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Author Topic: High moisture content in this years honey  (Read 1723 times)
gov1623
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« on: August 12, 2013, 11:23:58 AM »

I was just wondering if Louisiana beekeepers are noticing thinner honey this year. I pulled honey from two deferent yards and it all had a high moisture content. 100% capped honey was 21-22%. I am having to dry the supper out before extracting. I never had this problem with capped honey. Just wondering if yall are seeing the same thing. It was a very rainy summer in my area. Im thinking that had something to do with it.
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PLAN-B
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 07:52:45 PM »

I don't have a way to gauge the moisture, but I noticed you saying that your honey was a little thin... I only harvested a few frames (12) and they all seemed to be pretty thick. Is there a cheap effective way to remove excess moisture without purchasing fancy equipment and will the honey ferment at 21 percent moisture content???
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Marshall
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 08:06:22 PM »

In the past I thought that 20% water content would ferment but now I am wondering if there is something special about this crop of honey we are seeing that is capped so well. Might have a different sugar content/mixture of sucrose, fructose and glucose. Bees usually will not cap it until it is ready.
Jim
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gov1623
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2013, 10:09:31 PM »

Plan-B
Honey can ferment if it is above 19% I Think. I used a window unit with a fan in front of it blowing through the suppers and I got the moisture below 18% in a couple days. I kept a bucket that is 21% to see if it will ferment. So far its been two months and it hasn't started fermenting yet.
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hjon71
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 02:13:52 AM »

Higher than average rain here too. I don't have a refractometer but I thought the honey I pulled earlier this year was thin and runny.
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PLAN-B
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 03:52:54 PM »

Gov--- let me know how that bucket turns out... I wouldn't think it would take that long if it was going to ferment.
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Marshall
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 04:38:43 PM »

i pulled one frame the other day that was all capped and it was the thinnest honey i've ever seen.  a lot of rain here too.
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Dr. B in Wisconsin
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2013, 08:06:49 PM »

Just the opposite here in Wisconsin, I took off some over 1 month ago and it was like glue, checked it and it was 16.5 % am going back probably this weekend to get some more, been a good year here by me with good rains, my apple trees are just hanging full of apples this year just the opposite with the early frosts that killed all my blossums last year.
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greenbtree
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2013, 05:54:11 PM »

I haven't pulled frames this year as I am building numbers, but just did a big cutout (first year hive, all white comb, but big, we also have had a good flow year) and the capped comb that it produced also had very thin honey.

JC
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2013, 02:10:18 PM »

I only had one hive to produce a surplus this year (same scenario as last year) and extracted it back the first part of June.  It amazed my mentor in that it was down at around 16.5%....110 pounds.  Since then we have had almost constant humid, overcast conditions.  My mentor started extracting some honey a couple of weeks ago (trying to work between rain / humid days) and when it started flowing out of the extractor his strainer didn't slow it down...it poured through like water!!!  He checked and it was on the high side of 20%.  What he extracted he managed to work down to 18%.  This past week he took his refractor to the hives and checked some supers...all were over 20%.  The thin honey that he extracted earlier and this that he just checked was all capped.

I've only had bees for a couple of years and my understanding is that bees won't cap honey if it isn't dry enough to be capped.  As humid and wet as we've been down here in south Alabama is it probable that moisture managed to get through the wax capping?  huh

Ed
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2013, 08:41:18 PM »

This thread has prompted me to purchase a refractometer. I have about 70 medium frames to extract. It's been one of the wettest years I can remember. Thanks for the heads up. I initially put the frames in a freezer for a couple days then aired them out in the house. I'll post what I find out.
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Ray
MsCarol
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2013, 08:42:16 PM »

Ed and all,

So raw a beginner it isn't funny, but I also noted that although the honey supers are filling, they are NOT capping. I gave the stronger hive another super to play with. I may have to steal stores to get the late small swarm hive through the winter so am urging production. There is still 2 months(Or should be) before frost. The fall bloomers haven't gotten cranked up yet.

