To keep the honey on the hives over winter or not?

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New Bee
Mar 2, 2009
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Southport, UK
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I am now totaly confused about what to do with the honey that is in the supers on my 2 hives. One thought is to leave it on the hives to allow the bees to feed during the winter months, another is to remove them and feed the bees, and keep the honey to myself. What do you recomend? This is my first year and have 2 hives by the way.
Personally I would take it off and feed.

Then I don't know if you have the equipment to do that, is that why you are hesitating.

If you decide to leave it on remember to take the excluder off. Then of course you will be on brood and a half for next year :/
I would also advise you to remove the honey and treat for varroa.,and feed if needed.
Is this one full super per colony? Capped?

Entirely your choice, really.

Hedge your bets if possible.

Remove and replace with feed or perhaps remove some frames and replace with drawn comb if season is still progessing in a collecting mood (thinking here that you probably don't have any drawn frames?).

Remove some frames and feed.

Remove all and feed.

As to hedging your bets. If you have any drawn comb to put on now, you could store your harvest until you are sure the winter food has been accepted by the bees and fully converted to sugar-honey. You can easily mark those proper honey frames with a drawing pin or similar. Replace those stored frames, if plans go awry.

You certainly need to assess your varroah treatment, within this time-scale as well.

So, more than a couple of options and your final choice.

I am probably near to Hivemaker in thinking - take it off and treat. But it is the small print of the situation we have not read that may make your choice different.

For instance: how do you anticipate extraction? If it involves destroying the drawn comb, forget it in your first year and play safe! Work out the 'what ifs' and always work with the safe options in your first couple of years, is my advice.

You are a tad further north than Onge, so the season may be a lot different on the other side of the country.

Any local beeks to enquire to? Local BKA? Now a week into September......

Regards, RAB
Thanks for the it looks like i am going for the super removal route.......most of the frames are capped in the supers.......i dont have a extractor......but will seek to borrow one.....
Blair, there are two threads running with the same question. My post on the other remains the route I took:

If you have some partially drawn frames, you may consider storing them below your brood chamber over winter, effectively brood and a half. The girls will look after them for you and they'll not have to waste energy moving any honey that remains in them. The extra space will also help if any late brood combined with an unexpectedly high ivy flow causes over crowding in late Sept which I have previously been told can cause swarming on a single brrod box. Come spring move the super north of the qe, by the time you want to harvest (even with rape) any brood will have long gone and your drawn frame will be put back into good use. I have a super that I have done exactly that with today since no prospect of getting a useful yield from it. Rosti

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