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Honey or Sugar?

Hi! First time beek here. I just extracted my first crop. It is pretty light and somebody suggested that it is just sugar? There was 3 weeks between feeding and supering this hive. I don’t think it is sugar but this person is pretty convinced it is. Thoughts?

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Welcome to the group. I think you can ignore the just sugar comment. My spring harvests are always lighter than summer and fall. Here is mine from a few weeks back from one flow frame. I didn’t feed sugar syrup to these hives so I know it isn’t sugar. It really is all about the forage sources in your area. Just enjoy your honey and your beekeeping.

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Hello Kaitlyn, Sugar syrup or capped sugar syrup to me more precise in clear and not a honey color. Honey color varies depending on what the supply of nectar is the bees are feeding on. Yours is nice and light but I have seen lighter from hives that have never been fed syrup. Enjoy your first honey harvest.
Cheers

Hi there Purdie. Your honey looks like bee wee. Please ignore me, I’m only joking and couldn’t resist.

Actually it looks amazing. Apparently in the US and Canada, lighter coloured honeys like yours are considered superior and highly prized. Most europeans, and us Aussie bogans prefer it dark. Darker honey usually has more antioxidants, if you fancy that.

Where does it sit on the Pfund scale? Also curious what’s the taste like - mild, strong?

I also like your label’s negative space. Very clever.

Hey there Honeyeater, I would think on the Pfund scale the spring harvest is at the first level of water white by the looks of it. It has a very flowery flavour that is not heavy. My summer and fall harvests are closer to the middle to top level but I’ve never had the very top of the scale. I don’t have the necessary forage for the really dark honey in my region although 4 hours north of me they get it as the majority of their honey crop. It all tastes good to me so I like the variation of the seasons, and so do the people that ask me for honey all the time— I actually have a wait list this year. I have a lot of uncapped honey in my supers at the moment so its making me impatient to not be able to actually harvest right now. Too much humidity in our air I suppose. Ahhh the life of a beekeeper always being schooled by nature!

Thanks Tim. I never tasted honey that light. Interesting you say it has a ‘flowery’ flavour because I recall reading the same elsewhere.

Noted you have a waiting list for your honey Tim. March 2020 I sold just over 3 times the amount I sold in 2019, a good number of regular customers but new as well from word of mouth looking me up. Most of the customers ask “is it the same taste as the last lot I got?” For that reason I blend what I have when I have surplus but like you I often have honey on order.
I wonder how much the corona virus has to do with that or is it that the far biggest honey marketer in Australia is now Chinese owned. Or maybe that Capillano Honey got caught out with diluted honey and folks have gone looking for the bee keepers locally rather than buy diluted Super Market “honey”. Here the honey color is not as important as a consistent taste.
Cheers

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I think you are right Peter, the Covid situation has had a profound awakening on where our food supply chain originates. I’ve been to China, and the people that I’ve met were wonderful people. Unfortunately, like in many places, the greed of some drive people to cut corners and not feel the consequence of their actions-- especially if you put your product in a shipping container and sail it across to far away lands. Its unsettling that with all the human rights issues in that country that it took Covid to get us all to look closer. I’m hoping that it means in every country people will shop locally first wherever possible, and then extend their global purchases to countries that aren’t poisoning/lying to people any more to shrink the problem. But perhaps this is too political for our forum :).

I like having a wait list actually since I can’t sell honey at the farm gate with our Covid restrictions right now anyway-- being able to have a drop off for my customers makes me feel like I’m back in the 60s/70s when we used to get the milkman to deliver milk, eggs, and bread. Fond memories of that guy in his white truck and coin machine on his belt. My twin girls are turning 18 and of course they have no idea that cash was an actual thing in my lifetime. Imagine. I know you are a tad older so you’ve experienced even more change. I’m curious, other than Flow’s invention what to you reckon has been the best thing for beekeeping over your time?

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I can predate the home delivery of mild and bread mate. My mom had an ice chest (refrigerator) and the ice man can an delivered a big block of ice into the ice chest. A big step backwards was the kerosene fridge and the smell from it burning. A wood burning stove for cooking, mom could make magic with it.
My early days of bee keeping was an extraction room with no power and lighting was an an extension lead from the house to a light in the shed, it was a family affair doing the extracting till the wee hours and the truck was loaded with stickies for the 4 hour drive back to the hives. A huge step forward was laying power to the shed so I could replace the 4 two frame hand extractors with a brand new 12 frame electric unit. Long days and too many No-Doze pills and trips I did with no memory of doing them, and a lot of luck on my side.
The Flow Hive has really changed who a bee keeper is. For better or worse, so many people have a hive or two in their back yards, some people want to understand and care for their hives and some don’t seem to care while there is honey to be had. Some will never bee a bee keeper and blame Flow Hive when the hive dies, don’t care about swarming and the damage to the environment when it happens and some don’t know it has even happened.
Here if you have a hive it must be registered, or should be, Sadly when you register there is no requirement in the law that you need even have a slight idea how to care for the bees. Part of my business is selling colonies and complete hives and unless the buyer is prepared to spend at least a full day at my apiary to get a basic understanding of what is involved then there is no sale.
The funniest one was a guy who phoned me saying he had got no honey from his Flow Hive and had it for two years. Only 60 klm’s away so I went to see what was happening the next day. The hive was nicely oiled but there was no bee activity, so I lit up the smoker ans suited up and removed the roof, so bees, off with the super and the qx to find the brood frames as clean as the day he finished assembling the hive, I was stunned that he didn’t know that he heeded bees in the hive, he actually said he though that bees would just fill the Flow Frames and couldn’t figure out the bits of wood(the brood frames) were but saw where they fitted. Obviously he was in the wrong line of people when brains were handed out but it just shows how easy it is to be a bee keeper in Australia even without bees.
He did come to my apiary soon after but he wasn’t sold a colony,
Cheers

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Ice blocks, now that is a fair time back! We are so glad to have your wisdom here-- I know for the last 3 years that I’ve been on here I’ve enjoyed every single post you have written. I actually wish I had started earlier so when I was on a business trip I would have made a point of trying to visit you. Alas, my business travel to Aussie is not in the cards anymore as I’ve opted for a more home-based role to finish out my career. If you ever make it to Ontario Canada or Michigan USA I’ll make the trip to see you.

I hear you about the hobbiest cons; some folks just don’t understand what animal husbandry is all about. Its not a casual decision, but unfortunately we get some bad seeds in every career/neighborhood from time to time. I’m a fan of flow for building interest, and in my case I embraced the opportunity to soak up information and take the hobby like a vocation. I’d actually prefer to beekeep than my profession! A great outcome also for me has been starting a local beekeeping club and we have 160ish members now that are in the hobby and sharing stories and support. It has then turned a corner where one of the members has opened a store for woodenware and accessories since the demand is going up every year and I find that so great as I can drive there and get supplies whenever I need them and actually see the eyes of the owner who is filled with wisdom as a 2nd gen beekeeper.

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I am starting my own honey extraction. Thanks for motivation

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