Dehumidifying honey
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  1. #1
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    Default Dehumidifying honey

    I have read some old threads on this but just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to do something wrong. The flow is over and I have some frames that are full but uncapped. I have an air mover fan I was planning to put on the supers to dry out a bit. I also have a dehydrator I was thinking after I extract I could put honey in trays and put it in there on low anyone got any ideas?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    It is far better to leave the honey in the frames and use the dehumidifier. There is a lot of surface area with the frames, to provide surface for moisture removal. The honey is 3/8 inch or less in depth.

    Leave the frames in the super and raise the super by putting 1 1/2 inch square by 24 inch long pieces of wood under it. I place my super on the blocks on a stool. You want the air to be able to move through the super.

    The trays may work. I tried putting some 20% honey that I had already extracted, in large bowls and running a dehumidifier. Honey was shallow depth and I stirred daily. The running dehumidifier does heat the small room somewhat. Honey started to ferment on the surface and had to throw it out.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    I put down 2x4's and stack supers on them and then a box fan on top forcing air down through them.It dries them out pretty quickly.Be sure to put fan on to and force air down not up as you dont want dirt and stuff from the floor being sucked up and going through your supers.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper1d View Post
    I put down 2x4's and stack supers on them and then a box fan on top forcing air down through them.It dries them out pretty quickly.Be sure to put fan on to and force air down not up as you dont want dirt and stuff from the floor being sucked up and going through your supers.
    The president of our local bee club has done it this way for years.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    I had some honey ferment on me about 30 years ago when I was new and saw it in Bee Culture Magazine.I bought fans and plywood and made up covers to accommodate 4 stacks bunched almost head high.Had made plywood pallets on rollers where i could move them in and out of my honey house.Young and tough then. Now they only get stacked about 4 shallows high and not many of them either.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    If you leave a super on the hive that is full of honey how long will it take to for the honey to "dry down" so the bees will cap it? Noticed that I had one that 8 of 9 frames looked full or close to full but the cells were not capped.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    The cells need to be full and honey needs to be dry before bees will cap it. So in waiting for bees to cap, they may never cap it even if it is "dry". It is best to get a sample of honey from the frames, gathering a sample from a few spots, and testing the moisture content.

    You can then decide when you want to pull it and how much drying is required.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper1d View Post
    I had some honey ferment on me about 30 years ago when I was new and saw it in Bee Culture Magazine.I bought fans and plywood and made up covers to accommodate 4 stacks bunched almost head high.Had made plywood pallets on rollers where i could move them in and out of my honey house.Young and tough then. Now they only get stacked about 4 shallows high and not many of them either.
    I do a very similar thing. I have a nice collection of small box style fans and some wooden covers (dual purpose use as queen castle covers) that allow me to blow air through a stack of boxes. Moisture in our summer honey is particularly problematic given our typical summer weather. Just blowing air isn't enough, it needs to be conditioned air, so all my honey goes into a conditioned space and dried with the fans until I get the desired moisture content. The conditioned space and air movement helps deter SHB, but don't wait too long or you'll have a real mess.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  10. #9
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    Default

    Here's what I do with all honey. Every box goes into the hot dry room before extracting. In spring it's not so important as the honey tends to be dryer, but summer the humidity causes honey to be wetter.

    I have a honey room with a "closet". The dehumidifier goes in the closet along with boxes. Drys for 12-36hr at 35%rh and 85-95F.

    Boxes are stacked up to 6ft high, off the ground on cinderblocks turned 90 degree from normal wall building orientation. Supported only at the bottom edge of the box so plenty of dry air can be drawn in. Stack height will reduce drying speed due to air resistance.

    Place box fan on top of stack, on high. The large cheap window box fans are perfect size. You want the fan to pull air thru the stack, not blow like something else said. You can check draw by letting a piece of paper smoke.

    Keep in mind you can over dry honey. I stop once the honey is at 18% to slow crystallization.
    Last edited by burns375; 08-07-2018 at 08:59 PM.

