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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    San Mateo
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    141

    Default frames with crystallized honey

    Hello, out of four 100%-capped deep frames, which I removed from the hive about a month ago, one frame turned out to be completely crystallized on both sides and another had a large crystallized patch in the middle on one side. The rest extracted well. All are with plastic foundation.

    Is there a way to save the crystallized honey? Would the bees would eat it, even if there's enough blooming plants around now? I suspect some of the other six frames that are still in the hive might also be crystallized.

    I guess the only thing to do now is to dissolve the crystallized honey and then feed the syrup back to the bees. And then give them the frames, one after another, for cleaning.

    Thanks and best wishes, h.
    Last edited by baybee; 12-21-2016 at 01:34 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,542

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    >Is there a way to save the crystallized honey?

    What is to save? The bees will eat it over winter or in a dearth. If you really feel the need to "do something", then uncap it and put it in the middle of the brood nest in a build up and they will quickly consume or move it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Lake Forest Park, WA
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    Last year was my first beekeeping year and I was so worried because the majority of honey they stored looked solid white (we get ivy flow in late fall). They ate them all by March.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    San Mateo
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    Thank you Michael, Kuro! I also suspect english ivy, of which our neighbors have a lot. The patchy crystallization has something to do with different sources of nectar.

    The first day of winter here usually means the cold days of the year (35F nights, 50F days) are over. The bees are flying and bringing a lot of pollen. I'll put the crystallized frames back and see if the bees like them more than fresh nectar.

    Kuro, do you mean the bees ate all the sugar crystalls or just hauled them outside?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Lake Forest Park, WA
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    Quote Originally Posted by baybee View Post
    Kuro, do you mean the bees ate all the sugar crystalls or just hauled them outside?
    I do not really know. When I did inspection in March, the crystalized honey had disappeared, replaced by brood. I assumed they ate them all.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,542

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    >Kuro, do you mean the bees ate all the sugar crystalls or just hauled them outside?

    They consume it. I don't know where the myth came from that bees can't eat crystallized honey, but if they can't, then they would never survive the winter here as all of the fall honey crystallized before winter.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    San Mateo
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    I don't know where the myth came from that bees can't eat crystallized honey, but if they can't, then they would never survive the winter here as all of the fall honey crystallized before winter.
    Thank you for clarification Michael! Appreciate your response. I guess I assumed that the bees might treat crystallized honey like regular granulated sugar. "Assumption is the mother ...". Best wishes!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,542

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    Bees don't haul out granulated sugar if it's clumped at all. Only if and when it's dry and loose, and it quickly becomes clumped even if you don't contribute to that. Crystallized honey in the comb is practically solid.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    San Mateo
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    Appreciate all the responses! Another question: I have been able to extract some liquid honey from two and a half frames which had just a few tiny patches of crystallized honey. Everything was fine until all the extracted honey has completely crystallized a day or two after extraction. All the 15 lbs. flowed out of the extractor as a nice viscous liquid and then has turned into a solid block in no time. Was wondering why the honey crystallized so quickly? I suspect that keeping the extracted honey in a 55F room could be a factor. Alternatively, already crystallized honey found its way into the liquid honey seeded the crystallization process. Or that it had been sitting in the hive for too long (probably, since late August). Thanks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Lake Forest Park, WA
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    http://www.honey.com/images/download...allization.pdf

    2016 was my first honey harvesting year and I collected small batches to compare flavors. The April honey (early spring flowers plus some leftover from the previous fall?) became like creamed honey in a few months but the May (maple?) and June (black locust and blackberry?) honeys stay liquid. The October honey (ivy and other fall flowers?), that I managed to extract from more-than-half crystallized frames, became solidified within a few days. All bottles are stored in the same room (60F-70F). I like all of them, including the strong flavored October solid honey. I could liquefy crystallized honey by gently heating it but I tend to enjoy it as it is.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    San Mateo
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    Kuro, thank you for your response and the link! I guess I made a mistake of letting the capped frames sit for a few weeks in a cool room before extracting honey. I'll have to liquefy the current 15 lb. block of crystallized honey for extra straining and then bottling.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    DFW area, TX, USA
    Posts
    1,541

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    Quote Originally Posted by baybee View Post
    ...I'll have to liquefy the current 15 lb. block of crystallized honey for extra straining and then bottling.
    You can do that, but do not be surprised when it crystallizes again in your jar. I would put it in the brood nest in early spring as MB suggested.
    ...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    387

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    Just as an aside, our 2016 honey is crystallizing much more quickly than other years. It is all in jars, and when it starts to solidify, I put the jars in a yogurt maker overnight. The yogurt machines are usually just large trays offering gentle 118F heat, perfect for liquifying honey.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    San Mateo
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: frames with crystallized honey

    Thanks, WW! Interesting observation. I've tried heating a 15 lbs. chunk of honey, which solidified in a pot, at 105F for a few hours and it only started to liquefy at the edges. Didn't want to go higher with the temp. What is the absolute maximum temp to liquefy honey?

    Having never seen crystallized honey in the stores, didn't expect to see my honey solidifying in a matter of days. Does honey crystallize at the hive temp of 95F?

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