"

    (emphasis mine)

    i noticed that the author has a beekeeping background but his credentialing is outside of entomology. i am thankful for the survey and the effort put forth by the folks involved. i feel that it has helped to give direction for more detailed scientific inquiry, but we do have to be careful about reading too much or too little into the findings.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,217

    Default Re: article feedback request

    I quit feeding honey because it leads to robbing. Robbing then leads to a colony failure often enough... I do not think this is because honey is bad for bees but robbing is definitely bad for bees... Giving them capped combs of honey does not have this fault...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Maple Valley, WA
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    165

    Default Re: article feedback request

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Giving them capped combs of honey does not have this fault...
    And that may be a very important distinction, not made in the survey.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
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    2,905

    Default Re: article feedback request

    I found the survey results interesting but until the reasons behind the survey results can be explained I'm not going to believe the sky is falling if a beekeeper chooses to equalize hives in the fall.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,079

    Default Re: article feedback request

    Quote Originally Posted by bevy's honeybees View Post
    Am I hurting my bees with the honey frame feed? Has anyone else noticed a problem?
    Nope and nope.

    What I do know is all the problems I've had with feeding. The longer I go, the less I do it, the less I want to do it, and the more I feel it's actually detrimental. Feeding is treating against starvation, and it invites more problems than it fixes.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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