• STOP USING PAYPAL FRIENDS & FAMILY
    Please, help us prevent you getting ripped off because someone got their account compromised by reusing their email & password. Read the new best practices for using the Exchange FAQ page.

Found Wild Honey today....

Joined
Nov 7, 1999
Messages
6,651
Hey Guys...

Was out in the bush today with my oldest boy helping him with his firemaking skills and afterwards went for a walk around an old homestead..

In one of the old building a milking house or something I looked in a broken window and could hear some slight buzzing..Looked down and there were several large honey combs stuck to the side wall..

With the unseasonably warm weather the bees were actaully up and walking around.. Too cold for them to fly,, but they were for sure bother by me being there...

Question now for the honey/bee experts here..
Can I remove one of the combs without damaging the colony ??

I don't want to destroy them just to sample the wares...

Whats the best way to extract the honey from the comb ?

I'll assume that it's safe to taste...

Any help wouyld be Great...


ttyle

Eric
O/ST
 
smoke makes them dosile so that would be your best bet, to get the honey you just need to take a hot knife and cut the top off and let the honey drip out.
 
Neat! Well, the majority of the workers will be gathered around the queen when it gets cold, keeping her and the brood warm. There is not likely to be a large amount of bees on the part of the comb with only honey in it. Mild puffs of woodsmoke has a calming effect on bees, but if it is cold enough, the smoke may not be needed. Slice a section of comb free from the wall (small bucket under it), gently brush the bees off the comb, and place it in the bucket, then retreat. A soft bristled paint brush will work to remove the bees, unless you just want to use a gloved hand. But stingers could catch in the glove fabric, and that would kill those particular bees. Be sure you close all your clothing openings and wear a broad brimmed hat under a head net. Light colored clothing works best in keeping them calm.

Codger
 
The honey is stored by the bees so they can survive over the winter. It has to last until necter is available again.This is especially important in the north. You could however remove some of the honey.Commercially the honey is extracted with a centerfuge .You could scrape off the covering of the cells and put it in a warm place and the honey will drip into a pot. You could just chew the comb and extract that way.The comb itself is a mixture of cerotic and palmitic acids [waxes] and has many uses. ...Just break off a piece and chew it and report on the flavor !
 
Hey Guys..

Thanks much for the advise...

With the quick couple of looks I had,, I could only see a dozen or so bees walking around. Unless there are a pile of them hidden somewhere I didn't see a large quantity of bees...

The temp today was about 47, so warm enough for them to move around,,but still too cold for them to fly..
I will wait for the temp to drop to freezing,, then I'll go and sample a nice size chunk of it and try it out...

I thought that was pretty cool finding that today..It's the first wild bees I've seen..

BTW The combs looked to be about 2-3" high and about 12+" long.. There were 4-5 of them about 1" apart and they were convex shaped...

I'm only going to take a small piece as I don't want to destroy the colony...

ttyle

Eric
O/ST
 
They could likely spare up to 1/3 of the honey. Take no more. It should be easy to tell the brood part of the hive from the honey part. With that much comb, there are more bees around. In the high 40's, they can easily fly, particularly if the building itself is even warmer. You can always provide them with a "thankyou" of a shallow dish of sugar water with pebbles in it for them to land and walk on.
 
A guy I used to work with raised bees. He used to give me chunks of comb, were eaten as was. Quite tasty.
 
Down southern U.S we leave 1/5, but we dont have near the winter you do.I would leave at least half and maybe 2/3 like was stated.I dont think its about how cold it is but how long until they can find nector agin.
 
I had taken a class on bee keeping and was told that wild swarms were all but extinct in most of the us due to diseases, so this seems like a really rare and cool find.
 
Hey Guys...

Well if I take any honey, it won't be much...

Now another question...

Are there combs with larva in them ??
How can I tell if there is ??

I'm also afraid if I cut off a piece of the comb that the smell of the honey will attract coons or other animals who will destroy te colony...

For that matter in itself I may not even touch the combs...

These bees are fully exposed to the elements.. Though they are inside a building,, the building is wide open to the elements,, roof is caving in, and the back wall is gone...
I wonder if they would even survive a cold winter...

I wonder if I should cover the combs with something to aid them in surviving the cold...

ttyle

Eric
O/ST
 
If you want to get into beekeeping you get a proper hive and put them in there .Otherwise I'd leave them alone .Skunks and bears particularly like honey and larve.
 
Hey Mete...

YAaa,, I will probably just leave them alone.. After cutting open a comb it may attract animals..
I'd rather just keep an eye on them and be satisfied with watching it grow...

As EMS said,, it is a pretty rare thing..

However it was Very cool finding them for sure

Thanks guys..

Eric...
O/ST
 
Eric,
The cells with larvae will be very opaque. I grew up on farm where we kept 4-7 hives and robbed twice a year. Clean comb(no larve) was cut in strips and placed in wide mouth jars, trim comb was squeezed- the honey used to top off the jars. We took squeezed out comb and placed it back in front of the hives so the bees could feed. Smoke & paintbrush- good stuff. Tape your cuffs over gloves and use face net. Honey is something few appreciate anymore.
Bill
 
Loved comb honey when we could get it as kids; only see it rarely now. Go ahead and harvest some.
 
Bees don't usually do brood rearing in winter so as far as larva there probably shouldn't be any.

A wild colony in the US is not that common anymore because of the varroa and tracheal mites killing the bees off.

Like everyone said don't take too much unless you suspect the hive is succumbing to parasites and they won't need the honey anyway.

The way that the tracheal mite kills the colony is that it weakens and kills the adult bees and then the cluster of bees shrinks to the point that they cannot maintain internal heat and the rest freeze. If you only see a few bees and there's no place adjacent that part of the hive can be hidden you might be ok to take it all but I'd observe them.

Any chance you can get a picture?:thumbup:
 
Hybridized African bees do not take cold well- probably why they have not made it out of the SW US. This all reminds me I need to start building my "mini farm" up more for my kids education. :)

Bill
 
They are not rare at all on the 700 acres I hunt there are 3 or 4 very large wild bee colonies and no telling how many more.
 
Hey Guys...

Interesting....

A picture you say ?

Hmm.. Never thought of that....LOL

If I can get out to the bush in the next few days,, I'll do exactly that..Should give some good insight...

Going to wait til it gets a little colder so I don't upset them and get stung...

ttyle

Eric
O/ST
 
Back
Top