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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Merseyside, UK
    Posts
    55

    Default Not capping nectar. Why?

    In the uk we are entering the honey harvest time ( end of August/ start of sept).
    There is plenty of nectar in supers but there are no cappings yet. Why? Any suggestions to speed the process up so I can harvest the honey?

    Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Sacramento,California,USA
    Posts
    3,658

    Default Re: Not capping nectar. Why?

    Bees won't cap nectar, even if it is dry enough for capping, unless the cell is full. If the nectar flow slows or stops before the cells are full, then they leave them open. They will still dry and thicken if weather is warm and dry, but they won't cap them. If the weather then turns cooler and moist, then the open cells may ferment as the open nectar absorbs more moisture and gets thinner.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    658

    Default Re: Not capping nectar. Why?

    Get your hands on a refractometer.

    Had a similar problem last fall when I didn't have it, so kept waiting for bees to sufficiently cap. They never did cap 80% of the honey and I ended up leaving it on the hive in a third deep super. I also didn't do a fall treat for mites and that was detrimental. Still have 30 some frames of now crystalized honey. Plan to try to feed it this fall but I could have saved a bunch of hassle and harvested the honey.

    With the refractometer, I have been harvesting frames that are not 80% capped most of the summer and moisture is 17% and below.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Hässleholm, Sweden
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Not capping nectar. Why?

    If there is no flow then even uncapped honey will always be ready to harvest. However it is very delicate and easily absorbs moisture from the air until extracted. Treat it wisely and harvest while the bees are still in the super and moisture content will be ok, regardless of how much is capped.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,286

    Default Re: Not capping nectar. Why?

    I have a good refractometer for measuring SG in my fish tanks. Some site gave a SG reading that was equal to about 18%. Is that a reasonable thing to use for determining honey % moisture or do I have to purchase another refractometer to my measure the honey from my hives? I don't have many hives so would like to avoid purchasing unless required.

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