Canola honey

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Canola honey

Unread post by Giorgio » August 13th, 2017, 8:04 am

Hi all, I'm glad to find this forum! I have a couple of hives and hour northwest of Edmonton that I believe are working mostly canola as it starts to crystalize almost as I bottle it! some seems to get creamy all by itself..its very nice acctually.... My question is - what happens re winter stores in the hives? Will the bees keep it warm enough to use ? Or after the canola crop is done will their winter stores be from other sources? Or do I feed syrup after I take the honey off?
This is my second year and first year Ive had hives outside of the city
Many thanks!

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Re: Canola honey

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » August 13th, 2017, 10:10 am

I don't have any experience with canola, but I get quite a bit of Goldenrod honey which can crystallize fairly quickly. It does not seem to cause any issues as far as 'winter' stores are concerned. My understanding is that the heat of the cluster will melt the honey as they cover it.

In addition, a good portion of those 'winter' stores will actually be consumed closer to, and during, Spring when brood-rearing starts but no nectar is available.

As far as what other forage may be available after Canola is done, I have no idea, I'm too far away from your area. Goldenrod is usually my biggest end-of-season flow...which, unfortunately, started blooming at the end of July...I have always thought of it coming around September but this has not been the case often enough that I think I need to keep better track of it.

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Re: Canola honey

Unread post by Allen Dick » August 13th, 2017, 10:25 am

Canola honey may granulate quickly or slowly and it may become quite soft and creamy or hard as a rock. How it granulates in containers after extracting will give you an idea of what to expect in the combs later on.

If it granulates rock hard, the bees will have difficulty using it for winter stores. There is often a fall flow from alfalfa in South and Central Alberta which will fill in the brood area and provide better winter stores.

Additionally, smart beekeepers usually feed a gallon or more, sometimes as much as five gallons, of thick sugar syrup to provide the bulk of winter stores in the center of the hive where the cluster is most likely to be during winter.

Sugar syrup provides a high energy food with very little solid content Some honeys may contain particulate matter that will cause the bees to need a cleansing flight earlier than if fed pure sugar syrup and those cleansing flights may result in losing bees if the weather is adverse. Bees also have difficulty orienting over snow if it reflects bright sun and can be lost.

Some beekeepers are afraid to feed sugar syrup, having heard all kinds of stories that people make up, but syrup made with good clean municipal water and pure white sugar is about the best wintering feed there is.

So, given the price differential between sugar and honey, most commercial beekeepers extract as much honey as is practical and then feed the hives up to wintering weight with thick sugar syrup fed in September and October.

Personally I like to do an initial heavy feeding as soon as the supers come off then follow with a subsequent feeding sometime in October to fill in the space that has been vacated as all the brood emerges.

For fall feeding feed as much syrup as quickly as you can and make sure it's as thick as you can make it since the idea is to have the syrup stored and not to stimulate brood rearing as we do in the spring with slow feeding of thin syrup at that time.

Whether you use medication in this feed or not is a matter of choice. Personally I do not believe in the use of fumagillin and have never found it useful, but many experts swear by it.
Allen Dick, RR#1 Swalwell, Alberta, Canada T0M 1Y0
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Re: Canola honey

Unread post by Giorgio » August 13th, 2017, 1:27 pm

Thanks Allen, this honey seems to be going nice and creamy so thats a plus! I was thinking that feeding in fall going into winter was the way to go so thanks for the confirmation. I only have a few hives and 1 is really producing so Ive been taking off a super when its capped (I run 8 frame medium supers)

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