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Author Topic: Inspection results: Too much honey?  (Read 1574 times)
2-Wheeler
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« on: September 24, 2006, 07:00:44 PM »

We attempted to do an inspection of the hive today. This was to be the first full inspection since we put the supers on and removed the honey. There was some good news, some bad and some questions.

We are in in our first year, with just one hive. It presently has two deeps and we removed the honey supers 2 weeks ago.

First the hive seemed very strong, even on a hot, calm day when many of the bees were out foraging, the hive was very crowded. We also found pollen  stores, brood, larva and even spotted the queen in the post-inspection review of the photos. (She's in this photo):



The bad news, after combing more than a dozen close-up pictures later, we did spot one bee, tending the larva with varroa mites on her back. This means we start treating for the mites.

The puzzle:  There was SOOO MUCH honey in the hive, we couldn't even get down to the lower deep. The outer frames of the deeps were litterally dripping in honey and just setting them on the rack for a few minutes during the inspection let the honey drip on the ground, bringing on several jyellow-jackets.  After removing two outer frames of the upper deep, we looked down to the lower deep and saw what looked like puddles of honey! See the photo below:



The Questions:
1. Is this excess honey or loose honey a problem?  If so what do we do about it?  
2. Is this much honey "normal"?  What causes it?

After inspecting about half of the frames in the upper deep, we felt we had to close up the hive, since there was so much exposed honey, even puddles on the ground. Also with all the propolis tightly binding everything together, it was very time consuming to pry the frames out.
3. So with all that, how is one supposed to complete the entire hive inspection in only 15 minutes or less?  Should we have stayed out longer to complete the inspection?

Thanks for any advice for the newbees.
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-David Broberg   CWOP#: CW5670 / CoCoRaHS #CO-BO-218
Blog: http://beesandblooms.blogspot.com/
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kathyp
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2006, 07:20:51 PM »

same thing happened to me the other day.  i think the honey came from comb i broke as i pried out frames.

i didn't get to the bottom box either, but figured that since things looked good and everyone looked healthy, all was well.  couldn't see fooling around out there with the robber coming on full.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2006, 08:46:08 PM »

I don't think the loose honey is a problem and I think they will clean it up and take care of things.  I don't know if it is to late in the year to treat for mites in your area or not but don't think it will hurt.  I would also put an entrance reducer on to help stop robing.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2006, 11:29:23 PM »

I think you might have/had a flow going on and not enough room in the hive for them to store what they collected and so they built extra comb between the frames (top and bottom) to store it in...... OR..... your beespace between top and bottom is way off.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2006, 12:57:53 AM »

>>1. Is this excess honey or loose honey a problem? If so what do we do about it?

It is what is referred to as burr comb, which the bees build for extra storage.  A good technic to use when checking more than one box in a hive that builds burr comb to excess is to twist the box slightly to break the comb.  A lot of beekeepers, wrongly I believe, insist on removing it each time they inspect a hive.  The bees of course just build more, thereby turning what could be harvestable honey into wax to replace the comb what the beekeeper removed.

2. Is this much honey "normal"? What causes it?

It is normal.  Some hives build lots of it (yours appear to be in that class) other hives build little or none.  At this time of year it is a good sign meaning your hive has suffiecient stores for winter.  


3. So with all that, how is one supposed to complete the entire hive inspection in only 15 minutes or less? Should we have stayed out longer to complete the inspection?

I would have, note the technic above on breaking the burr comb.
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2-Wheeler
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« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2006, 09:09:07 AM »

Thanks for the replies, they all make sense. Yes I think we are still having nector flow.  We harvested the last honey on Sep 9, based on what others in this area advised. When we put the empty super back on for them to "clean", they started packing more nector in it after only 2 days.

Even after our first freeze and several frosty mornings, we still have many warm days and many flowers still quite active in our garden. On warm days we see many bees on the late blooms including: aster, butterfly bush, spirea, russian sage, salvia, and other hearty perenials.  

We also still have ample water supplies quite near the hive and the flower garden is only about 300 feet from the hive.

Now I'm wondering if we should have left the last super a bit longer or possibly even added a third and taken a later harvest?  This is a learning process, and many of the other local beekeepers don't seem to complement the bees with ornamental flower gardens.
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-David Broberg   CWOP#: CW5670 / CoCoRaHS #CO-BO-218
Blog: http://beesandblooms.blogspot.com/
My Weather: http://www.leyner.org/
My Flickr Album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dbroberg/
kathyp
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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2006, 11:25:31 AM »

you and i seem to have run into many of the same problems.  i considered leaving my honey supers on longer, as the weather has been great.  however....i am using apiguard to treat for mites and it takes 30 days of good temps to complete treatment.  i got lucky with this weather because it's usually pretty cold here now.  

i have been fortunate to live where there are a good many bee keepers.   they pull the honey supers in early august.  they say there is not enough flow after that to make more honey for the taking and leave enough for the bees.  that did not seem to be true for me this year.  i didn't pull mine until sept. because i was out of town.  i have lots of honey in my hive.

i am feeling my way along and hoping i don't do a terminal screw up.  i can see where this is equal parts knowledge and instinct.  we are very fortunate to have people here who are so willing to share what they learn!
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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