Honey super question

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by letitbee, May 2, 2012.

  1. letitbee

    letitbee New Member

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    Even though I am no where near ready for supers yet, I am at odds as to what to do with my drawn out super frames from last year. I had a bad batch of honey last year. My supplier told me that in this area last year the bees where capping honey a bit early and it tasted and smelled bad and she got many reports about it. I extracted all but a few frames and ended up chucking about 4 gallons of honey. I want to re-use the frames when the bees are ready for it because they are already drawn but I am afraid the nasty remnants of last years honey will get mixed into this years batch and spoil the whole crop. I have a few new supers with bare foundation I can use but I was wondering if I should just scrape all of the old comb out of the old frames and let the bees start over again. If I do scarpe them clean, how can I clean them up to get rid of any old honey on them or should I put the supers with the extracted frames on now while they are just one deep box and let the bees clean them up and store the old nasty honey in their deep box stores?
     
  2. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Are the frames in question capped honey or is the the 'wet' frames from extracting? If you have fire ants up your way you could set'em around the ant beds and they will probably clean'em out for you...they'll eat anything. Leave'em in the supers and tack some screen over the top and bottom to keep the bees out. Just some thoughts...

    Ed
     

  3. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    put the supers back on with the frames the way they are, they will clean and polish out every cell.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I agree, or if you are really worried, set them out a good distance from your hives and let the bees rob them out (dry). This works if you don't have lots of other hives, wasps, hornets, etc. around that will join your bees in the feast (but hey, everythings gotta eat too,right?)
     
  5. letitbee

    letitbee New Member

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    My concern is that if I put the supers on when they are ready, the bees will include last years icky honey into this years. I like perrybees suggestion about setting them near the hives and let the bees clean them out . I know how valuable drawn comb is but I was kicking around scraping the old comb out and making the girls start fresh. I have 3 or 4 frames that I didn't bother to extract because almost all of my late season honey was bad. I think I will scrape those out or just replace them with new ones.
     
  6. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    your late season honey 'bad batch' as you described, was probably goldenrod, that is why it smelled 'bad' and it also has an off taste to it. bees 'capping honey' a bit early? describe? if it was goldenrod, you went to alot of trouble, are going through unecessary trouble, and threw out honey that could have been fed back to the bees...

    many newer keeps unfamiliar with goldenrod think their hives have a 'disease', when the girls start packing this away....
     
  7. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Don't scrape out the comb- no need to! Do as Perry suggests- pick a spot a long way from your hives and set the frames out- every bee in the neighborhood will quickly clean out any honey remnants and leave you clean wax comb. The icky old honey they clean off the comb will be purified by their digestive nectar-processing enzymes and it won't effect the new honey they make. And the comb will be picked clean! just don't be surprised by the CLOUDS of bees that come for it- keep it well away from your hive location!

    What strikes me as odd is this statement:
    I didn't think that bees ever cap honey 'too soon'- I thought the bees know when it's the right moisture content and ready to be capped. I'd suspect instead that some BK's were extracting their frames while too much honey was still open and uncapped- yielding 'honey' with too much nectar/moisture content and thus fermentation was able to occur. Correct me if bottling uncapped honey/nectar does not increase the odds of fermentation.
     
  8. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Was the honey fermented and smelled like a brewery, foamy and running out of the comb? Or was it goldenrod? Looked like regular honey but smelled and tasted bad?

    Fermented, too high a moisture content.

    Looked like regular honey, not capped too soon.
     
  9. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    No, no, no!........A "good distance", not near! :shock: If you do this too close to your existing hives you could be setting yourself up for a robbing frenzy that your hives could be vulernable to.
     
  10. letitbee

    letitbee New Member

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    Iddee...you answered my question about this last fall when I harvested..the honey looked like regular honey but smelled and tasted fermented but it did not bubble or froth. Like the post above mentions, I too thought the bees knew exactly when to cap the honey but my bee lady told me she got a lot of complaints describing the same situation I had. As far as Goldenrod goes, I am not aware of any goldenrod in my area but the bees may have found some that I don't know about. I did harvest a super in early August and the honey was superb. I put that harvested super back on the hive and they filled it up again but this time it was nasty. I have never tasted goldenrod honey so I can't be sure it wasn't that but I used to brew my own beer and the late fall honey I got smelled a lot like the odor coming out of the gas locks in my brewery. Also when I harvested there was no uncapped honey whatsoever. So according to my supplier, she says the bees capped too early and knowing my area the way I do I am pretty certain there is very little goldenrod in this area, at least not enough that the bees could fill a super with it. I sampled every frame before I extracted and every bit of every frame tasted and smelled fermented. Also, my supplier even went as far as to say that I should have left the honey sit uncovered with a fan on it and it would dry out and be fine. Could I be getting my leg pulled here?:dontknow:
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Fermented honey will NOT be "all right" after drying with a fan. Drying can be done that way before it ferments and it will not ferment, but once the alcohol has been made, there's no going back.

    Goldenrod is used by beeks to mean any number of probably 40 plus types of goldenrod, many types of aster, and likely a few other blooms that make the honey strong and smelly. I do not think the bees will cap wet honey. At least, I've never heard of it happening.

    I would set it out and let the bees carry it back to the hives. ""At least 200 feet, or on the opposite side of a building.""
     
  12. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    It is possible that the honey had a higher moisture content or ‘watery’ after being capped. What you are describing is not fermentation.
    I would bet you have some type of ‘goldenrod’ growing in your area, or maybe Japanese bamboo? Your county extension agent can give you what grows in your specific area.

    From your description:
    “I used to brew my own beer and the late fall honey I got smelled a lot like the odor coming out of the gas locks in my brewery.â€
    Lol, I have heard many descriptions of ‘goldenrod’, (if it is).:grin:

    About the supers, whether you put them out for the bees to rob or place them on top of the hives as needed for your girls to clean out, you will achieve your desire to have ‘clean’ frames, and your bees will carry this back to the hive…..supers utilized with last year’s remnants after extraction are not ‘seeded’ for this year’s honey crop, the bees clean and polish these cells out, it is incredible work done by them.

    For myself, and this varies from beek to beek and a personal preference; although I have done so in the past, i no longer leave my supers for the bees to rob out. I don’t like to encourage this natural behavior anymore than necessary, and if you have seen robbing of any kind, it ain’t pretty, and a lot of girls lose their lives in the process of robbing, even with supers placed a distance from the hives.

    If you choose this method, follow perry and iddee’s advice.:grin:
     
  13. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    btw letitbee, i forgot to mention, in the future, you can place these supers of frames back on the hives after extraction for them to clean up for you!
     
  14. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    ...could've it been the bees got into some bitterweed? From what I understand, a small amount of bitterweed will ruin a large amount of good honey...but whether it gives the fermented smell I don't know. Just a newbie thought...

    Ed
     
  15. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    You can typically smell the alcohol on fermented honey.....you will know it unless you have never been near any at all.
     
  16. Do Bee Honey

    Do Bee Honey New Member

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    After the girls have cleaned the frames and the wax looks clean. Do you suggest trying to store the frames with wax in them (and try to keep critters out of) or should I scrape the wax out of the frames and just make candles?
     
  17. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Hello Do Bee Honey :hi:

    If you have gone to the trouble of uncapping and extracting the frames, just store them once they are dry (bee tight, and I like to put a sheet of newspaper in between each box). You save the bees a tremendous amount of work next year by providing them with the comb.
    If you want the wax, just use the cappings, or just crush and strain instead of extracting.