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Author Topic: Feeding honey  (Read 1027 times)
dogdrs
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Location: Dunedin, Florida


« on: January 17, 2010, 10:57:46 AM »

I'm here in Florida where we've just gone through an unusally long cold (Freezing) spell.  I may have to feed my bees and I'm thinking of feeding them honey I have leftover instead of sugar syrup.  It has warmed back up again to the 60's-70's. I have the feeder pails with the fine mesh opening and I'm thinking the honey will be too thick to go through the mesh for the bees to get to.  I'm wondering if there is any harm in diluting the honey first with water (distilled?) and if its OK what ratio should I use?  I'm thinking maybe 1:1 by weight?  Thanks for any advice.
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charmd2
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2010, 01:05:35 PM »

You can feed it back straight.  Providing it is "their" honey and not some store bought chinese stuff. 

I would not dilute because if not consumed in a reasonable?? (depends on weather etc..) amount of time it will begin to ferment, I'm sure it will take more effort than it is worth for them to have to take the moisture back out of it this time of year.  Although I think your weather is much milder than mine, I still would not take that chance. 

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Charla Hinkle
dogdrs
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2010, 01:55:49 PM »

Yes, it is their honey.  My concern was that the honey might be too thick for them to get from the feeder.  I know how thick it is when the temps are relatively cool (60-70) and didn't know if it would pass through the mesh well enough for the bees to get it.  Maybe they will stick their tongues thru the mesh to feed?
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buzzbee
Ken
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2010, 03:30:55 PM »

Are your hives light on feed? I would think with 60's and 70's they might find natural forage.
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gaucho10
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« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2010, 03:42:27 PM »

dogbrs,

What charmd2 stated is correct.  Do not dilute.  If you use a top feeder whereby you can not invert a bottle of honey then take a Mason jar and tap a 1/2 dozed tiny holes into 1/2 of the cap.  Lay the bottle sideways so that the holes are near the bottom and so that the bottle will fit into your top feeder.  Remove the screen so that the bees have access to the inside of your feeder.  Your down south so that the temperature inside the feeder should be warm enough for the bees to enter.  The bees will feed out of the tiny holes in the cap.

For more info on honey feeding check out some of my previous posts on "ventilated inner covers" and you can see my setup which I use here in New England where the temps. are low.
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dogdrs
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« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2010, 04:10:17 PM »

buzzbee,
I'm still in my first year so I can't be sure of anything, really. But one hive is much lighter on stores than my others.  Most beeks down here don't leave a lot of extra honey on in the winter because the winters are generally so mild.  But, with the weird cold spell we had I was concerned.  Also, who knows if we'll get another before winter is done.  The next true nectar flow isn't for another month or so, I think, although I do see them bringing in some pollen.  The hive appears to be strong otherwise with a laying queen, plenty of workers etc.  Maybe I'm worrying for nothing.
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buzzbee
Ken
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2010, 04:21:48 PM »

If the box is heavy lifting a back corner ,I would hold off feeding. If they fill the combs with syrup,it will cut down on brood rearing. You need a lot of bees when the nectar flow gets here. raising a lot of bees during the flow is not as beneficial as having the colony strong when the flow arrives.
if the boxes are heavy, it may be better to add pollen patties to stimulate borod rearing.
is there any mid Florida guys here to chime in?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2010, 11:34:37 AM »

I would feed it straight because it will keep longer and because they won't have to dry it, which will greatly raise the humidity in the hive.
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b reeves
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« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2010, 08:42:21 PM »

I would feed them if the hive is light, they will build quicker, and bigger if they don't have stores they will not be ready for the orange blossom, do you have your hives in Duneden?
Bob
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kedgel
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2010, 10:22:33 PM »

Feed 'em straight hi-test!  They will stick their tongues into the feeder and get it just fine even if it turns cold again (global warming, my a$$!).  If it were me, I wouldn't feed them honey unless it is capped in the combs.  If the SHBs are as bad up there as they are here, the smell of open honey will bring every SHB within 10 miles flocking to your hive, no to mention encouraging robbing by all the bees that smell it and come running.   Capped honey will be "metered" by the bees and only a few cells are opened and consumed at a time.  When I extract, I put out the extractor and cappings away from my hives for the bees to clean up at the same time I put the extracted frames into the hives for cleaning.  I think the stuff out in the open air is more attractive than the frames enclosed in the hives.  Doing it this way I haven't noticed an increase in the SHB's in the hive.  I did find LOTS of shb's in the cappings and extractor.  The oranges here are budding in spite of the frosty weather the last 2 weeks, so the flow is not far away.  If they have any honey still in the hive, I wouldn't feed.  I'm only feeding one of my hives that I just set up from a cut out.  I don't put any honey comb into new cut out set ups because of the shb's and it's too messy. 
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