Feeding honey back to bees...question.

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by litefoot, Sep 29, 2013.

  1. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    Three of my four (2-deep) colonies are range from 95-110 lb. I put them on a scale.:lol: I've got time to get these built up. The other is about 75 lb and needs stores pronto! I want to give it back a super of honey which has 3 frames of uncapped and 6 frames of capped honey. I'll put it over an inner cover with an empty box separating it from the top deep. I'm assuming I should decap (with a capping scratcher) the capped frames so they'll take it down. Right?

    Is this the best idea, or would you save the honey and just keep feeding 2:1 as long as possible and top it with fondant before I button them up for winter?

     
  2. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    If you have a couple of weeks of decent weather left, I think you should feed syrup. I read in a couple of sources that bees winter better on sugar than honey. Sugar has no dissolved solids and clogs up the bees intestines way less. I think that while that may be a valid point, there is also a lack of vitamins and trace elements in sugar. Having a mix of both in the hive is likely a good compromise. I've had very little luck this year getting bees to move honey down from extracted supers. They just re-arranged the stores in the supers even though they were up above an inner cover and an empty box. This is one of the advantages of running same size boxes for brood and honey, because then you can just put the capped frames down below.
     

  3. riverrat

    riverrat New Member

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    The 95 to 110 lb hive are about where they need to be going into winter. Watch them in February to March thats when they will blow through the stores. The 75 lb hive wouldnt take long to get up to 100 lbs feeding 2:1 sugar water if the hive is healthy and the temps are at a point the syrup wont get down below 50 deg. If your going to feed the super of honey you will need to scratch the capping. However I myself wouldnt feed $7.00 a lb honey when you can feed $.50 a lb syrup.
     
  4. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    It is getting to the time of year where the bees may just reseal the cappings and not move the honey. As riverrat pointed out keep the syrup on as long as possible so they can store and also so that it puts off the bees consuming the winter stores during the warm fall weather. and be ready to start feeding in the early spring.
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I would feed until the frost is regular, not just the first frost. Then, after SHB and wax moths have quit laying eggs, I would place the super just above the cluster without uncapping and under the inner lid.
     
  6. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    litefoot,
    i will throw a wrench in the answers here......:lol:
    i would feed the uncapped honey back to them above an inner cover, they will take it down this time of year. you might have to quickly shake a frame or two on top of the inner cover to let droplets fall out on top the inner cover to encourage them, (doesn't take much) and cover it, don't waste time (could set off robbing)....capped honey......like riverrat said, you might have to scratch the cappings open a little or not as iddee said, but again, i would be careful with this if you have hives nearby, it could and would most likely set off robbing or a frenzy of the hive you give it to (looks like robbing but isn't), sort of hard to describe, but they do store it below.
    sometimes i just set individual frames above the inner cover, and quickly scratch them open and cover. it works. the bees clean up the frames and take it down below. typically these would be frames with very small patches of capped honey with uncapped.
    sometimes, when i extract, i take the uncapped frames, and spin them out separately if i am unsure of the moisture content. i feed this back to the bees in a one gallon pail over the inner cover. 50% of the nectar, and 50% water, just depends, it's kind of a 'what looks like 2.1 sugar syrup'.......:lol:

    whether i feed back honey, nectar or feed syrup, any feeding up here for me is completed before or by october 15th.
    hope this helps a little?
    :grin:
     
  7. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I know that I have read this somewhere as well. Does anyone (with a better memory than mine) remember where this might have been written, I would love to review it again?
     
  8. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    I could not find the study that relates to this but some of if stems from beekeepers who over winter the bees in temperature controlled storage in the northern areas. Because the bees were placed indoors in October and not removed till March. The cleaner the feed the less fecal matter that the bee have had to store in there system. If the bees have nosema it can cause the bees to dedicate in and on the hive. Syrup containing only carbohydrates cause the bees to produce less fecel mater than bees fed honey that contains pollens and minerals. The dysentery it caused the bees not being allowed to take occasional cleansing flights thru out the winter.
     
  9. Ray

    Ray Member

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    Let me ask.
    ​What is wrong with just putting the full box directly on top of the hive and letting them use it for winter stores?
     
  10. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    I don't see anything wrong with that as long as the moths and beetles don't get to it. Also a larger hive volume to keep warm (though most of the time they don't heat the hive, just the cluster).
    When I have an extra couple of frames I pop them in the freezer. In the spring if a hive needs them they're fresh and if the hives are good then a Nuc gets them.
     
  11. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    i have read articles about sugar syrup being better for bees than honey for overwintering......with that said, i have read the articles. i prefer to not over harvest honey and leave my bees or give back to them what they need to overwinter on. in my humble opinion, the nectar they collected and stored is better for them than sugar syrup, and ray, there is absolutely nothing wrong with leaving a box on top for winter stores. it sure beats feeding them sugar syrup or placing fondant and candy boards on. i would also like to say sometimes we all over harvest honey and we wind up feeding sugar syrup, (including me), placing fondant and candy boards on or some type of emergency feed, and sometimes this can't be avoided. there are lots of factors in overwintering bees, especially here in the north in winter months. a honey crop is nice, but starved, dead bees is not, unless you like spending more money for bees next spring and starting all over again. i don't. just my humble opinion. what i am saying is, know your bees, know your weather and your flows and your fall flows. take honey off but don't harvest every ounce off; take supers off earlier, and leave some of the flow or fall flow for them to pack away and let them have an extra box or give them back the resources to overwinter on.
    as far as moths and beetles.....i don't have to worry about shb, we don't have that problem here in wisconsin. wax moths? a lot of discussion about wax moths.....don't neglect your hives and don't tell yourself or question yourself the minute you think your hive is weak, then it is. with strong colonies, wax moths aren't and haven't been a problem for me, and really this time of year here, it is too dang cold. if you don't have a strong colony going into winter with adequate stores chances are she'll never make it to spring anyway, and if she does....well, do a dance and requeen.....:lol:
     
  12. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I like this answer. Less chance of starting a robbing event.
     
  13. litefoot

    litefoot New Member

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    That's a good question. Last year, my first year, I over-wintered with 2 deeps and a medium super of capped syrup. When it finally got warm enough to open up the box, I found the queen had laid eggs in many of the medium frames that had been consumed---so I couldn't use them for Spring flows until after the brood cycle. And drawn medium frames were, and continue to be, scarce for me.

    Anyway, as an update, I decided to feed syrup instead of the honey. The light hive took down 3 gallons (a gallon a day!) before the winter storm hit. I read somewhere that each gallon provides 7 lb of stores. So it needs about 3 more gallons to get to 120-ish pounds. We've got 3 days in the high 60's this week, so hopefully I can get this one and the 3 others tanked up.