In the honey model, the honey gathered in the spring is considered as a composition of substances, that determine the course of the population, reproduction and nutrition during the rest of the season. An indication for this is that when harvesting honey it is always beneficial to leave a certain amount of honey behind.
How long this management mechanism is effective, is unknown. If all the honey is removed, then the natural management mechanism is no longer in place. A new starting situation is created. This may differ from the previous situation because in the second part of the year other types of pollen are gathered.
Iron content in honey
As stated in the section about iron administration under ‘Iron levels in bees and bee colonies’, the majority of iron collected by bees ends up in the honey. Which means that the bees have a continuous supply of iron via their own honey. If the winterfeed available to the bees mainly consists of refined sugar or glucose/fructose syrup, this source of iron is no longer present. Furthermore, there are significant indications that, under these circumstances, the fructose component has a far-reaching negative effect. Various other sugars are also known to have distinct disadvantages.
By adding extra iron, the beekeeper improves the mineral balance of the winterfeed supply.