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I am going to switch to TF and one of the steps is to leave them honey, stop feeding sugar. I am from Czech Republic (middle Europe).

But I am also reading a lot of warnings about dysentery (diarrhea) from dark (fall) honey.

I tried to Google first and I have found few topics where people discuss it, but you know, there can be so many misleading opinions and people repeat them even without testing, trying.

In one of the discussions Michael Bush replied ".... by my observation I'd say sugar syrup is more likely to cause issues than honey. What really causes issues is a winter where it never gets warm enough for a cleansing flight, which seldom happens here, but has happened some years.".

I am thinking, maybe if wouldn't extract the spring honey and store them somewhere and extract only the fall honey - then put them the spring honey frames back to overwinter them on (spring honey should contain less minerals, which some people connect to dysentery)? Or is it too much hassle and there's no problem with dark honey overwintering?


I have read that wild feral bees are eating the dark honey firtst, when winter starts and they are finishing (moving) on spring honey as winter is colder. This was given as an example why not use dark honey solely. But then I am thinking, how to manage all this while extracting them honey. Because ideally I would need them to store dark honey in the lowest super and spring honey to the upper suppers (as the hive body moves up as the winter continues - I am assuming bottom entrance).

Am I overthinking this too much? I hope I am. And that the answer could be simple as "don't care, they will manage on dark honey" :)
 

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I have consumed way over a ton of dark fall honey in my lifetime. Never have I gotten dysentery from it. And I am Not a bee.
For millennium bees have been overwintering on dark fall honey. As in many areas of the world spring honey is consumed during mid summer dearth. Although we as beekeepers want, and try to do what is best for our bees. Often our attempts at getting the bees to conform to our methodology becomes counter productive. Since you are leaning toward treatment free beekeeping why not also follow the path of least resistance and allow the bees to pursue a more natural course, by managing them in a manner that follows what they would do in nature. Deal with the problems introduced by man and let the bees do the rest.
 

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From what I've learned, some beekeepers. located primarily in colder areas, are concerned with the high ash content of some fall honeys. This has to do with the bees not being able to digest ash and prevention by cold from being able to cleanse. I don't believe it to be a dark honey/light honey issue. There has been some discussion of late that the inability to cleanse in winter may be a contributing factor in the effects of Nosema Ceranae as well. I'm continuing to learn about these topics. What I'm curious about right now is how the bees deal of a blend of high ash honey (something like Aster) and other fall flowers with a lesser quantity of ash. I have not been able to find information I have confidence in about the ash content of Goldenrod - the major fall honey source around here. I spoke with a commercial beekeeper this past weekend who told me not to worry about it, but his bees over winter in Georgia - where they get cleansing flights.
 

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I visited Czech a few months ago, Prague and Teplice. Loved the country and the people. Very affordable. I went to Paris and Bruxelles. I prefered czech over all. Great place!
 

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Goldenrod - the major fall honey source around here. I spoke with a commercial beekeeper this past weekend who told me not to worry about it, but his bees over winter in Georgia - where they get cleansing flights.
Andrew,, Goldenrod is in the family Asteraceae the same as aster, although I cannot offer precise numbers on the ash content in goldenrod pollen Being in the family of plants known for high ash it would be a reasonable assumption that it too is high in ash. and let us note that goldenrod honey is light in color. With that I will also say that I use goldenrod hone to overwinter my bees and have had no significant problems.
 

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I get more fecal streaking over winter than I'd like and when there are several serious beekeepers who I've found know their stuff espouse a common theory - I try to look into it. I think their method involves feeding ahead of the fall flow so that the fall honey is put in supers not the brood nest.

I have never liked the idea of feeding and then harvesting. I suppose if you were to add food coloring to the feed, one could be reasonably certain that the bees hadn't moved it (up into the supers.) The folks I'm talking about feed sugar syrup, not corn syrup.
 

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I do the same thing pretty much I feed like crazy almost to the point where they begin to backfill the upper or lower deep depending on where the queen has been Is usually almost full. Then I remove the feeders when the fall flow get going and place on supers. I do this because I want the honey. the ash reduction is a bonus. BTW In my previous post I was referring to nectar when I said Pollen..
 

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Dark honey is a serious overwintering problem in long winter. And when I say long I mean really long, like ours in Finland, sometimes 6 months (October-March). Bees get dysentery, or are forced to get out to cleansing flight too early. There is too much ash (=minerals)in dark honeys, they say.

We never leave for instance heather honey in the hive for winter. In the old days they managed the problem by giving some sugar solution before winter. The idea is to give it very late, so that it is stored in the place if the last brood. In this way bees eat it first and so they eat dark honey a shorter period before spring.
 

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Fall, dark honey is very general term. Honey with problems is honeydew. This is the secretion of aphids living most on trees and gathered by the honeybee.
there are a few simple methods to test honey if it is honeydew. One is something that use alcohol, distilled water, heating and see after that how it looks.
From what i know, rain wash this aphid's secretion from leaves, so in rainy time bees don't gather honeydew.
 

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"Dark Honey" is too broad of a term to have a specific answer. When I heard Tom Webster talk on Nosema he referred to a study (which I have not been able to find since) where bees were less susceptible to Nosema if they were wintered on "dark honey". But obviously "dark honey" in Kentucky and "dark honey" in California and "dark honey" in the Czech Republic may be entirely different substances made from different sources with different attributes.

Mine overwinter on dark (and crystallized) honey most every year. We have very long winters. We could have a first hard freeze as early as October 1 and the last hard freeze as late as May 15. Typically winter sets in about the middle of October and ends about the middle of April. But it also could start as late as December and be over as early as March.
 
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