Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Basic beekeeping, this is beekeeping after the first winter until about the third or fourth year. You are a beekeeper, but you still have a lot to learn. Talk about normal everyday beekeeping here.
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Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby Braden » Sat Jul 01, 2017 12:38 am

Does anyone know if a swarm stores any of the honey that they've taken from their parent hive, or is it all used for brood rearing and comb?

My reason for asking is the hive they came from had a couple frames that I know to be sugar syrup. If they stored cane sugar, I don't want to harvest it. If it is honey, I'd like to take the greedy route and take it from them, replacing it with a couple other frames that I know to be sugar from another hive. This is a one time deal since I'm not going to feed syrup anymore. The reason for the greed is our late winter/cold spring, and my "expansion" is likely to leave me with little honey for my own consumption. Thanks!

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby GregV » Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:51 am

Braden wrote:Does anyone know if a swarm stores any of the honey that they've taken from their parent hive, or is it all used for brood rearing and comb?

My reason for asking is the hive they came from had a couple frames that I know to be sugar syrup. If they stored cane sugar, I don't want to harvest it. If it is honey, I'd like to take the greedy route and take it from them, replacing it with a couple other frames that I know to be sugar from another hive. This is a one time deal since I'm not going to feed syrup anymore. The reason for the greed is our late winter/cold spring, and my "expansion" is likely to leave me with little honey for my own consumption. Thanks!


You know, the only honey a swarm bee takes is a single load of honey in her "honey stomach".
This is all.
This is just enough reserves to carry them alive for a few days and get started the new colony (they will forage as soon as they can, even if not permanently settled yet).

There is not enough of the original honey (or sugar syrup) taken from the parent hive to be concerned whatsoever about it making into the long term storage. They burn it ALL before you even start talking about comb/brood generation (forget about storing it somehow for later - there is nothing to store).

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby SiWolKe » Sat Jul 01, 2017 5:11 am

Yes, Greg is right.
My swarm with virgin queen stored a little amount of honey before they had brood, but the moment they start breeding they need all.
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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby Salvatore » Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:11 pm

Greg is spot on. Yes, swarms store honey in their honey stomachs. This becomes their foundation for survival. Quite often when catching swarms in traps you will see cells filled with nectar in the tiniest amount of freshly built comb.

Honey is the food of bees, sugar syrup is man's way of making up for poor genetics and our greed. Bees need honey. If you were to take away milk from a nursing cow just too feed formula to her calf then the health and the longevity of her offspring will be compromised.

Considering that all conventional sugar cane production in the US since the 1970's is sprayed with a ripening agent (A.K.A. Glyposphate/ Round-Up) you may want to keep your bees from eating that sugar syrup at all costs. Ripening agents are used to ensure that the fields ripen at the same time while increasing the sugar content of the crop as it dies back. This is also in common practice on conventional cereal grains especially here in the US. When we feed bees sugar syrup are we exposing our bees to parts per billion or parts per million of glyphosphate? Is this having a long term impact on their gut health? Not to mention their is a big difference in the pH between natural honey and sugar syrup. "Sugar syrup has a much higher pH (6.0) than Honey (3.2 to 4.5) (Sugar is more alkali, honey more acidic). This affects the reproductive capability of virtually every brood disease in bees plus Nosema." http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm

Swarms have a sort of hybrid vigor about them, a sense of urgency which makes them forage and build a comb very rapidly. Some swarms will also make you "excess" honey in short order. My advice; 1ST DO NO HARM, Wait And See; it is July 2nd, we are about mid-way thru the season in the Northern Hemisphere. Come September/ October if there is excess honey then it is a win for all involved. Don't take anything away until you have proof that their truly is excess. As Greg and SiWolKe mentioned your bees may need all available food stores to build up their winter stores. If all else fails and their is no excess, then help support a local beekeeper in your area and purchase honey from them. It might be cheaper than replacing bees in the spring time.
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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby GregV » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:12 pm

Salvatore wrote:Greg is spot on. .... If all else fails and their is no excess, then help support a local beekeeper in your area and purchase honey from them. It might be cheaper than replacing bees in the spring time.


:)
I was going to suggest exactly this and refrained.
So yes - I too would say: leave ALL the honey to the bees (toss in that extra sugar syrup in addition too).

