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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lamont, Florida, USA
    Posts
    182

    Default Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    It has been a rainy and humid season, no doubt, here in North Florida. I just checked the moisture content of my honey and was sad to see it register at 18.7 per cent on my refractometer. I have read that I can dry it out somewhat with a dehumidifier and will give it a try. Didn't find one in my bee equipment catalog - and wonder if all dehumidifiers are equal or are some better than others for this purpose. Any suggestions will be appreciated since I will head out tomorrow to purchase one somewhere. Thanks for advice.

    beecuz

    "...for breath is sweeter taken even as the last in places dear...with gardens, fields and dogwood trees...in forest stands of bamboo shoots and ginger root...and honey bees."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,920

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    There are a couple things you can do that would be way cheaper than buying a dehumidifier. You can just bring the supers in the house in the air conditioning for a couple days, or blow dry warm air through the supers with a fan, either method will bring down the moisture content quickly in a couple days I would say. John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,443

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    I used a dehumidifier I have from a house I used to live in, and posted this on a club forum I participate in last year it may be useful to you:

    I have a dehumidifier in a room thats about 8x8, we normally just keep the freezer in there. On the 16th I pulled 12 supers and put them in two stacks in the room. In between the supers I put some 3/4 scraps of wood to allow air to circulate. We are towards the end of our season, and only about half of the frames were capped. I picked the deepest open frame as a reference point and tested honey from the same frame every day. I stacked the frames that were the most capped on the bottom of the stack and the least capped on the top. I did not close the door, I propped it about 6 inches open because a couple of years ago I closed it and had a melt down; Luckily I have a tolerant wife.

    Here is the data. After the date the first number is % moisture according to my Atago refractometer, and the second number is the temperature in degrees C.
    8/16 21.9@26.5
    8/17 20.6@25.2
    8/18 20.2@27.2
    8/19 18.9@29.4
    8/20 18.3@28.7
    8/21 no data
    8/22 17.2@28
    on the 22nd I also opened up some capped cells on a different frame these were 15.9@28.3

    That was good enough for me, on the 23rd I extracted. I took 4 sample tubes of honey as I extracted these then sat inside, and when I tested them they were as follows:
    17.3, 16.4, 16.4, 16.3.

    Every day I had to empty the dehumidifier, or it would cut out when full.

    I thought these data points might be useful to others to gauge how long to run a dehumidifier. Someone on Beesource pointed out that the dehumidifier is also taking off moisture from the automatic defrost cycle of the freezer - it's not energy efficient but you work with what you have.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    914

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by beecuz View Post
    It has been a rainy and humid season, no doubt, here in North Florida. I just checked the moisture content of my honey and was sad to see it register at 18.7 per cent on my refractometer. I have read that I can dry it out somewhat with a dehumidifier and will give it a try. Didn't find one in my bee equipment catalog - and wonder if all dehumidifiers are equal or are some better than others for this purpose. Any suggestions will be appreciated since I will head out tomorrow to purchase one somewhere. Thanks for advice.

    beecuz

    "...for breath is sweeter taken even as the last in places dear...with gardens, fields and dogwood trees...in forest stands of bamboo shoots and ginger root...and honey bees."
    Why do you feel the need to dry it lower than 18.7? That should bee good enough for govt work. I extract the same day it comes off of the hive, but I do run a/c and a dehumidifier before during and after until the honey is all in sealed jars. my dehum is just your garden variety I bought at Lowes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lamont, Florida, USA
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    rweakley - I had read that anything over 18 percent would cause fermentation. Is less than one percent over 18 still acceptable or am I pushing the risk?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lamont, Florida, USA
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    I checked the comb honey that I have in plastic boxes, and the moisture content for it is at 16.8 percent, so it is fine. But, the liquid honey that I have now stored in 4 plastic gallon jars, tightly lidded, is the honey that registers 18.7 percent. So, I am a bit confused...since that honey has already been spun out and stored in plastic gallon jars am I still able to dry it out? If so, should I just take the lids off and put near a/c and dehumidifier? Or do I need to pour into shallow pans? Or have I just screwed up by not testing the moisture content and drying BEFORE I extracted it? Any further suggestions will be appreciated!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Sullivan, MO
    Posts
    914

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by beecuz View Post
    rweakley - I had read that anything over 18 percent would cause fermentation. Is less than one percent over 18 still acceptable or am I pushing the risk?
    From what I understand 18.6 is considered Grade A honey in the US so you are .1% over that. Honey in that range is supposed to be good from fermentation for atleast a year. If stored under 50 degrees F or over 80 degrees F it extends that time frame. Most people who buy my honey have it used up in a month or so.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Issaquah,WA,USA
    Posts
    2,454

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    Just throw fan on the stack of supers for a few days.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    3,449

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    I didn't know they made dehumidifiers small enough to fit in a hive.... lol

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lamont, Florida, USA
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    Thanks for the advice, EastsideBuzz...I will do that when I next pull supers...but right now the suspect honey is already in gallon jars. At 18.7 percent moisture should I still try to dry it and if so by what method? Or as already advised, just leave it be since it is only a little bit over recommended percent? What are your thoughts?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Lamont, Florida, USA
    Posts
    182

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    As an update...I purchased a dehumidifier and it worked great. Brought the moisture content down from between 18 - 19 per cent to a low of 16 - 17 percent. I let the dehumidifier run for about 24 hours to get the room humidity established where I wanted it, then left my jars of honey uncapped overnight with just cheesecloth over them. Moisture content was reduced significantly. Hooray! Peace of mind is a wonderful thing. : )

  12. #12

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    I've had one running in my honey house for the past three months...for the same reason....peace of mind.
    Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. - Emerson

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    West Blocton Alabama USA
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    What temperature do I need to maintain in the room to keep from having a meltdown?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    49,290

    Default Re: Dehumidifier to reduce moisture in honey?

