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Author Topic: My hive smells (great)--WHY?  (Read 1540 times)
Bee Curious
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« on: August 24, 2013, 07:42:19 PM »

This is my first year keeping bees.  Last week, on a very cool day, I noticed for the first time that smell that people wax eloquent about--the sweet smell of a hive.  Until that day, the smell was never noticeable outside of the hive.  I have a good sniffer, and I would have noticed.  The smell has been noticeable ever since.  To me, it smells like fresh cut pine and honey combined.

What causes that sweet, beehive smell (honey? nectar?) and why did it only recently start smelling that way?  

« Last Edit: August 24, 2013, 09:10:59 PM by Bee Curious » Logged
dprater
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2013, 08:03:15 PM »

No idea, but I also love the smell of my hives usually. Last fall the bees were bring someting in that smelled like dirty socks, goldenrod I think. Even that was interesting.

dan
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GSF
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2013, 08:20:49 PM »

Mine smells like Naapom.  lau

Actually mine is a somewhat sweet sickly smell. Probably the sugar water.
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John Wayne
Orlando
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2013, 10:52:58 PM »

Smelly sock odor = goldenrod
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sc-bee
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2013, 07:59:10 AM »

Different sources of nectar smell diffeent. I have been to fellow beeks hive and smelled the fresh honey smell. It is what you would expect. No, mine always has a musty smell. And I have a good smeller and the smell seems to remain in my sinus cavities for a while after or maybe on y clothes. It has always been puzzling and a little annoying to me.

 No, there is not any diseases involved. And yes wait for the golden rod or some say it is the aster.
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Joe D
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2013, 10:41:18 AM »

Golden rod smells like something dead until it is cured, and it is getting time for it.




Joe
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Bee Curious
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2013, 01:48:44 PM »

Golden rod smells like something dead until it is cured, and it is getting time for it.

You say, "until it's cured"--does that mean that once goldenrod honey is capped, it smells better?  If I wait to pull honey until after the goldenrod goes into the hive, will it make my earlier honey smell bad if it is mixed and bottled together?  In other words, should I pull excess honey before the goldenrod blooms (which will be soon)?

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Moots
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2013, 03:03:09 PM »


You say, "until it's cured"--does that mean that once goldenrod honey is capped, it smells better?  If I wait to pull honey until after the goldenrod goes into the hive, will it make my earlier honey smell bad if it is mixed and bottled together?  In other words, should I pull excess honey before the goldenrod blooms (which will be soon)?


BC,
I'm still young in the Beek game, so I'm sure others with more experience will either confirm of correct me here...But yes, I thnik that's what Joe is saying, my understanding is that Goldenrod honey stinks while in the hive but once capped and ready doesn't have the unpleasant odor and will taste fine...Understanding that taste is subjective and some may not care for it.  However, I think it's fair to say it doesn't taste like dirty socks.  grin

The other issue with harvesting goldenrod honey is that it's my understanding that it crystalizes rather quickly, for this reason I think some avoid taking it.
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millipede
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2013, 10:38:45 PM »

On the other hand, if you extract it and it does turn solid, it is really easy to feed back to the bees. Just put and extra empty super on top of the hive and put the entire jar in there. As long as it is completely solid, no bees will drown and they will eat it up.
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edward
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« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2013, 09:02:02 AM »

1 or 2 weeks a year my hives smell like ginger bread cookies  grin

I Think it comes from  Cercidiphyllum http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cercidiphyllum


mvh Edward  tongue
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Bee Curious
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2013, 09:28:38 AM »

What interesting comments--I learned a lot.  Thank you all.

