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Thread: honey storage

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    santa monica, ca
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    Default honey storage

    I had a hive with some wax moth problems. I broke it down and froze the frames for 24 hours. I would like to put the frames back into another hive both as guides and feed for the bees. How long can I store frames of honey? Under what conditions should it be stored?
    Also from the same hive I have frames with various stages of brood. If I place them back into the hive will the bees clean them up and use them?
    Buzz Abbott
    USDA zone 11a, Western Garden zone 24 (75 ft elev. n34.0w118.47)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    San Jose, Ca
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    372

    Default Re: honey storage

    I don't know, but I've heard that if you freeze the honey then it kills the enzymes in the honey and make it bad for the bees. I've also heard though that the brood will be cleaned out and reused. If you can put the brood back in... it has a bit of honey on the edges though so I don't know.

    If you are using the honey frames as a guide though, I'd extract them and add them as drawn frames. Depending on how many moths there are the honey should be fine.
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: honey storage

    MrHappy, You heard that freezing honey makes it bad for the bees? Consider what happens up here in the north when it is below freezing for months at a time! The bees do fine so don't worry about freezing honey.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Great Falls Montana
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    3,975

    Default Re: honey storage

    As a public service, I will take it upon myself to properly dispose of all frozen honey that people want to ship to me.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    santa monica, ca
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    175

    Default Re: honey storage

    now that the question about frozen honey being ok for the bees has been answered, could someone answer questions in the original post?
    Buzz Abbott
    USDA zone 11a, Western Garden zone 24 (75 ft elev. n34.0w118.47)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Arlee MT USA
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    548

    Default Re: honey storage

    In the comb? I don't know for sure. In a jar, even unfiltered, virtually forever.Honey is too acidic and too concentrated for most bacteria or yeasts to live in it, not to mention all the natural anti-biotics it has.

    This is what wiki has to say:

    Because of its unique composition and chemical properties, honey is suitable for long-term storage, and is easily assimilated even after long preservation. Honey, and objects immersed in honey, have been preserved for decades and even centuries.[56][57] The key to preservation is limiting access to humidity. In its cured state, honey has a sufficiently high sugar content to inhibit fermentation. If exposed to moist air, its hydrophilic properties will pull moisture into the honey, eventually diluting it to the point that fermentation can begin. Honey sealed in honeycomb cells by the bees is considered by many to be the ideal form for preservation.
    Honey should also be protected from oxidation and temperature degradation. It generally should not be preserved in metal containers because the acids in the honey may promote oxidation of the vessel. Traditionally, honey was stored in ceramic or wooden containers; however, glass and plastic are now the favored materials. Honey stored in wooden containers may be discolored or take on flavors imparted from the vessel. Likewise, honey stored uncovered near other foods may absorb other smells.
    Excessive heat can have detrimental effects on the nutritional value of honey.[58][59] Heating up to 37 C (98.6 F) causes loss of nearly 200 components, some of which are antibacterial. Heating up to 40 C (104 F) destroys invertase, an important enzyme. At 50 C (122 F), the honey sugars caramelize. Generally, any large temperature fluctuation causes decay.[60]
    Regardless of preservation, honey may crystallize over time. Crystallization does not affect the flavor, quality or nutritional content of the honey, though it does affect color and texture. The rate is a function of storage temperature, availability of "seed" crystals and the specific mix of sugars and trace compounds in the honey. Tupelo and acacia honeys, for example, are exceptionally slow to crystallize, while goldenrod will often crystallize still in the comb. Most honeys crystallize fastest between about 50 and 70 F (10 and 21 C). The crystals can be dissolved by heating the honey.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    San Jose, Ca
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    Default Re: honey storage

    So since freezing the honey is fine for the bees, leave the honey in the the freezer. It will crystallize slower in there. You can take it out and leave it out for a few days before putting it back in the hive. But like I said, you should just extract it and let them refill it. Put the extracted frames between the new frames as a guide.

    And yes the bees will clean it.
    Disclaimer: I know enough to know I don't know anything yet.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Limestone Co, Alabama
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    1,674

    Default Re: honey storage

    There is nothing going on with frozen honey that will harm your bees. Just like there is nothing going on with heated honey that will harm you. Put the combs back in the hive after you brush off as many of the cocoons and dead bees as you easily can. Your bees will do the rest, they have been living cheek by jowl with wax moths and dead brood since the beginning of time. They know how to handle it.

    In the freezer honey has no expiration date that I am aware of. Out of the freezer but in a cool place caped honey lasts as long as it stays liquid and remains sealed in the comb. But even if its not in the comb your bees can still recycle honey. Thinned out or uncured honey is likely to ferment, homey that is contaminated by SHB slime or wax moth fecal matter will not stay palatable to bees.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

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