I was guessing with the high humidity that we have had here as well, the bees simply can not dry the honey down.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2013, 10:13:01 PM »

I was guessing with the high humidity that we have had here as well, the bees simply can not dry the honey down.

That is a very intelligent guess!
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2013, 10:35:01 PM »

<snip>
I was guessing with the high humidity that we have had here as well, the bees simply can not dry the honey down.
That's pretty well it.  The bees are smart, they know when honey is ready to cap and when it's not.  That is what is so strange with all this capped honey ending up at 20%+...I don't think the bees capped it this "wet", but...  huh

Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

"Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they wont come to yours." - Yogi Berra
Dimmsdale
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« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2013, 11:14:00 AM »

My honey also seemed thinner this year.  Came in around 19 or 20%.   Very light and tasty. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the nector source can play some role in higher moister contents.  It said clover can be capped and without danger of fermenting as high as 23%.  Anybody else know anything about this?
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10framer
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« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2013, 11:33:28 AM »

I only had one hive to produce a surplus this year (same scenario as last year) and extracted it back the first part of June.  It amazed my mentor in that it was down at around 16.5%....110 pounds.  Since then we have had almost constant humid, overcast conditions.  My mentor started extracting some honey a couple of weeks ago (trying to work between rain / humid days) and when it started flowing out of the extractor his strainer didn't slow it down...it poured through like water!!!  He checked and it was on the high side of 20%.  What he extracted he managed to work down to 18%.  This past week he took his refractor to the hives and checked some supers...all were over 20%.  The thin honey that he extracted earlier and this that he just checked was all capped.

I've only had bees for a couple of years and my understanding is that bees won't cap honey if it isn't dry enough to be capped.  As humid and wet as we've been down here in south Alabama is it probable that moisture managed to get through the wax capping?  huh

Ed

swamp it sounds like you pulled right before the biblical floods really started.  most of the heavy rains started here the last few days of may.  had a bout a week long break recently but it's back. 
i've got frames that were full in early may that still weren't capped a couple of weeks ago.  i'venever seen anything like this.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2013, 05:30:03 PM »

See my reply on this thread: http://forum.beemaster.com/index.php/topic,42391.0.html
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2013, 11:40:39 PM »

So how'd ya'll do with the higher moisture content honey?  My mentor has about 10 supers of honey that's he's debating leaving to the bees because it's 20+% and sealed.  How well does the dehumidier and a small room work on extracted honey?  It appears shallow pans are necessary...how shallow?  Recommendations or suggestions are welcomed!!!!

Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

"Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they wont come to yours." - Yogi Berra
RHBee
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« Reply #18 on: September 17, 2013, 11:30:28 AM »

So how'd ya'll do with the higher moisture content honey?  My mentor has about 10 supers of honey that's he's debating leaving to the bees because it's 20+% and sealed.  How well does the dehumidier and a small room work on extracted honey?  It appears shallow pans are necessary...how shallow?  Recommendations or suggestions are welcomed!!!!

Ed

Ed,
I bottled 20gal of 19.3% and sold it all. I quit worrying about it after checking a small sample of last year's crop that tested @19.3%. I don't know about 20% but I'd more than likely sell it.
Ray
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Ray
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2013, 11:26:35 AM »

So how'd ya'll do with the higher moisture content honey?  My mentor has about 10 supers of honey that's he's debating leaving to the bees because it's 20+% and sealed.  How well does the dehumidifier and a small room work on extracted honey?  It appears shallow pans are necessary...how shallow?  Recommendations or suggestions are welcomed!!!!

Ed

Ed,
I loaned my honey heater to a newbee friend and he heated it to 104 degrees and kept it there to get it from 20% to 18.5 (Inside of his air conditioned house).
My honey in the past was around 18.6% and I normally let it very slowly drain from my filter bucket into 3 gallon buckets in an air conditioned room with @ 45% humidity (about as low as we can get it here during the summer). Sometimes I do it twice. the 600 pounds that I just pulled and I am bottling now is right at 18% and I still let it slow drip. Some of the frames had thinner honey than others, noticeably thinner. Had to re balance the extractor a couple of times because of the differences.
Jim
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