BC
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beewitch
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2013, 02:55:18 PM »

Just yesterday I passed the hive and smelled that fantastic aroma.  It's a combo of warm honey, beeswax, sunshine, dirt and wood.  Nothing like it.  Seems to happen (outside the hive) late afternoon after day-long sunshine (which we have not had a lot of this year)... 
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TNBeeLady
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2013, 09:09:31 PM »

My hives will start smelling "yeasty", probably not a word, but that's the only description I can think of for it!  I love that smell.  I've read it's the smell of the beebread, but I don't know if that's accurate or not.  I just know it smells wonderful!
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sc-bee
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2013, 06:15:05 AM »

My hives will start smelling "yeasty", probably not a word, but that's the only description I can think of for it!  I love that smell.  I've read it's the smell of the beebread, but I don't know if that's accurate or not.  I just know it smells wonderful!

Maybe that is the word I am looking for yeasty. But not a fresh sunshine honey smell. Not apparent at outside only on inspections.
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T Beek
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2013, 01:48:14 PM »

My personal favorite is Basswood, man it smells good.  However, Smells (and tastes) are subjective as already stated, and each colony has subtle differences IMHO.  Much depends on what's going on inside and outside.  Most people tell me they love the smell of my honey house/garage  grin  whether there is any honey in there or not.  Fresh comb can smell pretty good to.  I like spending time with my bees whenever a flow is on, listening (and smelling) to those "snap, crackle and pop" sounds as they make new wax to fill with honey.  Yummmmm. 

Unfortunately for Basswood, conditions must be near perfect to produce nectar.  This year, despite a massive blooming of a big Basswood behind our house, due to drought conditions and thus a lack of nectar, it drew no interest from honeybees.  We did not see a single bee visit any of our Basswoods regardless of how much it bloomed or how wonderful it smelled.........to us. 

Basswood blooms for just 2-3 weeks and when the stars are lined up in harmony we (and our bees) celebrate BIG TIME with gobs of Basswood Honey!  Unfortunately, since 2007 we and our bees have only produced our own Basswood honey twice.  Some years they don't even flower  Sad  Like several other favorite Honeys, CONDITIONS are everything.

As for goldenrod honey, it ain't bad at all once capped, but we usually leave all of it for the bees.  In fact we stop taking honey in August.  They will need (and we try to leave them or feed them) 100 pounds of honey to survive our winters.  Like many folks, Goldenrod is the last flow around here (and even that doesn't always make nectar). 

Asters are also very attractive to bees this time of year but I'm uncertain whether they are getting nectar or pollen or both.  I've only 'heard' that it makes a nice light honey and not sure of its smell huh
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Palouse
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2013, 06:32:10 PM »

I like spending time with my bees whenever a flow is on, listening (and smelling) to those "snap, crackle and pop" sounds as they make new wax to fill with honey.

Is that what that sound is? For the life of me I couldn't figure out what they were doing.
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Bee Happy
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« Reply #16 on: August 31, 2013, 02:19:15 AM »

Smelly sock odor = goldenrod
Ah Ha!
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Jackam
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« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2013, 10:14:19 PM »

Since my bees have found the Goldenrod, I have not been able to place the odor. It wasn't dirty socks or feet or anything like that. Not really foul smelling but VERY strong. Yesterday it hit me... I put my finger on the odor!

I walked my neighbor to the fence next to my hive and asked him what he smelled. Him and his girlfriend bith said it was very familiar but they couldn't place it. I told them what it was - ACT II Microwave popcorn, extra butter flavor!
YES!!! They both agreed!

I don't know why my bees hit the goldenrod and smell like microwave butter flavorings, but they do!
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2013, 11:04:39 AM »

The smell of artificial butter is mostly butyric acid which is also the smell of Parmesan cheese, vomit and bee go, just in differing amounts.

I've always wondered if it's the smell of goldenrod or the smell of asters as they both always bloom at the same time here.  But I smell gym socks.  Some describe it as butterscotch.  Part of it, I'm sure, is the subjectivity of smell, but some of it may also be the proportion of asters to goldenrod...
 
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rwurster
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« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2013, 05:48:30 PM »

Mine have that yeasty smell right now but the goldenrod and rabbit bush are blooming so its going to be sweaty sock smell pretty soon.
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