Making good honey - Page 3
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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Upperco, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Making good honey

    I used to be a small scale commercial guy selling through a local grocery store. Got fed up with the hassles, but mine sold out as soon as it was stocked--within a week or two and they always asked for more. We used to do more of all of it. Entered State Fair with honey and capped frames and wax products. One year we had dark honey for no particular reason and it won the blue ribbon--who knew.... Now we just keep some hives for the fun of it.

    Nobody asks about feeding the bees but some want to make sure I don't filter it--they want all natural, so of course I smile and nod politely. I dont know what all the charm is about leaving wax bits and bee wings in the honey, seems like it would cause constipation

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  3. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,379

    Default Re: Making good honey

    These guys said it better than I seem to be able to.

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...t=feeding+flow

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  4. #43
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Vernon, AZ. USA
    Posts
    627

    Default

    If you don't care, there will be just enough nectar to taint your syrup. The bees eat much more 1 to 1 mix. The heavy 2 to 1 mix will get stored up more readily. That is 1 reason for feeding thick syrup , it gets put away in the fall. In spring they do that too. As to quality, you have to stop feeding weeks before a flow, to get actual honey. Not syrup.

  5. #44
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Syracuse, UT
    Posts
    197

    Default Re: Making good honey

    If I put some sugar on the top bars of the top box in winter to provide some extra feed, would any of that get stored? I'm trying not to feed them any sugar with the exception of what I just described because I don't want any syrup stored. I'm managing my hives Warre style so most the "supers" are on all the time.

    Couple of years ago, someone came into a large quantity of some old candy cane and did open feeding with it (illegal in Northern Utah). It cause some damage in the area ($100-$200k I believe is what I read) and dyed people's honey and bees red! Probaby tasted fine and could have been a Christmas novelty or something but it couldn't be sold as honey.
    Last edited by blamb61; 07-14-2018 at 10:27 PM.

  6. #45
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Stockholm, NJ, USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: Making good honey

    every time I hear someone boasting about harvesting hundreds of pounds from a hive in a single season, I immediately think sugar syrup is the reason for their bountiful harvest. I live in a forested area with basswood, sumac, tulip and many other bee plants and the most I have harvested was 150 lbs between 6 hives. Just recently, I harvested 60 lbs from one overwintered hive that I did not harvest last year, and did not feed this past spring. This past spring, I also noticed that when there is a flow, the bees did not take the sugar syrup and I had to throw them out because they turned to vinegar.

  7. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Scott county, Arkansas, Usa
    Posts
    1,379

    Default Re: Making good honey

    Blamb61,

    I don't know about Warre hives. I think there is a Warre hive section of the forum where you might get some help.

    Good luck,
    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  8. #47
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    St. Michael, MN
    Posts
    689

    Default Re: Making good honey

    Bees view sugar water as nectar, and will store it and cure it just as they do nectar. They will mix it all together. As others have said, use a bit of food coloring in the syrup and it will show you exactly where they are putting it. Green works well. About 4-8 drops per gallon. Last year, I stopped feeding when I put the supers on. Literally the same day. When I extracted, my honey had a slight green tinge to it. The bees had moved some of their stores up from the brood nest into the super. It obviously wasn't much because the color was so slight, and it tasted like honey. I kept it to use for myself.

  9. #48
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Upperco, Maryland, USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: Making good honey

    Quote Originally Posted by roberto487 View Post
    every time I hear someone boasting about harvesting hundreds of pounds from a hive in a single season, I immediately think sugar syrup is the reason for their bountiful harvest. Just recently, I harvested 60 lbs from one overwintered hive that I did not harvest last year, and did not feed this past spring. This past spring, I also noticed that when there is a flow, the bees did not take the sugar syrup and I had to throw them out because they turned to vinegar.
    I feel pretty successful getting one 9 frame medium honey super from each hive, and my hives sit on a 40 acre re-forested property LOADED with great sources of nectar. On the other hand, when I was inspecting every ten days and doing everything I could to prevent swarming I sometimes had hives that just blew up in population who could bring in incredible amounts. But all that inspecting comes at the risk of killing the queen and more importantly I have lots of other things to be doing so I do what I can with the time I have.

    I too have found that during the flow in good weather, the bees ignore anything left in feeders and I too end up dumping it out. There have been years when I poured off more than they took, but I'd rather be safe than sorry I hadn't fed.

  10. #49
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    calhoun, GA USA
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Making good honey

    I'm new and kind of dumb too, so please don't take this wrong. If we're that new then our hives probably are too, should we even be taking honey from a hive so young?

  11. #50
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,216

    Default Re: Making good honey

    It is sometimes possible to get a fair honey harvest from a new hive. It helps if it is a nuc acquired early in the season. A June package is best left with what they collect.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  12. #51
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
    Posts
    806

    Default Re: Making good honey

    Quote Originally Posted by AHudd View Post
    Beekeepers everywhere fight this perception. I hope you do not sell this "honey" unless it is labeled as adulterated.

    Of course if you don't sell it then it is none of my business.

