When bees seal honey

When bees seal honey

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Bees seal empty honeycombs in case of insufficient raw materials for honey production. This phenomenon is observed with poor flowering of honey plants due to weather conditions (cold, damp summer). Less commonly, the cause is internal swarm problems (unfertilized queen bee, worker bee diseases).

How honey is formed

In early spring, when the first honey plants bloom, bees start collecting nectar and bee bread for honey production. It is the main food product for adult insects and brood. Work on the procurement of raw materials continues until late autumn. The nectar stored for the winter is placed in the honeycomb for maturation. Then, after a certain time, the filled cells will be sealed.

Honey formation process:

  1. When flying around honey plants, the bee is guided by color and smell. It collects nectar from flowers with the help of a proboscis, pollen settles on the legs and abdomen of the insect.
  2. The nectar gets into the goiter of the collector, the structure of the digestive system allows keeping nectar isolated from the intestines using a special partition. The insect can regulate the tone of the valve; when it relaxes, part of the nectar goes to feed the individual, the rest is delivered to the hive. This is the initial stage of honey production. During harvesting, the raw material is primarily enriched with an enzyme from the glands, which break down polysaccharides into substances that are easier to assimilate.
  3. The collector returns to the hive, transfers the raw materials to the receiving bees, flies away for the next portion.
  4. The receptionist removes excess liquid from the nectar, fills the cells, at a certain time begins to print them, beforehand the insect passes a drop of raw material through the goiter several times, while constantly enriching it with a secret. Then it places it in the bottom cells. Individuals continuously work their wings, creating air ventilation. Hence the characteristic noise inside the swarm.
  5. After removing excess moisture, when the product becomes thicker and there is no risk of fermentation, it is placed in the upper honeycomb and sealed for ripening.

Important! Insects will seal the honeycomb with wax only when the remaining moisture has evaporated and the product is brought to readiness (17% moisture).

Why do bees seal frames with honey?

When the nectar has reached the desired consistency, it is sealed in the cells with a notch. Bees start to print the frames from the top cells using airtight wax discs. Thus, they protect the product from excess moisture and air so that organic matter does not oxidize. Only after sealing, the raw material matures to the required condition and can be stored for a long time.

How long does it take for bees to seal a frame with honey?

The honey production process starts from the moment the nectar is collected. After the bee-collector has delivered the raw material to the hive, processing continues by a young non-flying individual. Before it begins to seal the nectar, the product goes through several stages. Gradually, it is moved from the lower cells to the upper row, and hydrolysis continues in the process. From the moment of collection to the time when the bees begin to print the filled cells of the honeycomb, it takes 3 days.

The time to complete filling and sealing of the frame depends on the flowering of melliferous plants, weather conditions and the possibilities of the swarm. In rainy weather, bees do not fly out to collect nectar. Another factor that affects the time it takes to fill the frame and then seal it is how far the collecting bee has to fly. Under favorable conditions and good bribes, bees are able to seal a frame in 10 days.

How to speed up honey sealing by bees

There are several ways to stimulate bees to start to print their combs faster:

  1. So that excess moisture evaporates from the nectar and the bees begin to print it, they improve ventilation in the hive by opening the lid on a sunny day.
  2. They insulate the hive, young insects will create the necessary microclimate by intensively working with their wings, which also contributes to the evaporation of moisture and the speedy sealing of the cells.
  3. Provide the family with a good base for honey collection.

Advice! You can slide the enclosures so that there is minimal space between them.

Temperature will rise, moisture will evaporate faster, insects will begin to seal the product faster.

How long does honey ripen in a beehive

The bees seal the cells with the raw material, from which the excess liquid has been removed. So that the product is well preserved and does not lose its chemical composition, it matures in a sealed form. After the cells are closed, at least 2 weeks are required for the bee product to reach the desired state. When pumping out, choose frames that are covered with a 2/3 part of the bead. They will contain a finished product of good quality.

Why do bees print empty honeycombs

Quite often in beekeeping, such a phenomenon occurs when the combs are sealed in places, but there is no honey in them. Young individuals print cells; they have this action at the genetic level. The entire life cycle of insects is aimed at preparing food for wintering and feeding brood. A strong family with a full-fledged fetal uterus by autumn prints all the combs in order to spend less energy and food on heating the nest in the cold season.

