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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of my hives (Siberia) is literally leaking honey. It is located in my yard at home so I check it daily (meaning looking at from outside, maybe scraping dead bees off the flight board and clearing away snow). Yesterday afternoon I pulled one or two dead bees from the entrance (restricted to the smallest on a standard restrictor) and I noticed the the bees were sticky - they stuck to the twig a little.
This afternoon there was sticky liquid literally oozing a little from the entrance - both from the entrance hole and from under the other side of the restrictor.
I went back down with a hive tool and totally removed the restrictor. LOTS of dead bees on the bottom board (maybe a pound ? - or 1 1/2 quarts, I'm guessing?) I cleared these out with a long stick - fished around the bottom for quite a few minutes raking them out. During this time no live bees came to check.
So I removed the telescoping cover and homosote and looked down through the hole in the inner cover. Clearly, I couldn't see much but I did see that they still have quite a bit of candy and several bees came up the frames to see what was going on (Phew! I thought they were totally dead). I replaced the homosote and the Telescoping cover. and then replaced the restrictor. By the time I'd gotten the restrictor back on (tight fit - had to pry the hive up a tiny bit to get it in) There were several bees at the top entrance homosote/inner cover groove looking out.
All of this happened at 25+- degrees.
I'm completely confused - how could there be honey leaking out?
Lots of dead bees is freaky to see, but not alarming - this was a strong colony going into winter. I'm sure there has been a lot of natural die off. The bees that I was scraping out were also sticky, but hard to tell if that was because I was dragging them across the bottom board at the front of the hive.
The honey has me really confused.
Is this "normal?" Could they have uncapped honey and then moved away from it due to cold? Why would it leak out of the cells?
This is the same hive that I posted pictures of last week Flying at 30 degrees.
Has anyone ever seen this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mike -
I tasted it and it was sweet - color is light brown so I assumed honey but now that you're saying that, it makes a lot of sense - the brown color could be from hive debris.
so if that's the problem, what next? remove the candy? the candy is not blocking the hole in the inner cover - so I think this tells me that my homosote top isn't working.
Should I pop the cork in the uppermost box?
I'll go take a picture right now before the sun goes totally down.
 

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Fondant will at time drip the HFCS from the sugar. I have seen this a number of times. Not sure if its the fluxuation of temps or a humidity/condensation thing, but it will drip and seperate if the conditions are right.

I use commercial fondant. Its fine as packaged, but once placed in a hive, or left sitting on my work bench, the HFCS will ooze out over time. The bees seem to suck up the HFCS first once its in the hive, and what left is the dried/hard sugar remains. They will eventually eat all of it.

When I place fondant, I wrap a good ten/twenty pound chunk on a couple paper towels and place the whole thing in the hive. Many times on the frames with a spacer to give the extra room. This(towels) soaks up the oozing fondant and the bees still will shred the paper and get all the sugar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
the candy is home-made - just water and sugar boiled and poured into a board - no HFCS but I can see how it could easily be melted by condensation.
although I am careful not to block the hole in the inner cover, there is candy right up to the edges and even encroaching a little - Moist air wicking up through the hive towards the "chimney" could definitely be wetting the candy - I would assume that most colonies would use this as "syrup" but if they aren't able to break the cluster....
yikes. hopefully pulling the cork will help
 

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Melted fondant and hive debris... How did that taste? You may beable to package that and sell it to the french as a delicacy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
BG - ha ha - you never know what people will buy...
Seriously though, Thank You MP for your post - I was so hung up in the idea I had in my mind that I couldn't see the data and come to a good conclusion -
What this tells me is that I definitely have a condensation problem, despite my best attempts...
I wish I could get into the covers and take a good look to make sure everything is ligning up properly but the forecast is not out of the 20's until god knows when - National Weatehr bureau only forecasting until friday and no good news there. Hopefully popping the cork will make the difference.
I've got to say this internet is amazing - post on Beesource and half an hour later I've got some great input that really helped.
Thank you all.
 

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>What this tells me is that I definitely have a condensation problem, despite my best attempts...

