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2 questions about honey

 
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I have harvested very little honey. Like maybe a pint total. Top bar hive. The small harvest leads to 2 questions.

1. Can a person conclude that store bought honey is primarily made from sugar water? I have fed mine very little, just in the beginning. It's been a year since i have fed them. My honey is darker than anything i have seen in stores which leads me to theorize about the sugar water.

2. What about combs that are not 100% honey? When i did my micro harvest i could not find a comb that was just honey. It had open cells that were a dark brown. I assume that larvae hatched out of them. Does this darken or add an off taste to the honey?

I am planning to add 1 hive per year til  i can't. Lol. While i have 2 top bars i am thinking of going with the regular boxes for the next couple of years. If these questions are issues,  would the other style hive resolve it?
 
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wayne fajkus wrote:I have harvested very little honey. Like maybe a pint total. Top bar hive. The small harvest leads to 2 questions.

1. Can a person conclude that store bought honey is primarily made from sugar water? I have fed mine very little, just in the beginning. It's been a year since i have fed them. My honey is darker than anything i have seen in stores which leads me to theorize about the sugar water.

2. What about combs that are not 100% honey? When i did my micro harvest i could not find a comb that was just honey. It had open cells that were a dark brown. I assume that larvae hatched out of them. Does this darken or add an off taste to the honey?

I am planning to add 1 hive per year til  i can't. Lol. While i have 2 top bars i am thinking of going with the regular boxes for the next couple of years. If these questions are issues,  would the other style hive resolve it?



A lot of the honey sold in stores is adulterated or misrepresented. Even local honey can be the same due to people feeding sugar, overharvesting etc. Also, a lot of beekeepers treat their hives with miticides, keep bees on foundation, do not rotate out old comb often enough (comb will store all the heavy metals and chemicals and should be rotated out after a while). Treatment-free is the first step, which means breeding locally adapted genetics that need no help from you (seems like you already know this?). Look up Fedor Lazutin's book "Keeping bees with a smile" and after that read Thomas Seeley's latest book "Lives of bees". You generally cannot tell whether honey is adulterated just by looking at it. Buckwheat, for example, will produce a dark honey. Black locust will produce a light honey. So will clover. So on and so on. Your environment is next. Your land will determine the carrying capacity - how many hives you can feed off just your land. Obviously, bees do not recognize land boundaries but if you provide forage during the year they are out foraging, chances are they will mostly stick to your stuff. Although there are no guarantees, in 2018 I planted 4 acres of buckwheat and they literally did not touch it, opting instead for the field of white clover that we planted, they are opportunists and will go for what they prefer and probably what gives them biggest bang for the buck (least work, most nectar?). Good luck and feel free to ask any questions you want. I keep in TBH and Lazutin (double-deep horizontal hives). Cheers.
 
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Honey color naturally varies depending on many factors. Mostly their food but there are other factors. I'm going to play nice with a polite answer & just say your honey is almost guaranteed to be far superior compared to some large commercial brands. You're asking a good question. Perhaps a short browse through a few large bee supply catalogs or websites for "bee food" will provide insight. I think some is definitely better than others but judge for yourself. Color can be an indicator of flavor but in & of itself is not a reliable foolproof mark of quality. I've had amazing peach honey (very light) & amazing sourwood honey (almost black).

Bees don't necessarily read the same books beekeepers do. A small amount of unused cells or a little uncapped honey is not a problem. The wax darkens with age & use. If it seems to affect color or taste something else is probably wrong.

Langstroth hives typically produce more honey than top bars. Or so I'm told & have read. Never actually tried top bars. I started with the one new hive per year plan & it snowballed. Still haven't caught up to the free brand new boxes that came my way.





 
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