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HSV_Darren

The smells of a beehive

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All three of my hives in Featherston have the same smell, not the pleasant smell of honey of wax, but a slightly unpleasant smell, when I take the top hive mat off my first thought was a Pub urinal smell, no past AFB and no AFB sign from what I can see, definitely not rotten meat of fish, and doesn't smell like the AFB frame that was present at AFB recognition course.

There is a lot of topics of Google about unplesant beehive smell, I'm thinking there may be a smelly tree with smelly nectar or something like that! The floors are fairly clean with no rotten bee or bee poo, just hoping for someone else having the same issue or a simple answer to easy my mind.

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Your reply has slightly eased my mind already, so there is a smelly plant out there, will have to some more reading.

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I don't actually know that privet nectar produces a bad smell, only that the honey tastes horrible.

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Ripening kamahi honey smells like old socks and beech honeydew also has a whiff about it as the bees are ripening it so I wouldn’t worry as @yesbut said it’s most probably a nectar source the bees are working right now 

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9 hours ago, HSV_Darren said:

All three of my hives in Featherston have the same smell, not the pleasant smell of honey of wax, but a slightly unpleasant smell, w

Darren, my hives are just up the road from you in Carterton. I've noticed the same smell just recently.

 

The only odd thing I see them into at the moment is a kind of honey dew on a stand of elm trees. The leaves are sticky and the bees are all over them. My supers aren't on yet so I'm not concerned. 

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10 hours ago, yesbut said:

I don't actually know that privet nectar produces a bad smell, only that the honey tastes horrible.

I read that privet flowers from Nov to March so it could contaminate the honey for months. 

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Hawthorn which has finished flowering now smells like rotting corpses but the nectar yield is low. If you had hedgerows around you...

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Willow dew honey is collected by my bees in late Feb in North Waikato smells yuck, tastes yuck, crystalises in the cells.... bees like it . ?

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We have alot of Hawthorn in my area and I did see a lot of bees on them when they were in flower.

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1 hour ago, Diane said:

Willow dew honey is collected by my bees in late Feb in North Waikato smells yuck, tastes yuck, crystalises in the cells.... bees like it . ?

 

Yes, my bees filled a FD box with willow dew last year, I'm lucky it didn't come out when I spun my honey frames, would of contaminated everything I had extracted so far, it had a very bitter after taste, I marked all the willow frames and put them back in the hive, the bees cleaned out all the frames over winter/spring and all that was left was lumps of hard gunk which the bees also cleaned out prior repacking with nectar again.

This is willow dew gunk that a crushed, it didn't want to go through the sieve!

IMG_0828.thumb.JPG.abd61a970d6aedac32a7e7d76b115ad7.JPG

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Hangihangi honey can stink a bit and would be a likely candidate at this time of year. Ragwort is another stinker but in the autumn. Purple Ragwort flowers this time of year but I've never had bees near it so I don't know if it's a candidate. AFB can certainly stink but hives have to be pretty bad before it is noticeable. Different nectures each have their own distinct smell and as long as you're confident it's not AFB I wouldn't worry. Some stinky honeys can taste quite nice once ripe and a few that smell nice aren't.

Worst honey of ever come across was from the Taupo area. No idea what it was but it smelled and tasted like an open tin of sardines that had been left in turned off fridge for a month.

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20 minutes ago, john berry said:

Hangihangi honey can stink a bit and would be a likely candidate at this time of year. Ragwort is another stinker but in the autumn. Purple Ragwort flowers this time of year but I've never had bees near it so I don't know if it's a candidate. AFB can certainly stink but hives have to be pretty bad before it is noticeable. Different nectures each have their own distinct smell and as long as you're confident it's not AFB I wouldn't worry. Some stinky honeys can taste quite nice once ripe and a few that smell nice aren't.

Worst honey of ever come across was from the Taupo area. No idea what it was but it smelled and tasted like an open tin of sardines that had been left in turned off fridge for a month.

Well that's just charming

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Realise that a beehive is basically a great big girls dormitary, there's going to be some piro stuff going on.

 

But whenever people are with me looking in a hive the mood is usually pretty good, I think there is something feelgood, about beehive air.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Alastair said:

But whenever people are with me looking in a hive the mood is usually pretty good, I think there is something feelgood, about beehive air.

It's all about standing doing nothing idly watching while something else slaves it's bum off

Edited by yesbut
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There are large areas of Taupo where treated sewage was and possibly still is sprayed onto pasture for silage or Hay cropping.

Maybe the Clover is tainted from that

Edited by Philbee

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19 minutes ago, Alastair said:

 there's going to be some piro stuff going on.

 

Oops just been corrected by my language expert, wrong spelling equals wrong meaning, should have spelled it pirau.

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I tried my bees kamahi honey today and it is really nice . I do not know why it ever got bad press .

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Taste is a very personal thing but also one of perception. It wasn't that long ago that manuka was almost exclusively used to feed back to the hives. The perception was that was all it was good for. If you have a (different) honey then give it a fancy name or call it rare or exotic and charge twice as much.Kamahi varies a lot between different related species but I find it quite pleasant and it is very sought after as an additive as it gives a distinct honey flavour even in quite minute amounts.

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45 minutes ago, john berry said:

Kamahi varies a lot between different related species but I find it quite pleasant and it is very sought after as an additive as it gives a distinct honey flavour even in quite minute

Kamahi & Towai.  ? My book says that's all the Weinmannia  present in NZ ?

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At my place grows common dogwood ( Cornus sanguinea), which honey smells as mice piss.. So heavy.. By some time is said that ugly smell evaporate and is " pleasant" to eat. Once I had little of it and get rid off it asap, I was surprised why someone would buy it ( tastes are really different).

When we have strong flows - for example wild cherry, whole apiary smells on wild cherries ( due to bees working honey and pollen of it in the hives), same with willow, etc.. I am pretty in wilderness and there are no other " civilisation" smells which can spoil the enjoyment. 

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