Real honey vs sugarwater honey?
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  1. #1
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    Columbus, Indiana, USA
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    Default Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    New hives this year and my supers are packed full of capped "honey". How do I tell if this is really honey or just sugarwater backfilled and capped?
    honeyframe.jpg
    Newbeek starting w/2 Pkg hives (2019). Zone 6a Central Indiana

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  3. #2
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    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    Did you feed the colonies sugar syrup after you put on your surplus honey supers? If you did it is probable that there is syrup stored in them. If you had a good nectar flow in your area the stores will probably be a mix of nectar honey and sugar syrup. You can use this for your own use, but I would not sell any because you would be passing syrup off as honey. It is probably best to use what you have as food stores for the winter.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    So does it taste different? Different texture? Color? Is there a way to test it? I'll probably leave it for the winter stores...I'm dying to have a taste though...but would hate for it to be crappy.
    Newbeek starting w/2 Pkg hives (2019). Zone 6a Central Indiana

  5. #4
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    Feb 2017
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    Byron, Il, USA
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    It'll taste like honey, maybe a bit bland. I'd go ahead and use it myself, but not sell it. Depends on how much was fed sugar and how much foraged, and what was foraged.

    Why don't you just dig a spoon into a comb and taste it?

  6. #5
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    Dec 2017
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    Sweet, bland and no aroma.
    Taste for yourself.
    Feed to the bees.
    In the future - add dye to the syrup so you know what is in the comb.
    Last edited by GregV; 08-09-2019 at 08:50 AM.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  7. #6
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    Jun 2014
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    Warren County, NJ, USA
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    did you label your supers "HONEY" so the bees know not to put sugar syrup in those boxes?

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by COAL REAPER View Post
    did you label your supers "HONEY" so the bees know not to put sugar syrup in those boxes?
    Nope - I labeled them "SUPER"......so my bee's have really high self-esteem and make great honey.
    Newbeek starting w/2 Pkg hives (2019). Zone 6a Central Indiana

  9. #8

    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    If you have stored/capped 1:1 in the broodbox and the bees haven't used it all by the time supers are added, what are the chances they would move it to the super?

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    Once the syrup in the brood area is capped the bees are reluctant to uncap and remove it. Most movement is from cells that are still open when supers are added. This is why it is best to check food supply well in advance of adding supers. If feeding is done in a way that the bees are allowed to slowly take in the syrup most of it is eaten as a daily ration and not stored.
    42 + years - 24 colonies - IPM disciple - Naturally Skeptic

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by dd33 View Post
    If you have stored/capped 1:1 in the broodbox and the bees haven't used it all by the time supers are added, what are the chances they would move it to the super?
    You'll never find capped 1:1 syrup - it would ferment at such a weak concentration, just as nectar would ferment if it wasn't dessicated. It's far more likely around 3:1.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  12. #11
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    Default

    So I took a frame off and crushed the honey. Smells like honey; sticky and tastes fine too but it’s really clear and light colored.
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    Newbeek starting w/2 Pkg hives (2019). Zone 6a Central Indiana

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    That sure looks like syrup.

  14. #13
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    Columbus, Indiana, USA
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    Default

    I’m new and don’t know how to tell.
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    Newbeek starting w/2 Pkg hives (2019). Zone 6a Central Indiana

  15. #14
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    Hartford Ohio
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    Any doubt, feed back

  16. #15
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    How much "honey" are we talking about? If you have say 30#, I would keep it for personal consumption and feed what I did not use back to the bees in the Spring. While lack of color can be a clue, I thought that your area was known for producing Extra Light Amber (ELA) honey so that might not be a reliable indicator. Best bet going forward is to stop feeding before the supers go on and manage the frames of syrup still in the hive.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    JW - since these are 2 totally new package hives I'm planning on leaving everything for them over the winter. Both hives are fully built out with 2 deep brood boxes and 1 Med super each. I scraped and crushed two Super frames off each hive and got a total of 16 pints. I've been feeding 1:1 so they could build up comb. Once the supers were built out with comb I stopped feeding...so not sure if they simply shifted syrup around or not. Either way it looks, smells and tastes like honey (well better than store bought) so I'm keeping these first ones for me. BTW - my hives are in very remote farmland with nothing but open fields of clover, buckwheat, and wildflowers and no competition for miles.
    Newbeek starting w/2 Pkg hives (2019). Zone 6a Central Indiana

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    Find a few cells that are darker in color than the rest of the capped cells. Break them with your finger and taste it. Now you know what real honey tastes like. The lightest capped honey in the hive is probably from the sugar water. If you taste the sugar water honey, it will taste just like cheap store bought honey. The darker honey should be the real thing. Bees will not move honey from the brood frames to the supers but will move it from the supers to the brood frames. Next year, when the supers go on, stop feeding. Only extract from the supers, never from the brood frames. FYI, buckwheat honey is VERY dark with a very unique taste.

  19. #18
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    So did I harvest sugar water also? Stopped feeding before 3rd deep was added. This was harvested from that deep after they filled it all.
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  20. #19
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by Champy View Post
    JW - since these are 2 totally new package hives I'm planning on leaving everything for them over the winter. Both hives are fully built out with 2 deep brood boxes and 1 Med super each. I scraped and crushed two Super frames off each hive and got a total of 16 pints. I've been feeding 1:1 so they could build up comb. Once the supers were built out with comb I stopped feeding...so not sure if they simply shifted syrup around or not. Either way it looks, smells and tastes like honey (well better than store bought) so I'm keeping these first ones for me. BTW - my hives are in very remote farmland with nothing but open fields of clover, buckwheat, and wildflowers and no competition for miles.
    ok so now you are adding some pertinent information. Once you stopped feeding the filling of comb is likely the nectar. IF you swapped brood boxes and they rearrange stores and have super space available they would also likely move some Syrup to the supers. Your PIC looks like a 1/2 pint. 8 quarts from 4 frames is a good yield wink wink. I would go ahead and use it as honey. next year as soon as they start in the supers stop the feeding, or slow it to a trickle. the medium frames generally run close to a quart a frame, depending on spacing. Enjoy the honey and think about the winter needs of the hives . soon you will need to prep the hives for winter.
    GG

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Real honey vs sugarwater honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigdog6554 View Post
    So did I harvest sugar water also? Stopped feeding before 3rd deep was added. This was harvested from that deep after they filled it all.
    stopped feeding prior to adding the box you took the honey from. if yes, then likely most of the 3 deep is honey. only if they moved some around would they re-store syrup it up there. When you feed there is always a chance some of the "stored" honey has Sugar water in it. I would not sweat it too much, the Chinese do it all the time with Rice Syrup, "only for export" however. In MN you could likely stop feeding when the dandelions are in full bloom.
    GG

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