OK to share honey among hives?
by Sue Young
(New Brunswick, Canada)
I have two hives-one is stronger than the other. There were two frames of honey stored in a third super above the strong hive. Since it is close to winter, I put the two frames of honey in the weaker hive because they might not have enough to get through the winter. Is this okay? or does it upset both hives?
Sure, that's perfectly fine.
When you can, it's always preferable to give a colony combs of honey for feed instead of sugar syrup. So if you have a hive that has more honey than it will need for the winter, it's perfectly fine to transfer some to another hive that's short on stores.
That assumes, of course, that you're certain that you're leaving the first hive with plenty. And in most cases, it's best to shake the bees off the combs of honey before transferring to another hive.
One caveat, though - that probably goes without saying - is that you wouldn't want to transfer honey from a hive that has a disease problem.
If you have lots of freezer space, you can also freeze entire combs of honey when you have surplus that you don't plan to harvest. That way, you'll have honey on hand that you can easily give to a hive that's short on stores.
If you do that, place the frames in a sealed plastic bag, like a garbage bag, before placing them in the freezer. Then when you're ready to use them, remove the combs from the freezer and allow them to thaw while still sealed in the bag. That will prevent moisture from condensing on the comb. Then once they're thawed you can place them in a hive.
I've kept honey frozen in the comb for several years, and it was perfectly fine once thawed. Takes a lot of freezer space, though!
Good luck with your hives; I hope they both make it through the winter!