Maybe not. Maybe it's just the fondant. Even with a wide opened bottom, and an upper entrance, and inner insulated with foam, there is still going to be some moisture. Maybe the fondant absorbed it, or maybe it was too soft to begin with.

Are the bees wet? Are the tops of the combs wet?
 

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Just a suggestion but looking at your picture it’s possible that you have a mouse chewing at some of the comb. They can squeeze threw a pretty small hole. When you pulled out the debris from inside the hive did you see any chewed comb or wood shavings?
 

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A mouse was the first thing I thought of as well. But toast tastes better.

On the other hand.. I received a call from a park super last Summer who said that on the piece of property he manages there is an abandoned house. The house has some historical significance. He was interested in a bee removal from this old house. Turns out there has been a colony in the chimney of this (2 storey) house for "8 or 9 years, as long as I have worked here" and that recently he was having a problem with 'honey running down the walls and across the kitchen counter' etc.
Naturally, I suggested toast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
>>Are the bees wet? Are the tops of the combs wet?
From what I could see through the inner cover hole they did not appear wet (frames or bees) but I did not look long. I guess I was thinking mouse also - so I was not really checking for moisture on the inner cover - I could have cracked it up to check yesterday but now the forecast is not above 20 until mid next week at the earliest.
I don't know what else to do at this point - the more I'm thinking about keeping that cork out, the less I like it - interfereing with the "chimeny" effect.
 

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A couple things...doesn't look like a mouse to me. No bits of chewed comb on the landing board.

And...is that your bottom entrance? That little hole in the entrance reducer? So the only ventilation holes are that little entrance in the reducer, and the other little one in the inner cover?

I think you need a larger entrance on the bottom. I use a wide open entrance, with a wedge of 1/2" hardware cloth. I used to use wooden entrance reducers, with a small entrance like yours. Found the bees to be wet, and the debris on the bottom board to get soggy. Keeping the cork out won't hurt...might help. But, how can you get any airflow? You have the air inlet...bottom entrance...too restricted.
 

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Maine_Beekeeper-

> just water and sugar boiled

This may be a problem.

Could someone who knows more respond to this please? Something about dysentary being caused by sugar water that has been brought to a boil.

oooou... yuk. even on toast...yuk. sorry.
-j
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
MP -
I think you're right. As you can see in the older photos I had the reducer on the larger restricted opening with a wood block in front which I would use to open or restrict the entrance. When I put it back in yesterday I replaced it to the smallest size. I think I should now at least go back to the old program.
I checked them tonight after work (dark)by shining a flashilight in the hole in the inner cover and I could see several inches in to the top frames - I could actually see a couple of bees moving around apparently eating the candy.
Tops of frames (at least right there whe I could see) do not look wet. Candy looks dry and brittle too. hopefully keeping the cork out will resolve this.
Most of my other hives are set up the same way. I haven't seen anything else like this but I should probably increase their ventillation as well.
I'm relieved to see at least some movement...
I imagine clearing all that debris off the bottom board didn't hurt either.
Thank you for your interest and advice.
-Erin
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ruben -
no signs of wax moth anywhere yet thank goodness -
Jim B-
I think the problem with sugar boiled is when you burn the sugar - this is hard candy made the XYZABC way (I tried the beeculture recipe which includes vinegar and came back with goo.) Thus far this manner of hard candy has worked well for me 2 winters.
I think MP is really on the right track. ventillation.
Now I wish I had kept my SBB on (We switched out all SBB to solid for winter.)
I would have caught this a LOT quicker if I was checking the solid bottoms under the SBB on a regular basis...
And why did I switch out the SBB despite many here posting that they keep them open all winter? If it had been my decision alone I would have inserted a thick "board" under the screen but I got out-voted by the Almost Perfect Husband. And if I had SBB on now would I be totally freaking that they had too much draft and cold? Yep, I bet I would. I guess we're just babies about the cold.
Now after this I think I'll have a good basis for overruling the APH.

[ February 05, 2007, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: Maine_Beekeeper ]
 

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"Could a wax moth be boring through the comb causing it to leak or is it too cold?"

I saw some wax moth larva droppings on one sticky board last week.
 
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