Basically, how much money are you going to save by robbing them of their 2-3 frames of honey?
Few insignificant dollars maybe.
Then just go and buy yourself some honey this season (from a local fellow beekeeper - is the best).
While at it - ask for any old, junky honey combs they do not need; they might just give them to you for your bees also.
A good fellow keeper gave me a full container of old black honey combs this year - REALLY great help with my nucs.

But meanwhile, those same 2-3 frames of honey may make or break the wintering for the swarm.
This is where it really counts (not in a kitchen jar).

I say, set your bees up for the best wintering possible.
That's the goal while expanding.
Forget the honey this season.

A colony of wintered bees is worth much, much more then few jars of honey.

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:27 pm

GregV wrote:While at it - ask for any old, junky honey combs they do not need; they might just give them to you for your bees also.
A good fellow keeper gave me a full container of old black honey combs this year - REALLY great help with my nucs.


Be careful with such advise. This could spread disease like AFB.
Take this only from a beekeeper you trust.
Same with feeding honey out of glasses.

You have that fresh not contaminated comb of your location now, Braden. If you leave the honey, maybe feed a little organic sugar made into syrup, you have the best start.
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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby GregV » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:40 pm

SiWolKe wrote:Be careful with such advise. This could spread disease like AFB.
Take this only from a beekeeper you trust.


Yes - infection spread is always a concern IF you care about it. :D
I suppose I don't care as much as those are mostly issues of large-scale, industrialized, concentrated, treatment- dependent agriculture operations.
So let them care.

But anyway, I myself am trying to build long-term relationships with 2-3 local guys.
If buying locally, I will just buy from them. It is a win-win proposition.
Long-term relationships are more important than few $$ saved just for now.
If you do this approach, you care less of many issues anyway (like AFB stuff).

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby SiWolKe » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:31 pm

Infections are everywhere but if you blame yourself to have imported them into your beeyard it´s not very nice.

And if law kills your hives its even worse.

I myself become more and more relaxed about things like that.

We have a new veterinary advisor here who published in our magazine that the moment the SHB would be present all hives will be burned or eliminated in an area of 10km and earth taken off to end the pest for sure.

Same as with varroa. When will they ever learn?
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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby Braden » Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:38 pm

Thank you for the replies. I'm going to take it and leave them the sugar as I'm not overly concerned about starvation. There is definitely plenty of stores to keep my apiary from starving this coming winter. I'll be reducing 20 hives to 10-14 hives with more than plenty of food stores. There just doesn't seem to be plenty left over for my own use, which is why I'm wanting to trade them capped sugar syrup for their honey.

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby GregV » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:52 pm

Braden wrote:Thank you for the replies. I'm going to take it and leave them the sugar as I'm not overly concerned about starvation. There is definitely plenty of stores to keep my apiary from starving this coming winter. I'll be reducing 20 hives to 10-14 hives with more than plenty of food stores. There just doesn't seem to be plenty left over for my own use, which is why I'm wanting to trade them capped sugar syrup for their honey.


Sounds like you have no problems then. :D
The talk started with an "expansion" context; but then ended up in "reduction" context.
So that is kind of a 180 degree turn. :D If you reduce, there should be all kinds of resources to go around.
At least you got your original question answered.

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby GregV » Sun Jul 02, 2017 9:55 pm

SiWolKe wrote:Infections are everywhere but if you blame yourself to have imported them into your beeyard it´s not very nice.

And if law kills your hives its even worse.

I myself become more and more relaxed about things like that.

We have a new veterinary advisor here who published in our magazine that the moment the SHB would be present all hives will be burned or eliminated in an area of 10km and earth taken off to end the pest for sure.

Same as with varroa. When will they ever learn?


You know - TF is TF.
I am not worried about anything at all.
I just assume by the next spring 50% of my bees will die (from any old cause whatsoever) - TF that I am.
Dry sugar winter supplement as needed - all T that I will do.

People kept bees for about 1000 years, never knew about AFB/SHB and the like, the bees just kept on living with all the infection around.
Those infections are as old as the bee itself.

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby Braden » Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:59 pm

GregV wrote:
Braden wrote:Thank you for the replies. I'm going to take it and leave them the sugar as I'm not overly concerned about starvation. There is definitely plenty of stores to keep my apiary from starving this coming winter. I'll be reducing 20 hives to 10-14 hives with more than plenty of food stores. There just doesn't seem to be plenty left over for my own use, which is why I'm wanting to trade them capped sugar syrup for their honey.


