Is there any way to know if honey in the flow frames is actually honey or stores from fed sugar water?
We’ve had to feed here due to lack of stores / nectar flow. I have now 5 hives - all of which have had very little stores and so have had to feed for about 1 month now due to extended rain here in Sydney. I stopped feeding on the flow hive about 2 weeks ago after i could see a number of the flow frames beginning to fill. Not sure if this is nectar coming in - or stores from feeding.
Only 2 ways that I am aware of:
- Analyse the liquid for pollen grains with a microscope. I am married to a pathologist, so this is possible for me, but won’t be for everyone, unless you get good with one of these - https://foldscope.com
- Never have a harvesting super on the hive when you are feeding your bees. OK, I know, that is too late for you. However, I personally never feed with a super in place. That means I need to overwinter, or sit out dearths, with more boxes below the queen excluder. However, it also means that I can rely on my honey more than if I was feeding with a super on top.
A taste test will help in a few areas, bees will group the same forage together. Id be inclined to try and get them to move the sugar stores to free space below the Flow Super, maybe cycling out an old brood frame so the bees can feed on the stores in the Flow Frames to build new wax and to hopefully bring any stores in the Flow Frames down to store inside honey comb. It would be best to act quickly and maybe even remove the Flow Super to drain what is inside even if it is not ready feed this back to the bees with the Flow Frames removed from the hive and when it is all gone, return the Flow Super to the hive. Harvesting Flow Frames off the hive is likely to lead to them leaking especially if this is uncapped and partially filled. So a tray under the Flow Super will be necessary to catch spilled honey.
Thanks Dawn. Always appreciate your input.
Microscope is a no go but …
Never have a harvesting super on the hive when you are feeding your bees
A face-palm moment for sure. Of course - that makes perfect sense. I will remove supers. They can’t store sugars in there if they arent there!
KieranPI idea of
Id be inclined to try and get them to move the sugar stores to free space below the Flow Super
or draining the flow super is a great idea.
Thanks for the feedback. much appreciated.
I wonder if the process of regurgitation & enzymatic activity turns sugar/water honey into a more superior product than sugar/water syrup.
It does taste better than simple syrup, but it doesn’t have the complexity and aromas of honey. I was gifted some once, and it tasted pretty bland. I asked the beekeeper what their bees had been foraging on, and they said not much had been flowering, so they were feeding them…