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Author Topic: Honey Left in Dead Hive  (Read 368 times)
Tom K-B
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« on: February 15, 2014, 10:56:01 PM »

This is our first year as beeks and we had one hive going into winter.

This past Thursday was a beautiful day here in Nashville, so my wife went to put some fondant candy on our hive. I had checked them three weeks ago and they were doing fine - lots of activity that day, cleansing flights, etc. But on Thursday she found them all laying on the bottom of the hive, dead. I'm imagining they just wouldn't break cluster to get to the honey during the cold snap we had during the past two weeks.

Here's my question. There is still capped honey in the top box of our hive (about five or six pounds). What do we need to do with it? I'm thinking we give it to our new bees that will be coming in a few weeks. But my wife is concerned that it might get moldy or something in the mean time. What do we do?
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GSF
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Location: Central AL (nw corner of Elmore County)


« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2014, 06:34:41 AM »

First off, Welcome!

I'm a first year beek so I don't have any experience to offer you about your questions. There are others who can offer some sound advice.

Are you sure they're all dead? Was the cluster too small and maybe froze? Treatment free? It would be wise to try and figure out "why" they died. If it was a disease then possibly your next batch of bees are doomed in advance.

Capped honey should be just fine unless there's a disease issue - I'm guessing.
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Moots
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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2014, 07:56:57 AM »

Tom,
Just freeze the entire frame(s) as is...When your new bees are about to arrive, take it out so it can defrost and give it to them. 

They'll absolutely love it and it'll be a great head start for them!  grin
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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o.molchanov
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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2014, 12:32:51 PM »

Hi,

Basing on our experience, your wife is was right. It would be better to get rid of these old moldy six pounds and start to feed your new colonies with sugar syrup at the beginning.

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Moots
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2014, 01:17:41 PM »

But my wife is concerned that it might get moldy or something in the mean time. What do we do?

** emphasis added

o.molchanov,
I think "it might get" is the key point in his wife's concern...I'd agree, with ditching it if it was already moldy or showing some other problem, but that doesn't sound like the case.

Technically, nothing has to be done to this honey to keep for that short period of time.  I think freezing is just the safest to avoid problems with wax moths or SHB's.
Another option would be to freeze for a few days in case to protect against wax moth larva, then let it reach room temperature and store in a bug proof container, such as tupperware.
Or...just skip the freezer and store in the container...When needed, it'll either be a slimy mess, in which case, don't use it.  Or, perfectly fine, in which case, use it!
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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AllenF
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2014, 03:55:46 PM »

Last month I put another 6 boxes of capped frames in the freezer out of dead outs.  Waiting for spring bees and swarms.  Been doing it like this for years. 
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stanisr
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2014, 03:59:10 PM »

If not moldy, freeze it and use it later.
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Rick
Vance G
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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2014, 07:04:46 PM »

Bees are not poodles and will clean up any mold very well.  It is ridiculous to throw away hard assets like drawn comb and honey in virtually new frames.  Use your bee brush to clean off anything on the surface.  Leave the dead bees nosed into the cells.  Freezing them if you have butterflies in the air would be a good idea but I doubt you have any butterflies right now.  Put the cleanest of the drawn comb in your brood box for your new bees and the frames that offend you the most toward the outside.  Shake the bees in and they will clean it up before they need it and be in much better shape than bees shaken onto foundation.  Your wife is wrong.
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Tom K-B
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2014, 02:56:53 PM »

Thanks, everyone. Moots, you are correct that the concern is about what "might" happen to these frames and their honey. Right now, they look very good with the exception of the little dead bee butts staring at us from some of the cells. I'm pretty certain that they died due to freezing. Guess I had some of those "whimpy" Southern bees that someone mentioned in another thread.  Anyway, we'll either freeze the frames or put them in Tupper Ware to preserve them for our new colonies scheduled to arrive the end of March. I still wonder if they would have survived had I put some fondant candy on top of the frames when I opened the hive back at the end of January.
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