    This is from Chapter V of "Honey in the Comb" by Carl Killion, which was a reprint from an article in the Jan 1950 issue of ABJ:

    "The following is a reprint of an article by the writer, appearing in the January 1950 issue of the American Bee Journal.

    "It is hoped that we have at last found a favorable method to remove excess moisture from comb honey to prevent fermentation. For several years we have been working on this problem. Fermentation is not present every year in our honey. Some years the honey is of the very finest quality as far as moisture, flavor, and keeping qualities are concerned. It is only about once in five years that we have a loss from this source. Those who have not had any experience with fermentation cannot appreciate how fortunate they are. The results obtained during August and September research work have been most encouraging indeed. We have every reason to believe that we are finding the correct method to prevent future loss or to minimize it so that the loss will be light.

    "We produce section comb honey and the control of moisture in the comb has been quite a problem. If we were in liquid honey production the solution would be less troublesome.

    "Our greatest loss from fermentation has been in years of high humidity. We are not saying that high humidity is the only factor involved, but it is one of the major factors. We have reasons to believe that soil, humidity, plants, yeasts, and the bees themselves are all factors. We must include one more and that is temperature, because fermentation ceases or becomes inactive at temperatures below fifty degrees F. From our first experience it looked as though soil was to blame, the next time plants, and later, high humidity. As the years passed, we had to include all of the above as causing fermentation.

    "In 1929 we saw fermentation for the first time. Our apiaries were along the Indiana-Illinois state line. The soil was part clay and loam, with a small amount of black soil within flight of the bees. Only one apiary was on black soil. Honey produced in this apiary that year did not ferment; the honey from all other apiaries did show some fermentation. From 1929 to 1937 we had some loss but it was always from apiaries located upon the lighter soils. In 1936 we did not find one cell of sour honey; in fact, it was the finest quality we have ever produced, 12.3 pounds per gallon.

    "In 1941 it made little difference whether apiaries were on sandy, clay, loam or black soils, the honey all fermented. That year we lost over 700 supers of fine comb honey which would have graded number one to fancy, mostly fancy grade. It was not pleasant to see streams of foamy sour honey going down our shop drain. We used one apiary to clean out the supers storing the thin “soup” in deep frames for winter feed. The bees did a fine job on the second attempt.

    "For the past few years we have been trying to re-move moisture from the room where our filled comb supers were stored until the honey was ready for market. We believed that if we could keep the moisture in the room to a minimum, it might help draw moisture from the comb. We started using chemical units where the chemicals are suspended in a bag over a tank or pan. As moisture condenses, it falls into the pan and can be removed. The use of these units involved considerable work and the chemicals failed to act after the humidity dropped to a certain degree, unless the room was heated. These units did some good, we are sure, until we reached the season 1949, with its record of high humidity.

    "We practice the removal of comb supers from the hives as fast as the sections are completely sealed, to prevent travel stain and eliminate extra handling of equipment each time the colony is examined. Please do not tell us we should have left the supers on the hives longer to insure complete ripening of the honey. We have made tests and proved to ourselves that more honey was lost in the supers left on the hives than in what we re-moved. There appeared to be more moisture in the air than in the nectar the bees were trying to evaporate.

    "Early in 1949 we learned of a manufacturer who made machines for moisture removal. We exchanged a few letters but did not get one of their machines. We were sure, however, the machine was the answer to our prayer. The manufacturer was in another state and we hesitated about asking for a free demonstration or renting one for experimental use. If we had used this machine it would have saved us approximately 150 nice supers of comb. Later in the season we found another machine near us that was built to remove moisture. This machine is made by the Carrier Corporation who also made air-conditioning units. It is called the HUMIDRY and will withdraw five times as much water from the air as the chemical dehumidifier. It acts like a refrigerator running in reverse. The local distributor for this machine was the Punzak Air-Conditioning and Sales Company, Springfield Illinois. When I gave Mr. Punzak the history of our honey fermentation he was very much interested and suggested we use one of the machines for our experimental work.

    "The Humidry was placed in our comb room and turned on August 21 at 4:30 p.m. The outside temperature was about 85 degrees and humidity 66 per cent. There were 130 supers in the room at the time, also the chemical units which had been there for several days. These units were removed when the Humidry was turned on. A sample of honey was removed from a section to take a water content; it showed 21.0 per cent (sample A). On September 1, sample B was taken and showed 18.6 per cent; sample C taken on September 13, showed only 17.1 per cent. Here was the proof! We had removed moisture from the comb! Temperature and humidity readings were recorded twice daily during our test, water was weighted daily. From 4:30 p.m. August 21 to 8 p.m. September 13 we removed 222 ˝ pounds of water from the Humidry. During this period the average temperature of the room was 79 plus F. and humidity 32 minus per cent.

    "After using the Humidry another season we should have a better report to make for we know this machine has a permanent place in our moisture control program. It should find a place with producers of cut comb and chunk comb, and even with the extracted honey producer who wants quality instead of quantity. We think we originated the idea that if excess moisture is removed from any honey the flavor is improved; if we did not originate it, we firmly believe in it."--Carl Killion, Honey in the Comb Chapter V
    Last edited by Michael Bush; 06-23-2015 at 06:00 AM. Reason: typo
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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