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I am in Tn and was wondering if everybody feeds in the winter and if so does feeding Sugar water hurt the quality of your honey. I have always heard that if you stop feeding when it is warm enough for the bees to forage then your honey will be whatever the bees forage on. Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks in advance.
Josh
 

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I think you are thinking beyond the traditional three months ahead.
I think that feeding to get hives up to winter weight should have no effect on the quality of honey produced 6 or 8 months later.
I think that feeding hives to keep them alive so they can survive and make a crop of honey the next year is better than the alternative regardless of the potential miniscule, if at all, contamination/adulteration of what honey might get produced by a hive.

I don't think "everybody feeds in the winter". To me, feeding during the winter, unless you are a commercial beekeeper doing so to build up your hives for almonds or early splitting, is an emergency situation and the "rules" be ****ed. You should be feeding well before Winter to get hives up to weight so they have stores to feed on through the Winter. That's what I think.
 

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Mark has sage advice to which I'll add only a little - take the time to find out what blooms you can depend on in early spring for buildup. If you don't have a flow you can absolutely depend on then you will want to make sure your bees have their winter and spring food in the hive before winter.
 

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Quite often I get the impression that folks find me more like three letters beyond wise. If you get my drift.
 

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I'd like to add one more point to what Mark has to say as well. If you're feeding your bees and worried about "sugar honey", DON'T extract honey from the brood nest. As the winter weight is most commonly in the brood nest, leave it for the bees. Surplus honey is what we extract, which is most commonly ABOVE the brood nest. As winter gets closer the bees are left their brood nests and they start to backfill from top down, this gives them their food for the winter, and it doesn't matter if you live N,S,E,W when it comes to that.
 

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And, since nobody's mentioned it so far, if you have ANY worries that your hives are light going into winter, add a candy board or mountain camp sugar to them late in the season. Bees cannot take up sugar syrup once the temperatures start falling into the low 50s, so feed liquid before then or sugar after that, but make sure they have stores! Nothing is sadder than to open a hive in spring and discover it starved.

JMO


Rusty
 

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> was wondering if everybody feeds in the winter

Syrup cannot be fed in the winter unless the syrup (not just the ambient temperature) gets up to 50 F. Where I am this seldom happens. IF you could feed syrup in the winter, it would be a very bad idea as the moisture would cause major issues with condensation. So the answer is pretty much NOBODY feed in the winter unless they live somewhere that the daytime temps are in the 60s F and nighttime temps are in the 40s F at the lowest.

> and if so does feeding Sugar water hurt the quality of your honey.

I'd worry about the microbes in the gut of the bee first... but bees move things around all the time. Just because the supers are not on when you feed does not mean syrup won't end up in your supers.

> I have always heard that if you stop feeding when it is warm enough for the bees to forage then your honey will be whatever the bees forage on.

Mostly....

>Let me know your thoughts.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm
 

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My limited experience shows that a healthy two-deep hive, without supers, will consume 8-10 lbs of sugar fondant per winter month here in NJ. It would be somewhat less in TN.
 
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