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Author Topic: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?  (Read 2433 times)

Offline TwoBigCats

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Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« on: February 04, 2009, 07:03:11 PM »
greetings,

SHORT VERSION:
is it safe to harvest and eat the honey from comb that appears to have grey powdery mold on it?

DETAILED VERSION:
last spring i installed my first-ever hive - 2 supers.  mid-summer i added a 3rd super and things seemed to be going fine until fall when i was hoping to extract some honey and found that the 3rd super had no comb / honey in it :(

i removed the 3rd super (now back to 2) and let nature take its course.  about a month ago, i noticed decreased bee traffic around the hive, then a week later, a bit of honey / nectar dripping out of the bottom / entrance to the hive.  i popped the top and had bees coming up at me in no time, so put the lid back on and left them to their work.
coupla days ago i noticed zero bee traffic so went out and they'd all left the hive.  nada, zip, zero.

so now i'd like to harvest the honey that they've left behind but find that some of the frames / cells have what appear to be powdery greyish mold on them.  is it safe to remove the caps / harvest the honey from that comb?

thx in advance, looking forward to my 2nd year of trying to herd bees :)

hal

http://twobigcats.blogspot.com/2009/02/harvesting-honey-our-first-year.html
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 01:38:17 PM by buzzbee »

Offline justgojumpit

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Re: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2009, 08:14:20 PM »
I would probably avoid eating it myself, but you could install a package of bees onto those frames, and they will clean up the mold and use the honey.

justgojumpit
Keeper of bees and builder of custom beekeeping equipment.

Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2009, 11:25:58 PM »
I would probably avoid eating it myself, but you could install a package of bees onto those frames, and they will clean up the mold and use the honey.

justgojumpit

That's what I'd do.  Freeze the frames that still have honey in them until just a few days before introducing the bees, then take them out, thaw them, and install the bees.  You won't have to feed because of the honey and the combs gives them a head start also.
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Offline TwoBigCats

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Re: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2009, 02:43:38 PM »
thx for your feedback, i'll follow your advice.

hal

Offline Scadsobees

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Re: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2009, 03:57:32 PM »
A friend cut open a bee tree last spring that didn't make it and cut out all the honey and filtered and ate it despite there being a significant amount of mold growing.  He's still around, even though he said it wasn't the best honey.  He did say, though, that his family didn't get any infections after that. :roll:
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Offline 1of6

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Re: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2009, 04:13:29 PM »
...about a month ago, i noticed decreased bee traffic around the hive, then a week later, a bit of honey / nectar dripping out of the bottom / entrance to the hive...

I missed that the first time I read it.  This may be important.  Can you elaborate or show a picture?  Dripping or oozing honey in a hive that has experienced a decrease in population can sometimes be a sign of other problems...

Also, what location are you in?
« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 04:55:19 PM by 1of6 »

Offline TwoBigCats

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Re: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2009, 08:16:16 PM »
thx for the additional feedback, very much appreciated.

i'm located in silicon valley, ca (1hr south of s.f.) and since i'd already moved the hive in to my garage to begin warming it before extraction over the weekend, i'm not sure how the photo will turn out of the honey leaking from the entrance to the hive.

i will say that ~2 weeks ago when i noticed the nectar/honey beginning to leak from the entrance, i touched my finger to the liquid and it tasted good... a little "lighter" than honey (moisture content was high, i'm guessing) and yesterday when i moved the hive to the garage, i'll admit i tasted some of the honey from a few capped cells and it tasted great :)  i'll take some pics of the affected areas and post later tonight.

thx again for the feedback & questions... i'm very much in the learning mode here.
hal

Offline TwoBigCats

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Re: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2009, 01:01:29 PM »
...about a month ago, i noticed decreased bee traffic around the hive, then a week later, a bit of honey / nectar dripping out of the bottom / entrance to the hive...

I missed that the first time I read it.  This may be important.  Can you elaborate or show a picture?  Dripping or oozing honey in a hive that has experienced a decrease in population can sometimes be a sign of other problems...

Also, what location are you in?
update:

10 days ago i moved the hive to my garage and (at the suggestion of my bee-mentor), I placed a low wattage light at the bottom of the hive (to warm the honey enough to flow) and left it for 4 days.  last sunday i removed the caps on two frames, placed in a rented 2-frame extractor and attempted to extract.  nothing doing, it was just too cold to flow.  so i took the extracting knife and (thinking of words from folks here) worked around (what appeared to be) the moldy cells.  

i bagged all frames with any comb / honey and have placed them in the freezer until i re-populate the hive next month. we got ~3.5 gals of deeply-flavored honey for our / friends use.

thx again to everyone for your feedback, it was very much appreciated.

best,
hal

http://twobigcats.blogspot.com/2009/02/harvesting-honey-our-first-year.html
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009, 01:37:18 PM by buzzbee »

Offline TwoBigCats

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Re: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 08:35:07 PM »
a quick note to thank the moderator for posting my topic-specific blog url.

Offline Cindi

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Re: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2009, 11:27:20 PM »
TwoBigCats, I looked at your blog, very nice.  Oh I got a kick out of Al with that great big sledgehammer, made for an interesting picture.  Yay!!!  Have a most wonderful and awesome life, day, health.  Cindi
There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service

Offline TwoBigCats

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Re: Please help: mold on my capped comb - can i use that honey?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2009, 02:59:34 PM »
TwoBigCats, I looked at your blog, very nice.  Oh I got a kick out of Al with that great big sledgehammer, made for an interesting picture.  Yay!!!  Have a most wonderful and awesome life, day, health.  Cindi
thx for the kind words, cindi.  yup, al's a tough guy with a hammer and empty hive, isn't he? ;)

likewise, good things to you and yours, cindi.
hal