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Feeding Honey to bees

Care should be taken

Although there are constant warnings about feeding honey to bees, there are still beekeepers who do it. Honey is likely to be fed to bees for several reasons, the main ones being: -

The feeding of honey from an unknown source can transmit disease, especially foul brood. Foreign honey is the most likely source of infection because in many honey exporting countries the control of diseases isn't as good as it is in the UK. If the honey is contaminated, then bees that eat it will become infected, perhaps resulting in the colony being destroyed by fire. There have been many cases where infection has been traced back to the infected colony being fed imported or unknown honey and in the past there have often been foul brood outbreaks close to honey packers.

Honey that has come from your own bees, or those you know to be clear of disease should be good to feed, but as a precaution, anything else is probably best avoided. A common way of feeding honey is in combs, such as transferring brood combs from a colony that can afford to lose it, to another colony, or moving a super of honey between colonies, both of which are used by beekeepers for management purposes. If not used for making mead, I have fed fermented honey to bees, but only early in the summer to colonies without supers, so they use it, not store it. I added water and found no problems.

Roger Patterson.

Page created 28/08/2022

Page updated 04/09/2022