Sounds like you have no problems then. :D
The talk started with an "expansion" context; but then ended up in "reduction" context.
So that is kind of a 180 degree turn. :D If you reduce, there should be all kinds of resources to go around.
At least you got your original question answered.



Oh, I'm sure I'll have problems just like every other year, just starvation will not be one of them. I've been expanding as rapidly as possible since they reproduce so fast while they're building up. When the time comes, I'll combine them based on how much food they've stored up. I don't worry about too much as long as there's enough bees this fall to keep me from having to purchase any after a possible crappy winter. I always leave way more food than they would ever need. But I'd rather leave them already stored sugar syrup (just to get it used up) and keep a couple more frames of honey for myself.

Speaking of problems, after marking that queen today, I placed her on top of the frames. Rather than scurrying quickly down like usual, she flew away. Hopefully she'll be back. She's been a good one. Maybe she's been reading this thread and is saying "Screw you and your cane sugar. I'm outa here!"

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:37 am

Braden wrote: I always leave way more food than they would ever need. But I'd rather leave them already stored sugar syrup (just to get it used up) and keep a couple more frames of honey for myself.


Sounds like a plan!
Given this context, I too might just take some honey for myself then. :)

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:55 am

I must be a strange person thinking a swarm must be established first until being robbed by me.

This year I harvested the first time from living colonies, only surplus.

From my deadouts I stored most of the honey combs to give to splits or weak ones ( or this year to a swarm).

I´m not feeding sugar if possible. Too much work and less natural for the bees. I lack experience but I think they need the antibiotics in honey.

When I fed sugar syrup the first year (my colonies were harvested by the former owner), they had so much left in the following spring they expanded enormously which lead to breeding too many mites. I should have splitted to more colonies then, or split differently , giving the bees a chance to outbreed the mites.
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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby GregV » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:49 pm

SiWolKe wrote:I must be a strange person thinking a swarm must be established first until being robbed by me.

This year I harvested the first time from living colonies, only surplus.

From my deadouts I stored most of the honey combs to give to splits or weak ones ( or this year to a swarm).

I´m not feeding sugar if possible. Too much work and less natural for the bees. I lack experience but I think they need the antibiotics in honey.

When I fed sugar syrup the first year (my colonies were harvested by the former owner), they had so much left in the following spring they expanded enormously which lead to breeding too many mites. I should have splitted to more colonies then, or split differently , giving the bees a chance to outbreed the mites.


Well, Sibylle, do realize that if timing and conditions are favorable, a good swarm will, in fact, generate surplus honey while starting with nothing.
Yep - starting with absolutely nothing.
This is called - swarm energy.
Just give them space and watch.

Honey does not have any significant amount of antibiotics in it, to speak of. :)
Honey, however, does have very low pH - meaning honey is quite acidic.
This acidity gives honey strong antimicrobial properties and, of course, is the expected normal food for the bees.

Sugar has neutral pH and possesses no antimicrobial activity.
Though sugar in very high concentration does not spoil itself (you know, how we make the preserves with sugar).
Otherwise, sugar is just an emergency carb supplement without any beneficial side-effects.
Nothing more.

Regarding the "too much honey" triggered the bees to grow "enormously" in spring is misleading too (I am pretty sure of it).
The expansion is, really, driven by pollen availability AND the bees genetics in how they respond to the environmental clues.
This is how Italian bees in my locality explode too early and then often starve in March/April.
Notice - they explode regardless if they have honey or not. They don't really care.
This is how they often starve in spring without feeding (hence not fit for the locality).

I would not worry that "too much stores" somehow will trigger abnormal colony growth.
This is more about bees themselves than about honey stores they have.

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby Nordak » Mon Jul 03, 2017 2:39 pm

Sibylle, reading your post on the German response to a Small Hive Beetle sighting is preposterous. One of the most manageable pests there is. Keep your bee to comb coverage population dense, as well as keeping bees prone to hive defense, and your problem is solved. They aren't that bad at all. It's going to happen, might as well let it.

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Re: Does a swarm store honey from parent hive?

Postby SiWolKe » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:11 pm

Jeff, for the first time I plan not to have all my hives registrated.

But maybe it´s hot air...
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