    Alex
    Got another beekeeper less than 1 mile from our hives who open feeds almost all year. I would expect that my bees have visited her feeders many times and stored her sugar water in my supers. Am not able nor do I care to find some way to check to see if my honey that is sold is "pure". I sell my honey as Local Honey, eat it, sell it, share and give away honey every year. My friends, family, and customers love it and I am not worried about it.

  13. #52
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Dover Arkansas
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Making good honey

    Groundhwg,
    Thanks for a bit of reality I have read all the comments and while I hope to make the best honey possible. I find overall the reality is you don't know where bees get their nectar. Old coke can sugar from trash. Or left over stores from past year in brood chamber. I want to make the best honey possible so I think your statement as Local Honey would be the most accurate.

  14. #53
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Ozark, AL
    Posts
    806

    Default Re: Making good honey

    DB,
    Thanks and not for the kind words but because of what you stated here (post #52) and earlier in this thread. Each beekeeper can only control his/her on hives while doing the best they can produce honey, save and raise their bees and while we might not like the way someone else is feeding, treating, or killing their bees most need to lighten up and take care of their own business. Heard my Grand Dad say many times; "You can not control every situation, but you can control yourself in any situation."

  15. #54

    Default Re: Making good honey

    I gotta ask....why do you feed your bees all the time?

  16. #55
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    sparta, tn
    Posts
    111

    Default Re: Making good honey

    The suggestion to put a bit of green food coloring in the syrup is what I was told to do as well. It is really strange to see capped honey with green in it. It really shows you where the syrup goes in the frames. It is a great way to know what frames not to extract, too.

  17. #56
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Dover Arkansas
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Making good honey

    Just spent the last couple of days extracting honey from four hives. Got about 60 pounds. It is very dark. Probably because it is from last year. I am sure because I feed my bees a lot its not pure honey. Sure taste good. I will reduce my sugar water after learning from you guys. I want my bees to be healthy. I think the green food coloring is a good ideal. Just need to understand that bees can rob from trash or other human sugar products that you have no control over.

  18. #57
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,144

    Default Re: Making good honey

    So in this video (I have it posted under my "deep hives" thread as relevant to the chest hives)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGRkmd0fx3M

    ...the old keeper tells a story...

    He sold a frame of sugar honey to some locals (as a practical joke!)
    In a bit, he went to them to disclose the deal and took a replacement honey along.
    Well, they never believed him and were just totally please with the "sweet, clear, and delicious" real honey they originally got.
    The old keeper just left shaking his head.
    People have no clue; all they want and care about - sugar.
    That's what he told the video maker.

    This is one reason I decided to finally do my own bees (again).
    I don't trust anyone anymore with my food (bee products included).
    Just shame.

    PS: really, really hoping no open feeding is going on in my area; i would be really annoyed.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Ukrainian frame experimentation.

  19. #58
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Garden City S, NY
    Posts
    70

    Default Re: Making good honey

    My deep honey super is very close to being full all i can think about is honey thats tinged with sugar syrup. I'm not going to sell it but definitely want to give some away. How much do you think made it into the super. I'd have to think they were eating a good deal of it and not just storing it in the super. Also, since it was only a 1:1 ratio mixture, doesn't that mean that the volume that was actually stored is a decent amount less since technically the water content would be reduced down to 15/17%. So 8 ounces of syrup would only end up being as 4.6 ounces (1 cup of 1:1 syrup = 4 ounces water, 4 ounces of sugar. Water gets reduced down to .6 ounces yielding a reduced amount to be capped of 4.6. Is that a good ball park figure? If a ten frame deep can yield 5 gallons of honey then if all 6 cups of sugar syrup i fed them was stored then my harvest would only contain about 5% sugar syrup. I guess thats not bad right and thats assuming they stored it all, used none for food. Sorry, i'm just paranoid. Luckily i added a second super (medium) and they are already drawing out comb and storing nectar. Maybe that batch will be more "pure"

  20. #59
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Dover Arkansas
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Making good honey

    There have been several comments about the quality of honey. I have learned a lot. One of the things I learned is there is no exact standard for pure honey. It is legal to add corn syrup to honey and still call it pure honey. I think local honey is by far the most honest label. I am sure we all want to make the best honey possible. I will certainly reduce my feeding this coming spring. I may even use food color just for my information. I think after some research that we all over obsess about honey quality. I will continue to do the best I can but protect my hives from starving.

  21. #60
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Spring, Texas
    Posts
    227

    Default Re: Making good honey

    I was surprised with the two gallons I got because it was a lot darker than I thought it would be. For me I did a last fall deep frame from the nuc honey and mixed a little of the other with it to have half a gallon. The honey tasted pretty good but then the two gallons did not taste bad either it did have a definite flavor.

    I was surprised how dark the "sugar" honey was so I do not know what all was mixed with it but I plan to feed it back to the splits to speed up getting both hives running strong again. It tasted pretty good with what ever the bees mixed with it and there are a lot of different plants blooming in my subdivision too.

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