You may have heard via Twitter or Facebook that one of our hives did not survive the winter. I suspect it was queen failure. There are plenty of frames of honey left, and the empty brood frames were EMPTY – no dead bees or larvae (which might indicate disease). Did I accidentally kill her during my last fall inspection? Or was she weak and just didn’t live very far into the winter? I may never know. But what do I do with all these frames with honey in them? They looked dark, almost black, but i tasted some and it was fine. I took one to the other hive thinking they’d be short on food by now, but they still have 1/3-1/2 of a box full of honey. So I took it inside to see if I could harvest the honey. As I started scraping, I noticed that I couldn’t scrape all the way to the bottom and some clusters of cells were full of powder – POLLEN? You don’t find that much pollen in a frame of capped honey during the summer, so why was this honey so full of pollen? I couldn’t find much reference to it online, but did discover a few discussions which suggested that for winter storage of pollen, they put it into open cells as they normally would, but then cover it with honey and cap it. Putting up for winter, I suppose. They need a lot of pollen (protein) as well as honey to survive the winter. I’m not sure what to do with all the honey left in that empty hive. I suppose I could start putting them in the other hive as they run low instead of using the sugar water feed typically used in spring. If there are any experienced beekeepers out there reading this, I sure would appreciate your input!
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