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  1. #1
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    Default Can Honey go bad

    I left all the Honey in my hives last year hoping that my bees will make it through the winter.
    Can the honey go bad. I am a first year beek here

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Honey can crystallize in the comb and be difficult for you (and sometimes also bees) to remove, but in general, honey does not spoil over time. Honey that has too high a moisture content can ferment, though. Humans call fermented honey mead.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Steeltapsryup View Post
    I left all the Honey in my hives last year hoping that my bees will make it through the winter.
    Can the honey go bad. I am a first year beek here
    If in the hive and capped, chances are NO. As Rader has stated, it can and will crystalize depending upon what type of honey it is, making it a pain to get out of the comb. Once extracted, or if the honey isn't low enough in moisture it can go bad with additional moisture and ferment.

    Graham - Do you like mead?
    Thomas Bartram - 43 - 8 F langs, 22 Italian & 21 Russian

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    The honey that is left in the brood chamber will be turned into frames of new bees this spring. If you left supers on, that honey can be extracted and eaten or sold but the bees will probably be using the supers for a brood chamber by then. But the honey is good for a thousand years give or take a century if the bees cured and capped it and it stays dry.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by drlonzo View Post
    Once extracted, or if the honey isn't low enough in moisture it can go bad with additional moisture and ferment.

    Graham - Do you like mead?
    Please explain how extraction can make honey susceptible to spoilage? I never knew that.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    Please explain how extraction can make honey susceptible to spoilage? I never knew that.
    Extraction is only one part of the equation, the water content is another. In context, with the reference to mead, if there is sufficient water and the presence of yeast the yeast colonies will reproduce, consuming the sugars and excreting alcohol and carbon dioxide. Some of us hold the opinion that this is not necessarily a bad thing, and have even been known to encourage it.
    Zone 4a/b

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Actually yeast either reproduces, or produces alcohol reproducing yeast does not produce alcohol. The oxygen in the must determines weather the individual yeasties acts aerobically or anaerobically as yeast produces alcohol in the absence of oxygen and reproduces in it's presence.

    I still want to know how Extraction plays a role in spoilage, Unless it is the practice of extracting nectar along with the honey, thus diluting it. but that would not be from extraction, it would be from poor extraction.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    I still want to know how Extraction plays a role in spoilage, Unless it is the practice of extracting nectar along with the honey, thus diluting it. but that would not be from extraction, it would be from poor extraction.
    I would say that extraction would encourage crystallization quicker than if you left it in capped comb. Honey during extraction will pick up contaminants and broken up pieces of wax due to the process.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Have to agree with Brian here. Extracted honey does granulate much more quickly than capped honey not that it's a necessarily a bad thing. It's the incorporation of air into the honey that's speeds the process. If it can be gently warmed just enough to clarify it immediately after extraction it will greatly slow the granulation.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Steeltapsryup View Post
    I left all the Honey in my hives last year hoping that my bees will make it through the winter.
    Can the honey go bad.
    Honey left on hives will not go bad under normal circumstances. Small hive beetles, generally not a problem in MI during the Winter, can damage comb and spoil the honey there in. You honey should be fine.

    I know a beekeeper here in NY who harvests his honey crop from the previous year in May after it sat on hives all Winter.
    Let America Be America Again http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/Hugh...-Again1938.htm
    Mark Berninghausen



  11. #11
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    Extracted honey does granulate much more quickly than capped honey not that it's a necessarily a bad thing.
    You would also agree that granulation is not spoilage, right? The original post was asking about honey left in combs and left on hives, not extracted honey.
    Let America Be America Again http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/Hugh...-Again1938.htm
    Mark Berninghausen



  12. #12
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    Please explain how extraction can make honey susceptible to spoilage? I never knew that.
    Honey is hygroscopic, meaning it has a tendency to absorb moisture.

    Extracted honey, if not kept in a closed container, can absorb airborne moisture, leading to fermentation.
    Honey, especially when rich in fructose, is very hygroscopic i.e. it absorbs moisture from the air when the container is not closed. This may lead to an increase in water content and possible fermentation. For this reason is it important that honey is always stored in containers with tight fitting lids.

    ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/012/i0842e/i0842e10.pdf
    I suspect that is what drlonzo was referring to in post #3.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    You would also agree that granulation is not spoilage, right? The original post was asking about honey left in combs and left on hives, not extracted honey.
    Of course. I would say, generally speaking, that granulation is a good indicator in that it at least shows that it has not seen much heat or filtration.
    I also plead guilty to not having read the entire thread before replying.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    I would say you will be fine.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by jim lyon View Post
    If it can be gently warmed just enough to clarify it immediately after extraction it will greatly slow the granulation.
    Jim do you think the granulation will be quicker the second time? In other words if it crystallizes and then you warm it to clarify it will it crystallize quicker the next time?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    Honey is hygroscopic, meaning it has a tendency to absorb moisture.
    Keep in mind that hygroscopic materials will give up moisture otherwise the bees would never be able to dry honey.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Keep in mind that hygroscopic materials will give up moisture otherwise the bees would never be able to dry honey.
    Ace, bees don't "dry honey".


    It is nectar that the bees dehydrate. And no, nectar is not honey.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Rader Sidetrack View Post
    And no, nectar is not honey.
    Talk to Mark. do you think the bees add something to nectar to make it hygroscopic?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    What the bees "add" to nectar is "negative* moisture", Ace.





    * in this sense, adding a 'negative' is indicative of removing moisture.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Can Honey go bad

    No, your honey will not go bad, because honey can lasting many days.So, you can be sure that your honey will stay perfect.

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