Is there a problem in giving bees a bit of fermented honey?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Jonesborough TN USA
    Posts
    45

    Default Is there a problem in giving bees a bit of fermented honey?

    I had taken some frames off a hive we were combining. The frames were mostly uncapped honey. I wrapped the frames in plastic and placed in freezer to kill the stages of wax moth and hive beetles. Then I removed them because I do not have room in the freezer for long term storage and then left in the frames in the garage. Because I had a hive that was low on honey stores I unwrapped a few frames and put them on the hive. Some of the honey in the cells was fermenting because you could see the honey in the cells foaming. And the frames smelled like yeast. I put the frames on the hive anyway. Is there a problem in giving bees fermented honey? These frames were brood frames not frames that I would use to harvest honey later. But I wondered what effect it would have on the bees. Also there was a bit of honey in the plastic bag the frame was wrapped in which also smelled fermented but I added it to the sugar water I was feeding them. Any problem?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Butler Co, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    449

    Default Re: Is there a problem in giving bees a bit of fermented honey?

    I've had hives put up a medium super of nectar that fermented. I take the super from the hive, and give 1 frame to each strong hive untill I'm out of frames. I don't think it's good for them, but a strong hive can fix just a single frame.

    However, I have only done this first of August. This time of year is a different situation.
    Hindsight is 20/10, not 20/20...
    After the fact, I always know what didn't work.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Northern Colorado, USA
    Posts
    587

    Default Re: Is there a problem in giving bees a bit of fermented honey?

    One of my coworkers told me a few of his bees took some wine one day, then they were a bit drunk. It sounded like they only got a few drops of wine and only the bees that drank it got drunk.

    I would dump out the sugar water. If you added fermenting honey to it you are going to have fermented sugar water fairly soon. I do not think this will be good for the bees.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    6,102

    Default Re: Is there a problem in giving bees a bit of fermented honey?

    I've done it but not in great quantity. There used to be conversation that it was either a CURE for dysentery or it CAUSED dysentery and I'm inclined to believe that while it may cause them to fly and defecate more often it certainly isn't a cure. I'd feed a little and make sure they can fly if they need to.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,906

    Default Re: Is there a problem in giving bees a bit of fermented honey?

    We pilots have a saying, "eight hours from bottle to throttle". How are you going to make sure your girls are not going to try flying while drunk?

    Like the others, I believe the bees can tolerate a small amount of fermented honey. I do not think it should be part of a regular diet, nor given in large quantities. Safest bet is to wash the fermented honey out and just feed syrup.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

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