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Specifically- is it possible to tell the difference while the sugar syrup honey is still in the comb? I was asked by the group I mentor, didn't know the answer and I hate to look like a dumbie. But, I was once told, "You don't have to know all the answers to appear smart, you just have to know where to get the answers."
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

Depending on the circumstances, there may be a mix of "real" honey and "sugar" honey in the comb. One way to know for sure is to have it tested.

This page from the National Honey Board offers links to labs that perform a variety of tests on honey:
http://www.honey.com/honey-industry/honey-testing-and-regulations/find-a-honey-testing-lab
They also have a page that explains more about specific tests:
http://www.honey.com/testing-labs/adulteration-test-descriptions
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

No easy way that I know of....I think that's why everyone advises not to feed once you put on your honey supers, it's the easiest way to assure you don't harvest sugar water! :D
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

One way to know is not feed hives you plan on harvesting from :D. I have also read about adding a small amount of food coloring to the feed, which would show up as a red flag, or green, or blue flag depending on the color you choose. However, who knows what is in food coloring?, and the effect it has on bees? Not to mention your wax, or the bees guts?
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

Yeah, they'll likely store the sugar syrup in with actual honey as it comes in, so it'll be a mix.

Generally speaking though, you shouldn't need to feed if they're bringing in enough nectar to be making surplus honey for you to take. You can feed in the spring to help build them up, feed in the fall if they seem light, or if its a new package or swarm feed through the summer to help them establish faster. But a hive you plan on harvesting honey from? Nah, no reason to feed them in the first place.
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

It is often a mix. I don't think it is a big issue to differentiate which is honey and which is syrup, though the syrup is always clear or white while honey is often amber. It gets challenging when the honey is also clear. The rule I manage with is I never feed my hives when there are honey supers on. I also never extract the frames from the bottom deep and second deep that are present when I feed my hives.
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

No easy way that I know of....I think that's why everyone advises not to feed once you put on your honey supers, it's the easiest way to assure you don't harvest sugar water! :D
Unles your bees feed from another bee keepers open feeding drum:)
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

Bees move stores around in a hive anyway, so regardless of when you feed, if their is sugar syrup in the hive when you put supers on, it will be in the honey.

Also adulterated honey crystallizes rapidly. It is the same principle as making creamed honey. You "seed" it with crystals in order to set it.
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

Unles your bees feed from another bee keepers open feeding drum:)
How far are you from the Rogers refinery ? I've heard rumors that folks with bees in the vicinity of the refinery can regularily pull 200+ pounds off of the hives.
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

Unles your bees feed from another bee keepers open feeding drum:)
That may be true, but you can't spend a whole lot of time worrying about things beyond your control.

However, as a general rule, I think most Beeks wouldn't be real happy with a neighboring Beek open feeding at that time of the year, when supers are on. Then again, if a flow is on, the bees probably won't be too interested in sugar water.
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

Bees move stores around in a hive anyway, so regardless of when you feed, if their is sugar syrup in the hive when you put supers on, it will be in the honey.

Also adulterated honey crystallizes rapidly. It is the same principle as making creamed honey. You "seed" it with crystals in order to set it.
good point bluegrass. some of the conventional wisdom circulating is that the bees won't store 1:1 syrup so no worries about it getting into the honey. that didn't make sense to me.
 

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Re: How can one tell the difference between sugar syrup "honey" and real honey?

Specifically- is it possible to tell the difference while the sugar syrup honey is still in the comb? I was asked by the group I mentor, didn't know the answer and I hate to look like a dumbie. But, I was once told, "You don't have to know all the answers to appear smart, you just have to know where to get the answers."
I can't tell when it's in the comb, but once I extract some I can tell because it is very, very clear compared to real honey. I would recommend to stop feeding syrup a little before you put your supers on (whenever the flow starts).
 
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