I had 20-30 frames of partially capped honey going into the winter and came out with about the same number. First of all, I had five hives at the peak of summer, but four of them died out by December. So I had way more partially full medium frames than I could use. I gave the one strong hive a full super of the excess frames, but still had 20 or so left over. Most of those stayed in bee-less hives over the winter.

The live hive didn’t eat much if any of the honey in the super, so by late winter I still had most of the 20-plus frames. Even in the early spring, they bees didn’t seem very interested in eating from the super. I didn’t feed at all.

I installed a package in early spring and gave them some of the excess frames, but even they seemed more interested in foraging for early nectar.

Finally, a week or two ago, I decided that I would try to offer these partially full frames to the bees again, now for the two hives. The nectar flow is slowing down now, so I had hopes that they would still be in the gathering mode.

Hives in middle of June

Hives in middle of June

This time it worked. The bees are eating up (or simply transporting) the honey out of the frames very quickly. As you can see in the picture, I have simply put the frames next to the hives. The advantages are that it is nearby and no animals have made off with them. The possible disadvantage is that this might spur some kind of robbing between the hives. I don’t think this has occurred but I’m not certain.

About a month ago I tried to offer up an old slightly damaged deep frame of partially capped honey to the bees by putting the frame in a plastic bin about 20 feet away from the hives. The bees didn’t really take to it at that time, possibly because the Black locust was in bloom. After about a week or 10 days, I found that the entire frame was gone. I assume that it was dragged away by some animal. I knew it was a risk, but I waited another week or so and then tried this a second time putting the medium frames right next to the hives. So far, so good.

I have a few more frames that I will try to ‘recycle’ like this and then I will probably freeze the frames before reintroducing them as empty supers. It’s a little late at this point to put on an empty super, but I’ll give it a try anyway.