A question about feeding
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    El Sobrante, CA
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    Default A question about feeding

    Hi...I've kept bees in the SF Bay Area for about 7 years, and about 4 of those years, my hives needed feeding in the fall. I've always used sugar water 1:2 and that seems to work ok.

    Note: I'm a backyard beekeeper with 3 hives..not large-scale

    This year, my hives produced a bunch of early season honey..so much that my supply exceeded demand and I ended up with about 1/2 gallon of filtered honey that I feel is to 'ugly' to sell...it's not fully crystallized..but has started to turn cloudy and you can see the crystals starting to form. I can't eat it all myself, so I was wondering if I could heat it up (like sugar water) and then let cool and feed back to the bees instead of the sugar water...or as a mixture.

    Any experience with this or thoughts on this? I don't want to do anything that will mess them up...

    Thanks!

    Julie

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    Congratulations on having more honey than you can use. You may do as you indicated but, have you considered making a small batch of mead? A little something to warm you up when it gets cold?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
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    May 2017
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    Spokane, Washington, USA
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Congratulations on having more honey than you can use. You may do as you indicated but, have you considered making a small batch of mead? A little something to warm you up when it gets cold?
    Yeah, make mead!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Grand Rapids MI USA
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    I extracted frames from deadouts last winter (because of sugar contamination), one of my buds is making mead with it
    Rod

  6. #5
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    Mead ? Life is full of these little coincidences - only today there was a write-up on the BBC website about a guy making mead in the Wye Valley (on the border between England and Wales) ... : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-50069145

    No high-tech; no crowd-funding; no 'Save the Bees'; no dubious claims regarding anything at all - just an old-fashioned down-to-Earth idea targeted at the right market.

    Gotta be worth making mead - maybe that could become a more successful enterprise than selling honey ?
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    All this talk of mead, including my own suggestion, prompted a quick trip to the local homebrew suppy store. $125 USD later and I now have a 6 gallon plastic primary fermenter, a 5 gallon glass secondary fermenter, plugs, airlocks, racking equipment, a hydrometer, yeast, nutrients, energizer, and bisulfite tablets. Did not forget the sanitizer to make sure all the equipment is clean either. Woohoo. Somebody is ready to start making 5 gallons of the world's oldest alcohic beverage.

    Jewel1130, if this idea interests you, most of the cost was in the large carboys. You could use 1 gallon jugs for the honey you have. The actual ingredients, yeast, nutrients, and energizer are very inexpensive.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    JW - do keep us posted as to progress (and eventual success, of course ) - I'm ok at making elderberry wine, and have a few gallons of plum wine on the go right now - but mead is something I've never tried making ...
    'best
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  9. #8
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    JW - do keep us posted as to progress (and eventual success, of course ) - I'm ok at making elderberry wine, and have a few gallons of plum wine on the go right now - but mead is something I've never tried making ...
    'best
    LJ
    Not to hijack this thread any longer,

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...ABV-Sweet-mead
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,842

    Default Re: A question about feeding

    Who cares what the honey looks like? Ok, then liquify it if cloudy bothers you.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Fenton, MI
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Who cares what the honey looks like?
    Put it on toast and the looks improve a thousand fold
    The question is what to do, and the answer, as always, is complicated by a muddle of reason, emotion, and doubt.

  12. #11
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by jewel1130 View Post
    I can't eat it all myself, so I was wondering if I could heat it up (like sugar water) and then let cool and feed back to the bees instead of the sugar water...or as a mixture.

    Any experience with this or thoughts on this? I don't want to do anything that will mess them up...

    Thanks!

    Julie
    Another feeding option:
    - let it crystallize all way (so it is thick as in "thick paste").
    - you can feed with the thick honey just the same (similar to the hard sugar feed)
    - place the thick honey into a thin plastic beg (make few slits)
    - of just make a honey patty directly onto a paper towel/parchment paper (if the honey will hold the shape)
    - place the bag/patty directly onto the frames
    - done.

    Bees should take such feed the best during the cold season (similar to MC feeding).
    Routinely used in Eastern Euro.

    PS: may or may not work in a CA location (may not IF the winter is too warm).
    PPS: a good thing - it the bees don't take it - just take the honey back for later use or many other uses (thick honey will not go bad).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  13. #12
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    Jun 2013
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    Fenton, MI
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by jewel1130 View Post
    ~~~~ I ended up with about 1/2 gallon of filtered honey ~~~~I can't eat it all myself
    Julie -
    1/2 gallon of honey really isn't all that much. It lasts forever.
    I'm thinking you crush and strained some honey that was in some old brood comb or something (hense the hesitation to eat it as well as the "off" color)

    What's the story on this honey?
    The question is what to do, and the answer, as always, is complicated by a muddle of reason, emotion, and doubt.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    All you all are talking about making mead but didn't you notice that OP is in California? Mead contains substances known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects.

    Zone 6B

  15. #14
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    Apr 2017
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    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: A question about feeding

    I appreciate all the replys, but we were getting way off topic from the original post. I moved the pertinant posts to a different thread in "Home Brewing". Stay with the discussion and follow my progress here:

    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...ABV-Sweet-mead

    Thanks!
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Salt Lake City, UT
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    1,127

    Default Re: A question about feeding

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    ...most of the cost was in the large carboys. You could use 1 gallon jugs for the honey you have.
    You should buy bottled water to make the mead and you can use the same one gallon jug the water comes in to make the mead. Just don't get the milk jug kind of bottle, get it in the the more durable clear PET bottle.
    Zone 6B

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
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    52

    Default Re: A question about feeding

    I try to never move honey between hives. Honey carries pathogens. I do no open feed "wet" frames to bee after extraction. I do move some honey with a frame of brood if it cannot be avoided. If a hive or nuc needs feed I feed 2:1 sugar to water by weight. It is clean, especially for wintering-over purposes. The USDA report shows a significant increased bee life versus honey and HFCS ( good) and Grape syrup( awful).

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