List of possible causes

A sealed empty honeycomb can be caused by a queen that has stopped laying eggs. Frames with brood bees will print at a certain time interval, regardless of the presence of babies in them. Perhaps the larva died from a number of reasons, after a few days it is also sealed with a wax disk.

The main reason receptionists print empty honeycombs is because of poor bribes. There is nothing to fill the drawn foundation, the bees begin to print empty cells, this is observed closer to autumn before the wintering of the colony. With a good honey harvest, bees will print empty combs if the swarm is equipped with a large number of frames and the colony cannot cope with the volume. If the number of empty frames does not exceed what is required for the swarm, the weather is suitable for collecting nectar, and the honeycombs are poorly filled and the receivers seal them without the bee product, the reason may be a disease of the bee-collecting bees or a long distance to the honey plants.

How to fix

To fix the problem, it is necessary to determine the reason why the insects began to seal the empty frames:

  1. If the queen stops sowing eggs, the bees lay queen cells to replace them. It is impossible to leave the old uterus, the swarm may not overwinter, it should be replaced with a young one.
  2. The main problem in the summer is nosematosis, bees infected with a mite weaken, and cannot bring the required amount of raw materials. The family needs to be treated.
  3. In case of unfavorable weather conditions or a lack of melliferous plants, when it is discovered that the receptionists have begun to seal empty cells, the family is fed with syrup.

With an excessive number of frames with foundation, both young and old individuals are engaged in drawing honeycombs, the productivity of collecting raw materials decreases. It is recommended to remove part of the frames with empty foundation, otherwise insects will start printing empty cells.

Why don't bees print honey

If the bees do not seal the honeycomb filled with honey, then the product is of poor quality (honeydew), unsuitable for feeding or has crystallized. A sugar-coated bee product, insects will not print, it is completely removed from the hive, honey is not suitable for winter feeding of bees. At high temperatures and high humidity in the hive during wintering, the crystallized nectar will melt and flow, insects will stick and may die.

List of possible causes

Honey that the receptionists will not print may be unusable for several reasons:

  1. Bad weather, cold, rainy summers.
  2. Wrong location of the apiary.
  3. Insufficient number of honey plants.

Nectar harvested from cruciferous crops or grapes crystallizes. The reason may be the sediment from the honey extractor given by the beekeeper to the bees. Such raw materials quickly harden, young individuals will not print it.

The reason for the honeydew is the lack of melliferous plants or the proximity of the forest. Bees collect sweet organic matter from leaves or shoots, the waste product of aphids and other insects.

The factor that causes the bees to stop printing combs is the high concentration of water in the product.

How to fix

To force the cell receivers to be sealed by providing the family with quality raw materials. If the apiary is stationary and there is no way to move it closer to flowering honey plants, buckwheat, sunflower, and rape are sown near the beekeeping farm. Mobile apiaries are transported closer to the fields, with flowering herbs. A sufficient number of objects for honey collection will distract insects from honeydew raw materials. The resulting product will be of good quality. The process of hydrolysis can be accelerated by warming the hives. To maintain a constant temperature, bees will work their wings more actively, creating air currents of warm air.

Is it possible to pump honey from unsealed combs

With a signal that the primary maturation process is over, juveniles begin to print combs. As a rule, unripe bee product is not pumped out because it is prone to fermentation. Insects will not seal unripe nectar. If the frames are overflowing, and the honey plant is in full swing, the sealed frames are removed to collect honey, and empty honeycombs are substituted into the hive. The bee product matures in artificially created conditions, but its quality is slightly lower than that of the honeycomb that bees seal.

A poor-quality food product is not left to bees in winter. It is removed, insects are fed with syrup. Crystallized bee products are life-threatening. Honeydew is devoid of antibacterial, antibiotic elements that prevent the development of pathogenic microflora. Determine honeydew nectar by its appearance, taste and smell. It will be brown with a green tint, without an unpleasant aftertaste fragrance. Young individuals will never print raw materials of this quality.


If the bees seal the empty combs, the cause must be found and corrected. You can identify empty cells by the color of the backing, it will be lighter and slightly concave inward. In order for a swarm to survive the winter, it needs a sufficient amount of food. It is recommended to replace frames that were sealed empty with filled ones.

Watch the video: What do bees do during the winter? Beekeeping (September 2022).

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