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Again, this is my first year and have 3 hives and have been feeding my hives sugar syrup since spring. I was told to keep feeding them syrup and they will let you know when to stop feeding them when they stop taking it, well, mine never really stopped. Two of my hives are doing great, one is a package and the other is a nuc with about 10 frames full of honey each and they are busy and doing great. My question is, is the honey that they produced sugar syrup honey or the real thing? I did take a couple frames and the honey turned out to be really light in color. What do you think, real honey or not?
 

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The light syrup is stored sugar syrup. It has been digested by the bees with their enzyme invertase, so is the now concentrated glucose+fructose mix like honey, but is missing all the trace ingredients for full flavor.

The "bee will stop taking syrup" is a generalization that hardly applies. Bees will recruit and optimize to any source of calories, if they perceive the syrup to have the right combination of proximity and sweetness, they will backfill their broodnest with to the point they swarm.
 

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Definitely NOT real honey.

You were given incomplete advice. Feeding needs to be combined with inspections and the determination made to stop feeding or not made at least some of the time by the beekeeper. I look at several things including 1) availability of natural forage 2) ability of field force to gather the natural forage and 3) what have they got for stores in the hive? If you are in a flow and they've got plenty of older bees to serve in the field force and they've got plenty of stores than I would stop feeding. The time of year factors in and what the bees have drawn out too.

As an example here in Maine we over winter in two deeps(sometimes plus a medium or a 3rd deep.) Once those are drawn I stop feeding. They get treated as other colonies and evaluated for winter preparedness in September and fed additional syrup then (switching from light to heavy syrup) to get up to winter weight.

I try to feed colonies in the fall for winter and spring buildup with the intention of avoiding emergency feeding in winter.

I've told you about how we do things in Maine - here we do not expect first year colonies to make any surplus honey. Feeding is not done to get honey supers drawn out - that is what natural flows are for.

No doubt customs are different in South Carolina - you'll need to talk with local beekeepers to learn about those.
 

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> I was told to keep feeding them syrup and they will let you know when to stop feeding them when they stop taking it

I've never understood this myth. They will only stop taking it when it's too cold to eat... you are lucky they didn't swarm.

>well, mine never really stopped.

It would be a rare thing if they did...

>Two of my hives are doing great, one is a package and the other is a nuc with about 10 frames full of honey each and they are busy and doing great. My question is, is the honey that they produced sugar syrup honey or the real thing?

Sugar syrup. JWC gave the more detailed version...

>I did take a couple frames and the honey turned out to be really light in color. What do you think, real honey or not?

Not.
 

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Again, this is my first year and have 3 hives and have been feeding my hives sugar syrup since spring. I was told to keep feeding them syrup and they will let you know when to stop feeding them when they stop taking it, well, mine never really stopped. Two of my hives are doing great, one is a package and the other is a nuc with about 10 frames full of honey each and they are busy and doing great. My question is, is the honey that they produced sugar syrup honey or the real thing? I did take a couple frames and the honey turned out to be really light in color. What do you think, real honey or not?
I got the same thing in bee class last winter. It is a lie, a ****able lie. My little pigs will drain a gallon in a day and be wanting more.

My original hive scale project is on hold, but I just got in a digital hanging scale. My small apiary has a high fence, and I can lift the hives against that to get a weight. I'm convinced that actual monitoring of stores is the only way to know if they've got a flow on, and weight is the easiest way to do that. Stop the feeding for a while, and watch the weight. If it goes up a lot, there's a flow and they don't need syrup.

I suspect I've got some flow going from mountain mint, but need to prove it. I'm still feeding my first year hives off and on, trying to get comb made (slowly but surely) and a couple of supers of honey laid away for winter. We've got good brood ... the Italian babe may be overdoing it as they are said to do. We're not harvesting this year. I'm sure the sugar-honey mixed with real honey is better than fondant as winter feed, but I want to make sure I've got stores ABOVE them going in to winter.
 

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I put two packages in last spring and offered them sugar syrup. They ignored it and went about their business. This month, however, we're in a dearth and when I offered them syrup they nuts for it. It's a matter of what else is available at the time.
 

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You should never take sugar water honey. It is inferior. Selling it will give you a bad reputation. Take the feeders off and monitor the frames that are filled after that. You can use sugar water feeding while the bees are drawing the comb.
 

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I got the same thing in bee class last winter. It is a lie, a ****able lie. My little pigs will drain a gallon in a day and be wanting more.

My original hive scale project is on hold, but I just got in a digital hanging scale. My small apiary has a high fence, and I can lift the hives against that to get a weight. I'm convinced that actual monitoring of stores is the only way to know if they've got a flow on, and weight is the easiest way to do that. Stop the feeding for a while, and watch the weight. If it goes up a lot, there's a flow and they don't need syrup.

I suspect I've got some flow going from mountain mint, but need to prove it. I'm still feeding my first year hives off and on, trying to get comb made (slowly but surely) and a couple of supers of honey laid away for winter. We've got good brood ... the Italian babe may be overdoing it as they are said to do. We're not harvesting this year. I'm sure the sugar-honey mixed with real honey is better than fondant as winter feed, but I want to make sure I've got stores ABOVE them going in to winter.
I'm about ready to start feeding again here, too. Everything had a great flow (I think) when we were getting rain. But that didn't just taper off, it flat out stopped almost overnight. Haven't had a drop of moisture for at least three weeks. Golden rod is starting to bloom, but there's way way more not blooming than there is. I haven't seen a great amount of capped stores in any of the swarms we've captured (they have built a good amount of comb and lots of bees, but just haven't put much away for winter yet). Rather than hope they get a good golden rod flow, I'm going to try to get some comb drawn and stored away above the single deep (in my langs) and a good number of top bars with capped stores sooner rather than later.
 

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Fortunately I've had the privilege to be a beekeeper since 1966, and having long before and since been a son whose parents believed in a quasi-nomadic way of life, relocating our family to distant points within the U.S.A., frequently. I attended kindergarden at three different schools, and grade school in about six distinct schools, but high school in as many as five different, distinct disparate locations. Some of these relocations were near each other, others were quite distant. From Redmond, Washington to Valparaiso, Florida; and from Waynesboro, Virginia to Newport Beach, California - and many places in-between. Most of these locations I was either able to relocate my two hives of bees, along with me, or obtain some at my new locations. Then, when I was seventeen, after just finishing my senior year of high school - I joined the U.S. Navy, which facilitated my continuing this nomadic lifestyle. And I continued in the Navy for the next thirteen years.


I apologize for the above lengthy discourse, but I needed to qualify what I am going to say, next:

In most of the various locations, where I've kept bees, honey flows were such that bees would almost never ignore an exposed or artificial source of sugar, even sugar syrup. However, here in Tucson, Arizona for more than twenty years now, I've watched as colonies have ignored even combs of honey that were left exposed and unguarded during our mesquite honey flow. They would still take sugar syrup, fed inside, though slowly and sporadically.

Beekeeping is truly a location dependent activity. Location and many other factors always changing, sometimes in subtle ways, how the bees do what bees do.
 
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