I have approximately 1.5 gallons of honey that was collected from cut outs at the end of last season. Some of it was rather strong flavored from goldenrod (my wife says it stinks) but tastes good to me. It had bees and a few larvae in it when placed in a refrigerator, that was later strained out. My hives are very short of resources, but the strongest hive appears to just have started gathering nectar. Would this be ok to dilute this honey to half strength to feed to the hive instead of sugar syrup (1:1). It has been in the refrigerator since being collected and strained.
I'd go with the syrup. All the beeks I know tell me that it's not a good idea to feed honey to a hive unless it is honey the hive produced, or it came from a hive that you absolutely know to be disease free. Just something to think about.
If you are going to feed it to them, I wouldn't bother diluting it. I gave my bees some of their own honey back this spring (about 8oz obtained from draining cappings all through the winter) and they completely cleaned it up in short order.
I save honey for my hives every fall. I bring it in the house for a day to let it get room temperature then put it full strength back in my hives. I don't use anyone else's honey, just honey from my own hives. My girls love it.
I've heard all the horror stories too about feeding honey I only feed honey to my bees and it doesn't matter which hive it came out of or cutout if I am the one who inspected it when harvested. On average I feed a 100 - 200 lbs. of honey during spring and 1st splits. I do take the precaution of freezing it for several months and I'm not even sure it is needed but its a handy way of storing it. We don't have a dearth until the first hard freeze of the year so there is no need to feed before winter. We've had pollen collection for 5 weeks and now we have nectar flow as well. I don't dilute it either.
Exactly what I was wondering Shinbone. Do you put it in a tray of some sort and place it on top of the frames? Do you leave it in a jar with lid and invert it like you do for sugar? Do you put it in a frame feeder? Inquiring minds would like to know.
Diluting it makes it ferment quickly. I don't dilute it. Feed it in a frame feeder only if you have floats and such (they will get stuck worse in honey than syrup) or in inverted jar or can methods it works fine. I've fed it in a miller feeder, but again, more of them seem to get stuck in the honey than they do in syrup. The problem with any of them is that honey tends to set off robbing.
I put any excess honey and uncapped wax in a 5 gal bucket and place it 50 feet away from bee yard. As for frames of honey I add those to splits if they are needed and process the rest for my consumption.
I call this honey syrup. In a non stick pan or pot I warm 1 cup of filtered water.
Then poured in 1/3 cup of honey to make a 1:1 sweet syrup while stirring to dissolve
all the honey. Then I poured this mixture into a plastic gallon bag put onto a stiff small
cardboard box cut down to 1/2" tall. The bag is open with a narrow gap but not too wide to drown the bees.
I set this small tray inside the hive on top of the frames and put another empty hive box over it.
To make the ~1:1 sweetness I taste it a little and if need to will add more fresh water
to further dilute it. Because this mixture will turn bad within 2 days, I only make 1 small batch about
half gallon enough for my small colony to take all in within a day or 2. This is the easiest way
to feed honey back to the hive when nothing is flowing out there. If feed full honey then they needed
more water to dilute them. With honey syrup they needed more time to cure along with whatever nectar
they have collected out there. All other methods mentioned I had tried with disastrous results. Sticky honey
all over the hive bottom and bees inside. Bee careful that you feed too much syrup that they back filled the
hive nest. This method is good when there are many drones inside the hive that they eat a lot too.
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