Ignoring frames full of honey?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    SE Michigan USDA 6a (Macomb Co.)
    Posts
    101

    Default Ignoring frames full of honey?

    Strange behavior it seems to me, but hopefully somebody with more experience can help answer this one... I had one dead-out this year, and looking through the hive, there was a ton of new brood and bees all over the hive, not well clustered. I presume that the weird warm weather we had for a bit earlier tricked the hive to wake up early, and they became productive too soon, right before another cold snap. Too much brood + too few bees to keep them all warm = death?

    Besides the point though, I have probably 8 frames full of honey, bee bread, pollen, etc, so I stacked them all up openly near my other hives, and figured they'd all get robbed out nearly instantly like usual. But, after a few days, only a few bees here and there seem interested, and they are pulling in a ton of pollen from foraging. Perhaps they are just more interested in pollen due to the protein content, so they can raise more brood? Seems strange to ignore such a huge cache of food literally 20 feet in front of the door... Is this unusual?
    USDA 6a, 8 frame equipment

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    5,456

    Default Re: Ignoring frames full of honey?

    Honey has to be uncapped by the nurse bees and diluted with water to be used. Someone has to haul the water. If there is some nectar coming in they prefer the nectar. Scratching cappings off sometimes helps bees start to use up honey in frames in hive or move it up to clear cells for queen to lay.
    Frank

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
    Posts
    1,157

    Default Re: Ignoring frames full of honey?

    Not sure I would stack them next to the bees, Once bees start getting honey and it runs out they may start robbing the weakest hive you have.
    If you plan to do any splits use the frames to fill boxes.

    If not place the honey under a strong hive, bees do not like honey under the brood nest, they will move it up, into a super of comb if you put one there.
    I do enough splits I just use up the comb with stores in the splits.

    Sometimes if i put an empty super on a hive then the honey up top they will remove it , need a non comb gap to convince them to go get it. Once flow starts they will build the gap in so timing is critical. could be something else to try.
    Good Luck

    GG

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    Location
    Bellflower,Montgomery County, Mo
    Posts
    80

    Default Re: Ignoring frames full of honey?

    Gray Goose has good advice for you. I only let them clean out frames more than 100 feet away from active hives.

    Do you know what your mite load was going into the winter? Healthy hives often make it through the winter. Sometimes big hives die out in Feb or March if the weather goes back and forth. Either one of these or both may have been the cause.

    I just pulled 8 frames of honey off of my hives when I broke them down to a single deep and added a queen excluder. I got 20 lbs of honey and I was happy as I was down to a couple of crystalized jars left for me.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Ignoring frames full of honey?

    Also, just freeze them and use in fall and give them to a weak(er) hives. Freezing will prevent pollen from spoiling and honey getting crystallized.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    SE Michigan USDA 6a (Macomb Co.)
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: Ignoring frames full of honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Braun View Post
    Do you know what your mite load was going into the winter? Healthy hives often make it through the winter. Sometimes big hives die out in Feb or March if the weather goes back and forth. Either one of these or both may have been the cause.
    Thanks for all the helpful info! I was already considering using some of this honey as essentially "frame feeders" for my splits, so that will work well, and I can freeze the rest as well for later. Definitely they will come in handy. I'll keep food further away too, but neither of my hives seem very weak just now fortunately.

    As for varroa (thanks for the OAV tool you sold me johno, works great!), I treated with OAV every 3 days for the entire month of October, and then we got a real cold spell early in November, so they were good there. I also treated 3 times earlier this year days it wasn't super cold, so hopefully that helped as well. I did not do an alcohol wash, not no dead mites on the boards afterward, so it seems the mites are quite low. Only after this about 3 weeks did I notice the deadout, so I think they just got a bit ahead of themselves before another cold snap hit.
    USDA 6a, 8 frame equipment

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