I fed heavily in the fall to prep for winter, and will possibly still have sugar filled combs in the spring. How do you know what combs to harvest when the time comes?? This is one of the things I don't like about a TBH.
I guess I never gave that any thought, I just take honey as the hive fills up. I leave the honey next to the brood nest for the bees but I don't worry about the source of the honey. Why is this a top bar issue? Don't you have the same question for langs?
I haven't used a lang yet, but from what I've read, you take the supers off and then feed. In a top bar hive, the bars all stay in. I don't want to harvest any bars that are half honey half sugar water. :-/
When you do your spring check ,(before any flow) any capped honey left will be from last year, and possibly your feed. Like cat said, move those bars close to the brood nest, and empty ones towards the back. That way when they fill up, you will know it is this seasons honey.
This was the first year for these bees, and they had no honey stores going into fall, hence the feeding. Hopefully, in years to come, I can just leave them what they need.
The colored syrup is a great idea if I do have to feed again. During my next inspection, I'll mark whatever bars have leftover sugar and move them next to the brood nest. It's still very cold in Philly, so no worries about confusing the old stuff with capped honey right now.
When eat sugar instead of nectar do they not process as they do nectar before before storing it? Are stores put down when feed is on truly sugar water or are they a form of what they store when collecting nectars?
I've got a similar problem. Capped syrup in the comb coming out of winter, and I really need the empty comb for brood. I've had good luck with pulling a bar, slicing the caps off with a knife and running it under warm/hot water. The jet on the sprayer works best to drive out the syrup. Set the bar on it's head over newspaper and blot with papertowel. Jiggle it a couple times to break the surface tension of the water, and blot with papertowel again until it's dry. Bees will clean out the rest for you. I actually left the top 1/4 with capped syrup and gave it back to the bees. They packed in a band of pollen and then filled up the bottom with eggs.
You do have to be careful that the water doesn't get too hot or the wax will start to melt. Of course, you don't need to do this if you are planning to split the hive, then it can become part of the nuc (or the Lang & package). I won't clean out all my combs like this, and the ones I know are sugar syrup, I will mark so I don't accidentally harvest them with the real honey. (Incidentally, they still make a very nice display for the county fair or farmers market).
I just want to suggest doing a taste test on your capped comb before Assuming it's not honey!
I took out a couple of partially filled and partially capped combs a week ago from the back of my TB when my bees proved they had overwintered and were building up during good weather. I'd fed a lot last Fall too. I figured ALL the back combs were syrup. I easily tore off all the watery uncapped areas and a lick of the finger proved it was syrup. BUT I set aside the capped comb I'd ripped off into a bowl to "check". OMG I ended up with the most Wonderful 4 pounds of med-dark HONEY! It was a total shock.
My bees flummoxed me Again. I swear they capped the Real nectar-honey last Fall and they Left the stored syrup uncapped On The Same Combs. I'm sure glad I checked!!!
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