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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sure this has been asked/discussed, but I wasn't able to find a close match searching the archives. So I apologize for possible redundancy.

I had 2 hives dead-out on me, this winter, both with full supers on. Another "weird" winter here. I used OA vapor on the late side last year, and only 3, not 4 weekly treatments. Dead bees were piled up on SBB in all hives (2 dead; 1 live) and lots of head-in in comb in the dead outs. Some honey in the deeps as well. No overt indicators of FB, HB, moths or dysentery. (I did find a couple of dessicated HB on BB of the live hive this week, and fair amount (`30) of what look like last year's mite carapaces - they also seem dried and flaky vs. live drops). Bees are bringing in a couple of species of pollen - though I can't think what besides skunk cabbage and possibly American hazelnut.

Between the 1 live hive (5-6 partial frames brood, 10% capped, lots of eggs) and the 2 dead-outs I probably have 60-80 lb of honey in supers. Should have extracted last fall, looking back. I've stacked 1 full and 1, 3/4 full super on the live hive (on top of its full super) figuring once it warms up they will tend to keep it clean, and/or clean any mold, etc. from the super-supers. Warming and extracting supers from dead outs seems like an opportunity to get some nasty flavors or adjuncts (mold) since the capped comb has not been kept clean by bees (?).

Is this silly? Should I just warm them and extract them? Should I lop some full supers onto the packages I have coming Monday (2) - or would they mix feed syrup with the capped super honey? I suppose there could be a pathogen associated with the capped honey, but not the usual suspects so far as I can tell.

Thanks.
 

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Your first indicator should be that SBB's are hazardous to bees health. They were once all the fashion, but the only possible need for them is far south of you. Go to solid bottoms. I would extract all the honey in supers. Sounds like you have adequate feed/syrup for your live hive and replacement colonies. Very doubtful any pathogen problems. I would wash the mold off with a wet sponge on sealed comb.
 

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In a lot of locations the fall honey will be too crystallized to extract now anyways. My son's honey 300 miles to the south east would not extract come spring; mine likely would. By the time spring rolls around the hives sometimes do not smell so nice; I think I would try to find a way to feed it back. Even if you could not taste anything amiss I think it might spoil a persons enjoyment of it.
 

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I have been feeding it to the survivors in a box on the other side of my yard. I didn't care for the taste of the fall honey so they are using it for a jump start on spring.
 

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You could extract but as mentioned the honey might be crystallized or near so. It's often very thick in the spring and the bees are more successful in getting it out of the comb that an extractor is sometimes. When I do extract, I try to do it on a very warm day or in a warm room to help things along. The last couple times I've done it in the spring I've used the thick honey to make mead and that worked out pretty well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Again, thanks for sharing your insight all.

Ravenseye, I also used a bunch of crystalized fall honey for a mead which yielded a light, dry (11%ABV) product.
 
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