Hello fellow bee keepers, I am fairly new to bee keeping, live in Melbourne Australia and have just gone through my first winter. After doing some research I rightly or wrongly decided to keep my flow frame on the hive over winter. Today I completed my first inspection post winter and found a big black bug bigger than a match head in the hive beetle trap (plus a load of yuk in there as well!) and my honey when looking at it via the end of the flow frame has loads of white dots. I don’t know if this is honey crystallisation due to the current temperatures or if it is eggs from the beetle. I have uploaded some photos hopefully they help. Does anyone know what this is in the honey and if I need to treat my hive? thanks Helen
Beetles don’t lay in honey, it would kill the eggs.
It could be crystallising or maybe fermenting?
Most likely crystallization from frames being left on over winter. I would lift the frames out to inspect the capped surface, and if they are 90% capped, harvest them ASAP so that the whole crop doesn’t crystallize. The bees will hopefully clean the crystals out once you have drained the frames. If the whole crop crystallizes, you will not be able to harvest it.
Hi, thanks for the reply its good to know its not eggs, it was scaring me that my hive was inundated.
Thanks for the reply, do that the next warm days. The bees have stripped some of the flow frames and they are super clean so hopefully they clean it and I don’t have to!
I agree with Dawn in that the honey is likely crystallizing in the frames from the cold Winter months. The ‘big black bug bigger than a match head’ could be a SHB. A lot of ‘crud’ at the top of the SHB traps and that will reduce their effectiveness.
Extract the frames ASAP and I would feed that back to the hive. But be cautious as forcing the frame open could cause it to fail where you enter the key to turn it.
If you prefer to leave them on the hive the bees will probably get around to using the crystallized honey if they need to resort to it as a food source but more likely they will use nectar first. Another option would be to remove the frames and flush the crystallized out with warm water but not boiling water, about 70C would be ok.
I overwinter my frames and got a similar result. I ate the honey and little bits and they were crunchy. Still yum in my books.
Thanks Peter, the next hot day i’ll extract it. The honey that we extracted last year has crystallised in the jar, is this normal for a young hive?
great to know, some of our honey from last summer crystallised in the jar I agree still really yummy.
It depends on what the nectar is the bees have been foraging on as to if or how long it takes to crystallize and it will happen faster in cool weather. It has nothing to do with the age of the hive or the bees. You can turn it back to liquid honey by warming the jar or short zaps in a microwave.
Leaving honey to wintering bees not always is a good practice. In some parts of the World where winters are cold and honey has high tendency to crystallise full removal of honey and its replacement with thick sugar syrup could be a standard step in preparation for wintering. This provides bees with easily accessible food and removes question “What to do with crystallised frames” in the spring
Do the bees have any issue utilizing the crystallized honey?
My thought is no - so, in places with cold winters, the second deep can just always be there for the bees - extra brood space or honey stores depending on the season or the need.
Bees can use crystalise honey.
Yes, they can. Until they can’t. If there is no access to water to dissolve crystallised honey, bees may eat everything available leaving crystals in comb. Result looks like this:
If colony still survives, one may also observe how they throw away those crystals during spring clean up.
Evening, I just thought I’d let you all know what I ended up doing with the flow frames that had crystallisation in them. Initially I took two flow frames out and replaced them with three standard frame with wax foundation. I stored these flow frames in the house and everyday I placed them in front of the hive entry. The weather has been favourable and the bees were very busy, they stripped all the honey out of the flow frames and left the crystallisation behind just like the photo ABB posted. I am now on to my final flow frame and hopefully this will be cleaned out of honey by next week. I’m then planning to initially wash the frames with warm water to see how much crystallisation I can remove. I am hoping that by then this second brood box that I have now created will be humming along and it won’t been to long until I can re-establish the flow frame box back on to the hive. Thanks so much for everyones help, some lessons are learnt the hard way but at least my bees have done the majority of the clean up for me!