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Author Topic: Interesting start to the season! Mould, SHB, Fermented Honey - questions  (Read 1162 times)
OzBuzz
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« on: October 14, 2012, 07:45:38 PM »

So I finally got out to inspect my hives properly for the first time this season on the weekend! My hives are a bit of a hike from where I'm located so I had to make it on a weekend and the weather hasn't been playing ball with me too much lately!

I have to admit I was a little shocked! the weather this year seems to have really messed with them on several fronts - firstly it seems to have messed with the flowering of forage, secondly it seems to have stimulated the queen to lay but then the cold snaps have caused them to eat their pollen stores that they had built up and without any additional stores to back it up it's hit their populations pretty hard - have others seen a similar thing? it probably explains why the swarms have been quite slow to start this year...

Also, I took my hives through winter as doubles - four weeks ago when I lifted them they were chockers with stores and almost all of them had full boxes of honey on them. Four weeks later there's still a lot of honey but I noticed on a few hives that it seems there wasn't sufficient population to ripen the nectar they'd bought in and this has caused some fermentation - one hive it appears it was severe enough that it might have caused them to abscond (or it might have been the mouse that seemed to have been in there - not sure). I did notice some SHB in a few of my hives but i didn't see any more than 7 or so (obviously something needs to be done about them though). Do you need a major infestation to cause your honey to go bad? Also, can fermented honey be fed back to bees or is it something that should be extracted and discarded? Also, I noticed, and I'm guessing this is due to the wetter weather and the low population, that some of the frames of capped honey have mould on them - should I avoid extracting any frames that have mould? should i set them aside and put them on my strong hives and allow them to clean it up and then extract?

Right now i've reduced all of my hives (except two strong ones) down to singles to give them an opportunity to build up and also so they have less space to keep warm/defend against SHB - the cape weed has, finally, started flowering in abindance so i expect that they will build up pretty quickly on that!

Thoughts and advice much appreciated..
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2012, 02:15:46 PM »

Nobody has any thoughts? That's not like the Aussie boys Smiley
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Anybrew
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 05:29:58 PM »

hey Bud, I don't have much advice but I agree the weather has been all over the place. I have found that my combs go mouldy due to a low population and wet weather.  I wouldn't extract those mouldy combs I would give them to a strong colony to clean up. Or just store them for a bit. I keep mine in a chest freezer until needed.
I paid the price this winter and lost most of my Hives due to the cold, I thought it was a good idea to over winter them in in two box's and it didn't work they couldn't keep warm. I will use a singles for winter from now one. As a result I will be purchasing 10 packages in ten days time.

The capeweed has finished here the odd swarm is filling the sky, the more the better so I can catch some.

Cheers
Steve


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iddee
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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2012, 08:40:45 PM »

""Thoughts and advice much appreciated..""

Maybe take up stamp collecting??

Save the mouldy for the bees.

Fermentation in no big deal. The bees will fix it.

Check pollen as well as nectar. It takes as much pollen as it does nectar to raise brood. Only adult bees can live on honey alone. That may be the reason they didn't grow in early spring.
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"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me . . . Anything can happen, child. Anything can be"

*Shel Silverstein*
squidink
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« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2012, 10:46:27 PM »

I had a similar weird experience were a strong hive did well over winter in the Yarra valley, came into the start of spring plenty of brood a bit of honey and pollen stores and quite a few drones. Last week I opened this particular hive after not looking at it for 3 weeks to find every bee dead! They basically starved to death! There is a smaller hive next to this one and they are doing ok..

I have just bought 25kg of sugar to keep my hives in the Valley going well until some nectar starts to flow..

I have not had fermented honey but correct me if I'm wrong but if fed to bees won't that give them (runny bums) disentry?
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prestonpaul
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2012, 01:36:21 AM »

I had the same experience as Squidink, when I finally got some good enough weather to do an inspection, all four hives were light and one was in dire straights.  Started feeding but too late for it. Checked it yesterday and it was full of dead bees  Cry No shb here, but I had slugs in my hives! The hives a on a stand so I can only assume that they had crawled up the grass as I had let it get too long. Lots of capeweed flowering here now so hopefully the others will be fine.
On the other hand, our two hives in Epping are going off. Added a second box to a hive I got from a cutout I did a few months ago, and will be putting a super on the other soon I think.
Sure is a steep learning curve in this beekeeping lark  grin
Paul.
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rawfind
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2012, 05:52:38 PM »

I had the same experience as Squidink, when I finally got some good enough weather to do an inspection, all four hives were light and one was in dire straights.  Started feeding but too late for it. Checked it yesterday and it was full of dead bees  Cry No shb here, but I had slugs in my hives! The hives a on a stand so I can only assume that they had crawled up the grass as I had let it get too long. Lots of capeweed flowering here now so hopefully the others will be fine.


Have the same problem with slugs here Paul , might throw some snail bait around the hives, been lucky this year only lost one hive , honey coming in and my hives have had two  main swarms and one secondary, im finding these Carolinians overwinter well but love to swarm! re Neil
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OzBuzz
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2012, 11:22:50 PM »

It's a crazy crazy season so far! I've ascertained that the fermentation in my hives wasn't as a result of SHB but rather mice getting in to the hives and causing the bees to abscond... they had collected some nectar but hadn't had the time to evaporate off the water from it so it appears the nectar had high sugars and high water = fermentation! Although I'm spotting a few SHB in my hives they're not in massive numbers at the moment and I'm not seeing and grubs or signs of them having eaten in to the comb... saying that though I'm not going to sit around waiting!

I'm going to be sorting through the boxes that I took off to make the hives singles and take the mouldy ones and set them aside - I've got some strong hives that I will put them on to clean them up and finish filling the frames. The ones that are ok I'm going to extract them... the cape weed is flowering in abundance now so i'm going to have to keep a close eye on them now so it doesnt go the other way and then they're in swarming mode! I'll store the boxes I extract though as stickies so they're ready to go back on at a moments notice... fingers crossed the season improves quickly!
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