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lexy

a way to increase manuka yield?

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hi

a while back i wrote a comment that bees might not like manuka honey that much. Then the other day when i was checking some hives in the endless rain it got me thinking....


background/unintentional experiment:-)
i was storing 5 frames of honey in a nuc box (not a colony, just capped frames). there were 3 frames of bush, 2 frames of manuka. i accidentally left the box outside all day and the bees got in and went to town.

what i discovered at the end of the day was the 3 frames of bush honey were picked clean, but the 2 manuka frames were basically untouched (a couple of chewed caps that's it)

hypothesis
bees dont like manuka honey. if there is an alternative available they'll eat that in preference.

commercial application
if you provide a good supply of bush honey to your bees when they're out on the manuka they'll eat the bush honey rather than the manuka... essentially they'll consume low value honey whilst harvesting high value manuka.

the outcome (in theory) is you get a higher yield of manuka because its not being eaten.

risk
bees could move the bush honey into the manuka honey box and dilute it, lowering the value.

 

bees could empty cells in the bush honey box and refill them with manuka, reducing yield.

 

moving hives with honey supers on them might not be fun...ok that's more of an issue than a risk:-).

 

what so you reckon? could be completely wrong but it seems to have a kind of logic to it

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At a rough guess I have been involved with feeding around 2000 tons of manuka back to hives over the years so I don't think there's a problem with them liking it.

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2 minutes ago, john berry said:

At a rough guess I have been involved with feeding around 2000 tons of manuka back to hives over the years so I don't think there's a problem with them liking it.

Did you offer them a choice?

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1 hour ago, lexy said:

hi

a while back i wrote a comment that bees might not like manuka honey that much. Then the other day when i was checking some hives in the endless rain it got me thinking....


background/unintentional experiment:-)
i was storing 5 frames of honey in a nuc box (not a colony, just capped frames). there were 3 frames of bush, 2 frames of manuka. i accidentally left the box outside all day and the bees got in and went to town.

what i discovered at the end of the day was the 3 frames of bush honey were picked clean, but the 2 manuka frames were basically untouched (a couple of chewed caps that's it)

hypothesis
bees dont like manuka honey. if there is an alternative available they'll eat that in preference.

commercial application
if you provide a good supply of bush honey to your bees when they're out on the manuka they'll eat the bush honey rather than the manuka... essentially they'll consume low value honey whilst harvesting high value manuka.

the outcome (in theory) is you get a higher yield of manuka because its not being eaten.

risk
bees could move the bush honey into the manuka honey box and dilute it, lowering the value.

 

bees could empty cells in the bush honey box and refill them with manuka, reducing yield.

 

moving hives with honey supers on them might not be fun...ok that's more of an issue than a risk:-).

 

what so you reckon? could be completely wrong but it seems to have a kind of logic to it

It could be a simple matter of energy consumption
Manuka may be more work to move

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@philbee mm good point the frames in the nuc would have been cold and hard to work

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