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Discussion Starter #1
I have been out of beekeeping for a few years and last spring purchased a two hives. This past fall both hives died out right before winter. They each had a full shallow super of honey, dead bees lined the bottom of the hive but no queen was found among the dead. The queen was laying during the early spring as there was brood a couple months after setting up the hives.

This spring I got three new packages of bees and set up the hives. I took the old brood and honey from the old hives and distributed evenly to the new hives. Put a new empty super with foundation on each hive along with the old supers with three frames of old honey from the old bees (just a little history for the past couple years)

This weekend I took a couple frames of new honey out two of the hives as the top supers were nearly full, the third hive has no new honey, the wax has not even been pulled. There are plenty of bees and they seem to be working fine, just no new honey yet. The honey I removed is exceptionally light in color, it could easily pass for sour wood honey although the are no sour wood trees in my area. The best way I could describe it would be the color of real weak ice tea. I am at a loss on what the bees have been collecting to produce just a light looking honey. I planted about a half acre in white and crimson clovers this spring just for the bees. My yard is naturally full of dutch clover ever year, but the bees are mainly ignoring all the clover for what ever they have been forging on!

I live in Piedmont N.C. near Greensboro, they are very few farms within 3 miles of where I live. I have drove around the area in the direction the bees seem to head when leaving the hive and have found nothing!

Does anyone have any idea of what the bees could be feeding on to produce this great looking and tasting honey? Both hives I have taken some honey from are the same looking honey so I feel they are both foraging at the same area.

I will post some pictures soon, I don't have a digital camera and will have to use my niece's the next time she visits me:(

I did an internet search of the types of plants that produce light looking honey, but could find no types of plants that grow
locally that produce such.......

Thanks!
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

Doesn't the age of the honey also influence the light/darkness of it i.e. young honey is lighter in color while the older honey is darker in color?
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

Light honey can be clover; it is very light in color and sweet in taste but to really tell what the girls are foraging you would need to inspect the pollen under a microscope.

I've never seen age to affect the color of honey but liquid vs crystalized can look very different. Raspberry for example is a light golden but turns nearly white when it crystalizes.
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

typically in my parts, early cool weather honey is light, hotter summer honey is darker (caramelish color). Our summer clover is darker than early flow like maple, locust, poplar.

The longer its on the hive the darker it gets, probably from summer heat. Not sure exactly just my observation.
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

Sounds like it may be blackberry honey. My hives are still working it and dutch white clover right now.
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

Not sure if you have it in your area, but I hear Thistle honey is very light in color and taste great...

Aside from that, if you're 60 dollars worth of curious you can get a definitive answer by sending off a sample to Texas A&M to have the pollen particles in the honey analyzed. I did it with both my Summer and Fall Honey from last year and was quite satisfied with the report they produce.
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

I'm guessing that's how the folks that are selling specific types of honey can get away with stating that it is a certain type. Cool..
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

I'm guessing that's how the folks that are selling specific types of honey can get away with stating that it is a certain type. Cool..
drlono,
That's correct, if they find more than 45% pollen from a single type, the honey can be classified as a Unifloral. As a matter of fact, I learned of this lab because they were featured in a news story exposing the fact that a lot of honey that is labeled and sold as a specific type, actually isn't!
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

Now that's wicked cool. Something that i'm sure to find out about next year when I can actually get some honey from my production hives. How long does it actually take them to type it and get the results back to you on it?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Re: Question reguarding honey colors

Finally got around to uploading some pictures....my bees are really producing a lot of honey this year. First part of the honey flow the honey was real light, now it is much darker. My weakest hive is now producing honey as well. The super on top is nearly full. The other two hives has produced about 40lb each with the top supers nearly full again! The hive in the middle has some rather ill bees, but they are producing a lot of honey. I was considering replacing the queen but I think I will wait until next spring. We are in a dry spell with the weather (Piedmont N.C.) Bees have slowed down with not much blooming. Need rain badly!

These bees are first year packaged bees I bought the end of March, didn't expect them do this well.
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

Not sure if you have it in your area, but I hear Thistle honey is very light in color and taste great...

Aside from that, if you're 60 dollars worth of curious you can get a definitive answer by sending off a sample to Texas A&M to have the pollen particles in the honey analyzed. I did it with both my Summer and Fall Honey from last year and was quite satisfied with the report they produce.
I presume it is $60 for each sample.
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

Finally got around to uploading some pictures....my bees are really producing a lot of honey this year. First part of the honey flow the honey was real light, now it is much darker. My weakest hive is now producing honey as well. The super on top is nearly full. The other two hives has produced about 40lb each with the top supers nearly full again! The hive in the middle has some rather ill bees, but they are producing a lot of honey. I was considering replacing the queen but I think I will wait until next spring. We are in a dry spell with the weather (Piedmont N.C.) Bees have slowed down with not much blooming. Need rain badly!

These bees are first year packaged bees I bought the end of March, didn't expect them do this well.
Are using 3 different sized boxes on your hives? I presume you don't have a feeder available when the supers are on.
 

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Re: Question reguarding honey colors

Are using 3 different sized boxes on your hives? I presume you don't have a feeder available when the supers are on.
Started these bees out with nearly full short supers of honey and empty drawn brood frames from previous bees I had that died out. I have top feeders for each hive but took them off in May. At this time the short supers are full and the medium supers are 4/5 full. I usually rob each hive 2 frames at a time as I am retired and have plenty of time to work the honey. I could add more supers to give them more room but prefer to remove the honey a few frames at a time. I have 4 full frames in the freezer at present awaiting to process, after I get a couple more frames I will work it up. Either way I will make sure each hive will have a full short and medium super of honey going into winter.
 
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