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Thread: honey capping

  1. #1
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    I have 2 Supers, 1 on each hive, full of honey. Problem is they aren't completely capping it, but don't appear to be drying it anymore either. All the frames have a slight U shape of cappings across the tops of the frames.


    Short of buying the cheapest spectromer ($80 bux), is there some way to tell if the honey is more or less done? I would love to go ahead and get this out so I could introduce new foundations for the remainder of the flow.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2003
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    Scott,
    I am having the same issue here with my hives. One is in 3 deeps and 3 shallows already with hardly any honey capped (no complete frames). I was told to just keep adding to the hive. When I add foundation frames above drawn comb, I usually mix it together to encourage straigher combs and to bait the bees up to the highest super.

    However, I read in between your lines that you are out of supers/ deeps. If you are crafty, you can whip out some in a few minutes from some 1-by material and a table saw. If you don't have any more supers to add with the new frames, and don't have the oportunity to make some, I am at a loss to help you. Sorry

  3. #3
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    If it was done, they would cap it. It's not done.

  4. #4
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    I'm still intrigued by their methods. This would imply that only the top slight u shaped portion of each frame, of 8 or so frames is done, while they rest of the frame is completely full but undone? Why cure only a certain portion to completion, in the same pattern across all frames and not the rest?

    Makes me think there is some other reason it is not capped, such as leaving it accessable for some other need.

  5. #5
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    That is a possibility, but then that means they are in the process of using it and I still wouldn't take it. I take only honey that's mostly capped. There is almost always a little bit that's still open no matter how long you wait.

  6. #6
    jfischer Guest

    Post

    Clearly none of the views posted in this
    thread are those of people who own a
    refractometer. If they owned a refractometer,
    they would have different views.

    1) Capping is energy-intensive and
    time-consuming for the bees.

    2) Once capping starts on a super,
    one can be well advised to sample
    from a few cells on a few frames,
    testing each sample with a
    refractometer.

    3) If the honey is within the acceptable
    range, why not pull the super? Why
    not save the bees the trouble of
    capping, just so you can uncap?

    A refractometer test takes only seconds,
    and can be done "in the yard" with ease
    as long as one brings something to clean
    off the prism between tests.

    I've seen capped honey that was "too wet",
    and many beekeepers have stories about
    honey that was properly capped, but still
    not within the acceptable range for decent
    honey. Therefore, a refractometer is a
    required item for anyone who wants to even
    give honey as a gift, let alone sell it.

    The new much cheaper ones are pretty good.
    To be honest, auto-temp-compenstation
    at any price is a very nice feature in a
    refractometer, as it avoids the need for
    all the math.

    jim


  7. #7
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    What setting do you use on the refactormeter to indicate why the bees cap the top portion of each frame in the manner that they do? Possibly you have a suggestion for some other gadget that does this, should the cheaper model not?

    I'm sure you also are simply trying to tease it out of us, but I believe there is some value in the cappings for wax usage as it is generally very clear and pure.



    [This message has been edited by scott_dixon (edited May 20, 2004).]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Columbia, South Carolina USA
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    Jim,

    Most of the honey refractometers I have seen neglect to mention temp compensation. Prolly because I am looking in beekeeping supply catalogs. I have been thinking of buying a refractometer for a while but cannot seem to get the particulars out of the beekeeping suppliers that would satisfy my pre-purchase curiosity. Do you have a source of a decent model?

    thanks

    Keith

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
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    Mason, MI, USA
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    Lightbulb

    I think I would add annother supper below the full one and see if they need more room for more honey and they might finish capping the other.
    A beekeeper sense 1964
    Clint


    ------------------
    Clinton Bemrose
    just South of Lansing Michigan

  10. #10
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    After reading around some of the other posts, I now realize this was my error; I should have added additional supers as the flow is/was better than I knew what I was looking at.

    I had put 2 fully drawn foundations in each of my packaged hives for them to begin working with. I had assumed the queen would begin laying right away. Not so. All 3 hives filled both frames with honey, in 2 days. Upon observation, what I think they do is bring that back so the house bees can use it to build out the outher foundations.

    As soon as they got at least one "virgin" frame built out, the queens started laying. I am continually impressed with their efficiency.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Lenexa, Kansas
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    "I've seen capped honey that was "too wet",
    and many beekeepers have stories about
    honey that was properly capped, but still
    not within the acceptable range for decent
    honey. Therefore, a refractometer is a
    required item for anyone who wants to even
    give honey as a gift, let alone sell it."

    A gent in the local bee club HAS a refractometer, and he has often noted that capped honey might not be condensed enough.

    But, he ALSO says that if he puts them in a room in the house with a fan blowing down the supers, the honey dries down in a day.

    I think that would be good insurance for the person with just a hive or 2. Assuming, of course, that drips can be contained....

  12. #12
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    >"I've seen capped honey that was "too wet",
    and many beekeepers have stories about
    honey that was properly capped, but still
    not within the acceptable range for decent
    honey. Therefore, a refractometer is a
    required item for anyone who wants to even
    give honey as a gift, let alone sell it."

    Most of the people who I have met that have had this problem live in humid climates. I've never had a problem with it if it was capped. In some humid climates, they tell me, that the moisture in the honey can actually go up, sometimes too high, if you leave it in the comb.

    It has never been a problem anywhere I've lived.

  13. #13
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    I could see where it could be one here though; we have very very high humidity, especially in the summer.

  14. #14
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    Jun 2004
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    san antonio.texas USA
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    Perhaps your flow is over and the bees just didn't cap the honey. I turn the frames upside down, count 8 to 10 seconds and if the honey doesnt drip on my boot it is ready to be removed.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Mineral, Virginia
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    interesting method of checking it. Actually, since this thread was started, they have gone back and started capping properly; I robbed 2 frames about a week ago. I think I need 5 hives just for my own uses!

    I still believe there is more to it than we think. I doubt it's laziness, but in the same token, why bring it all in and not complete the process? I think the Honey may in fact be dried properly, but they are leaving it opend for a reason nonetheless.

  16. #16
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    estevan, sask, canada
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    Hi;we take the honey off up here when the frams are 1/3 capped,and have never had a problem.Dont let them cap a finished product when they could be building or other gaining duties

    ------------------
    B. roger eagles

  17. #17
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    Here's a cheap refractometer. Take your honey to the county or state fair. They will mark the moisture content on the jar. Keep it for future reference. You can put your new honey in the same kind of jar and make sure they are both room temperature and flip them both over and see how fast the bubbles rise. If they are faster in your new honey then it has more moisture than the "fair honey". If they are slower then your new honey has less moisture.

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