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I read the quote below at this site:
http://www.permies.com/t/32735/sepp-holzer/Holzer-Style-Log-Bee-Hive
It is someone sharing a method of Sepp Holzer's (well known permaculture figure):

"Robbing honey in the fall often leaves bees without adequate stores for the winter, forcing beekeepers to feed sugar. If you wait to harvest until the spring, and harvest the only the excess stores, it not only ensures that the bees have enough winter stores but the honey has now been cured in the hive. Sepp said this produces a higher quality, better tasting honey. As with everything else, nature provides all the answers to the keen observer. "

I am reading Michael Bush's "Practical Beekeeper" and he says he feeds sugar water rather than honey because of the time/effort involved in extracting it and he would rather not feed it back to the bees. (hope I am saying that accurately) But I really don't like the idea of sugar water because I don't think processed sugar is good for humans or bees. But I also don't want to go through the time/effort and then end up giving it back to the bees. So the idea of waiting until spring sounds great. But with any idea that sounds wonderful I want to know if it isn't being done just because it is different and just not common or if there are reasons that it wouldn't work?

Thanks for the help!
 

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I have a bunch of fall honey I left behind that the bees barely touched. I did that because what I want to do is take all the spring honey, which is the best tasting and most popular, and leave behind last fall's honey for their summer dearth. I just started a thread about this for a different reason, but it's interesting that SH believes it's then a better honey. In which case for me, my country bees will be left with the better honey. I'm pulling honey only from my back yard hives so as to make an easier move to the country, and to fill a couple orders for meleleuka honey.
My bees go through much more stored honey in summer. I almost killed them my second year from pulling too much honey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a bunch of fall honey I left behind that the bees barely touched. I did that because what I want to do is take all the spring honey, which is the best tasting and most popular, and leave behind last fall's honey for their summer dearth. I just started a thread about this for a different reason, but it's interesting that SH believes it's then a better honey. In which case for me, my country bees will be left with the better honey. I'm pulling honey only from my back yard hives so as to make an easier move to the country, and to fill a couple orders for meleleuka honey.
My bees go through much more stored honey in summer. I almost killed them my second year from pulling too much honey.
I am in Ohio. I should have mentioned that. Not sure if that would make a difference for what I am asking but just realized I should have given some context to my winters :) Sepp Holzer is in Austria, I believe, and has very cold winters just fyi.
What is the thread you mentioned? Perhaps it would be helpful for me to read?
 

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I wondered about this as well. Does the honey crystallize in the comb over the winter, does it get moldy? I feel like I might not want to take honey from them if they might starve because I did, and I would feel bad feeding them sugar because I stole their honey. I guess it's just what you learn as you go along, how much you can take. I asked a beekeeper here in utah though, he says they need at least 100lbs to get through the winter in our zone. So I probably won't be harvesting much honey most of the time, if that's true.
 

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>I am reading Michael Bush's "Practical Beekeeper" and he says he feeds sugar water rather than honey because of the time/effort involved in extracting it and he would rather not feed it back to the bees. (hope I am saying that accurately) But I really don't like the idea of sugar water because I don't think processed sugar is good for humans or bees.

The last time I fed syrup to bees was seven years ago. But it beats them starving. What I usually do is wait until the fall flow is over and then harvest. That way I can more accurately judge what they need, but I don't leave it to crystallize over winter. It's almost impossible to harvest it after it's crystallized without ruining the flavor of the honey.

>But I also don't want to go through the time/effort and then end up giving it back to the bees.

Exactly. So leave it until after the fall flow and then leave them enough.

>So the idea of waiting until spring sounds great. But with any idea that sounds wonderful I want to know if it isn't being done just because it is different and just not common or if there are reasons that it wouldn't work?

I MIGHT work if you live somewhere that the type of honey does not crystallize over winter, but I see no reason to leave them more than they need and here, where I live, it all crystallizes by spring.
 

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I wondered about this as well. Does the honey crystallize in the comb over the winter, does it get moldy?
Does it get moldy? I have never seen moldy honey. Where does this idea come from?

Sure honey can crystallize in the comb, but early honey like basswood and clover might stay liquid. Whereas later honey like goldenrod and asters most likely would. I don't know about honey produced in other parts of the country.
 

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with the occasional spring deadout there will be mold growing on the surface. it usually starts growing on the dead bees but also grows on frames of honey or pollen.
 

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with the occasional spring deadout there will be mold growing on the surface. it usually starts growing on the dead bees but also grows on frames of honey or pollen.
On the comb, not in the honey. Mold on comb doesn't effect the honey.
 

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Some years the bees make no surplus, and haven't got enough for winter. If you don't feed them they'll starve. Would you feel badly then?
Oh yeah, I would probably feed them if they didn't make any surplus, I'd feel bad if they starved. I just meant that if I took the honey they could have eaten and fed them sugar instead, I wouldn't like to do that. These are just my thoughts and feelings on the matter, since I have never kept bees I don't really know what I would do in the situation.

And if one hive doesn't have enough honey to get through the winter, and another hive does, you can take the honey from that hive and give it to the weaker hive, right?
 

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Does it get moldy? I have never seen moldy honey. Where does this idea come from?

Sure honey can crystallize in the comb, but early honey like basswood and clover might stay liquid. Whereas later honey like goldenrod and asters most likely would. I don't know about honey produced in other parts of the country.
I just read a comment about mold in one of the replies. I didn't know if the honey got moldy or not. But apparently it is the comb or the dead bees that get mold. `

I don't know about honey here either, but I really hope I learn a lot this year. :)
 

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I have harvested honey from "tower hives" ( 3 or more deeps going into winter), shortly after/ during the first spring flow because the bees did not go through it in winter, and in the fall when I was ready to harvest it, it wasn't ready to be harvested (did not have the correct moisture content). I personally have not had any crystallization problems with spring harvesting, and definitely not mold. To me the beauty of early spring harvesting (from hives you didn't harvest from in the fall) is that you never have to worry about if you took to much, & never have to feed those hives. If the hive is alive one should never experience mold?
 
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