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wightbees 

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What are your views on ivy, it would seem that some just don't like the idea of having ivy stores. Is it that bad? What do you do with it, or is there nothing you can do with it apart from let the bees have it for winter.
 

oliver90owner 

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some just don't like the idea of having ivy stores. Is it that bad?

They (the 'some') must think so! Me? I don't bother too much. It will only be part of the winter provisions in my 14 x 12s and it will get used slowly in the springtime if not previously. Lets be honest here, the larger part of the winter stores is likely converted to brood in the spring than to heat in the winter (dependent on outside conditions, the amount of stores, the type of bee, the insulation values of the hive, vetilation, etc)

Bees and ivy have been around longer than we have, so they have managed for many a year before man started keeping bees.

Regards, RAB
 

Cazza 

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:iagree: with RAB. ( Is that twice in 3 weeks?? Aaaargh!)

Don't be put off by ivy, it may set hard but will get used up.
Cazza
 

MJBee 

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I don't think you have much choice - If the weather is suitable and there is a flow on the bees will gather it. The problem then is if there is insufficient space they will fill up the brood area and there is a risk of swarming.

Ivy honey is an acquired taste:puke: but if you do get an ivy flow my advice is put a super on to hold it, remove before bedding down for the winter and give it to them in the spring. If you do want to extract it do it quickly it sets like OSR.
 

justme 

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Hi Wightbees. I like ivy honey, when its matured, 5+ months? When i helped in the honey tent at a local show, a fellow beek had there loads of small (about 2.5" high hex jars) of ivy at £2 each. He warmed and stirred a jar in the morning, we , I and him, offered it on the end of a spoon handle to everyone who stopped to ask questions. i was only there for the afternoon but in that time 38 out of 40 people who tried it liked it, most ought jars to take away and a couple bought two.
Before the end of the show he had sold out. So dont assume. Maybe let people try, it you may be surprised, but recommend you keep it until next Spring before you do:.)

Di:.)
 

Blodwen Price 

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I knew of a fairly large scale beekeeper (term used advisedly in this case), who was marketing Ivy honey as "the last honey of the millenium" back in '99, not sure how popular it was, but I believe he is out of the game now!:)
 

Onge 

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I have never had a problem with it.

My supers are always off before it starts to flow and they use it in the brood chamber.

Never had any problem with it in the brood chamber and always gone by the following spring.
 

Polyanwood 

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I don't like it as much as syrup for Winter stores...but is is free and you can't stop them. It goes solid and it is the last stores the bees eat, I worry that since it is the least preferred stores, there must be a reason.
 

wightbees 

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ummm , i might try some in six months lol.If i get any that is.
But if they fill a box up with it i think i will just leave it there for them.
What type of ivy is it that flowers ? I can't say i have ever seen it flowering.
 

VEG 

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You dont really notice the flowers untill you get up close and see how many bees are plastered over the stuff
 

justme 

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It doesnt flower until its 8-10 years old, maybe that why its not always noticed. Too many people cut it down before then but in the country, especially wild dark bits with loads of trees theres usually loads, Like not too far from my out apiary.

Di.
 
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Tom Bick 

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Noticed tonight walking the dog the first Ivy flowers not covered in bees but plenty of wasps. So like it or not it has started.

Personally I am 50/50 regards Ivy but I will give a word of caution to all new beekeepers its best not to rely on it a BB with ivy in it for winter stores is ok but a full BB of Ivy can be a big problem.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Ah, thanks for that.
Just put on last week of Apilife. Stores are OK but will put on some autumn syrup at the end of the week.
 

wightbees 

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oh great my bees are about a 100 yrds away from a forest. In fact theres forest everywhere :willy_nilly:
At least it will give them something to do lol

Also thanks for the pic Erichalfbee
 

tidymeup 

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Does anyone have any tips for getting ivy honey? I have allot of ivy around my hives that is old and has allot of flowers each year. But all but one hive has the supers off.

I am not sure wether to put supers back on or just try with the one colony but that would be mixed honey from heather and some other sources.

Also if I take the honey I will be stuck with feeding late which could be a problem.
 

justme 

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Does anyone have any tips for getting ivy honey? I have allot of ivy around my hives that is old and has allot of flowers each year. But all but one hive has the supers off.

I am not sure wether to put supers back on or just try with the one colony but that would be mixed honey from heather and some other sources.

Also if I take the honey I will be stuck with feeding late which could be a problem.
Hi, If its very close to your hives they may ignore it. As mentioned in other threads its normally only on nice days in winter that they forage very close to home:.)
 

Chris Luck 

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If its very close to your hives they may ignore it. As mentioned in other threads its normally only on nice days in winter that they forage very close to home
Strange, I've never found that, in fact quite the opposite. When, for example, the sweet chestnut is flowering right over the hives the bees go crazy like a conveyor belt - up and own, same with the ivy...

...which brings me to a question or two:

What happens if your bees fill their winter stores with ivy?

and..

Has anyone ever lost a colony through starvation because there was only ivy honey left in the hive in late winter?

Mine gorge on it and no probs so far.

Chris
 

Leigh 

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I lost 1 hive last winter to isolation starvation. It was too cold for the bees to break the cluster enough to get at the plentiful stores in the BB although the majority of those stores were ivy honey. I have heard it said (and it makes sense) that the ivy sets so hard, that if it is all they have, during protracted cold spells (when they can't get out to get water) they can't dilute it.

Alot of people feed whilst the ivy flow is on, in the reasonable hope that the bees will mix sugar syrup with ivy, making it easier for the bees in the depths of winter. This is my plan this year.

One beekeeper I know feeds early, then puts a super on after feeding to collect the ivy honey. I think is best done with a large (15x12, langstroth, dadant) BB, otherwise early feeding will restrict breeding - not good, as this is the time of year that your winter bees are made. Varroa treatment needs to be done early as well.
 
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Erichalfbee 

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I'm keeping an eye on the flowers here. Still maybe 10-14 days to go before they open. I'm hoping to put enough syrup on beforehand so that the bees have a mix.
 

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