  11. #10
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    Default

    This is what I come up with
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  12. #11
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    If you are pulling air in from the floor you are getting all the dust,dirt and junk from the floor going through your supers.Put on some white socks and shuffle across your floor and see what you get.Ever time you walk in your honey room from outside you track in stuff.Remember you get onto your kids for tracking in stuff on their feet!!!

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    Here's what I do with all honey. Every box goes into the hot dry room before extracting. In spring it's not so important as the honey tends to be dryer, but summer the humidity causes honey to be wetter.

    I have a honey room with a "closet". The dehumidifier goes in the closet along with boxes. Drys for 12-36hr at 35%rh and 85-95F.

    Boxes are stacked up to 6ft high, off the ground on cinderblocks turned 90 degree from normal wall building orientation. Supported only at the bottom edge of the box so plenty of dry air can be drawn in. Stack height will reduce drying speed due to air resistance.

    Place box fan on top of stack, on high. The large cheap window box fans are perfect size. You want the fan to pull air thru the stack, not blow like something else said. You can check draw by letting a piece of paper smoke.

    Keep in mind you can over dry honey. I stop once the honey is at 18% to slow crystallization.
    I used this method this year, and found it to be quite effective. Based on what I had read previously here on Beesource, I had my fans blowing down through the stacks instead of pulling the air through like you suggested. Please explain the difference, and why it would be so important. If it really does make a difference, I want to be sure to use the better method.

  14. #13
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    Default

    My honey room is pretty clean, mopped before and after every extraction. The boxes drying go into a separate "closet" that doesn't see any foot traffic and is not a work area. The dehumidifier is also filtered. The boxes are 8 inches off the ground, so if there was debri there's not enough vacuum to pull heavy particals since the fan is at the top of the stack. Ide argue that more airborne particilurs are blown thru the stack when the fan is pushing air because the pressure directly at the fan is higher than 5ft away at the bottom of the stack. The honey goes thru a stainer anyways.

    The reason you want to pull air thru the stack is due to pressure loss (resistance). A box fan is more effective pulling air than trying to push. A short stack makes little difference. As the stack size increases pulling air becomes more important.

    You could also argue the air near the floor is dryer. Cool air has less capacity to hold moisture than warm air. However in th drying closet I have another fan mixing air so I doubt there's much if any difference.
    Last edited by burns375; 08-09-2018 at 07:28 AM.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    I have a spare room that can be closed off and am able to run a dehumidifier . I run 10 frame boxes and stack them with only 7 frames in each box when I am drying them. By placing a cheap box fan on top of the stack , the 7 frames spread out allow the air to flow through better. In northeast Florida, about the time comes to harvest, the humidity is usually such that the bees will stop capping the honey. Normally around April or May the bees are able to cap without a problem when it is ready. My understanding is that the wax capping may absorb some humidity also. With this setup, my honey will usually go from about 21% to under 18% within 24-36 hours. Since I started this process, I do not have to be concerned about the honey fermenting. Works well for me. This is cheap insurance after the initial investment.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    Last year at the end of the season I was left with many frames of uncapped honey; the water level measured at 22% as I recall. I stacked the boxes filled with the frames and placed them in a way that the output end of a dehumidifier would blow the dry air through them. It worked very well and after a week or so the % water had fallen to 17-18%.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    Any hive beetle problems with leaving the honey in the frames while drying?

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    no hive beetle problems in my spare bedroom.

    That said, I read some where the SHB eggs can't hatch when the humidity is below 50%. Someone here on Beesource said that and said they never have a SHB problem in their honey house with the dehumidifier running.
    Robbin NW Florida(8A) / 14 hives / 5 Nucs / 6th Year / T {OAV & MMK}

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    Does the outside humidity drastically effect the curing time of honey?

    Two weeks my medium super had tons of nectar that they begun to cap. Yesterday i looked and i would have expected at least a few frames to be 90% capped but to my surprise none were more that 75% capped. Could the crazy humid spell (dew points above 70) we've been having here on Long Island cause a slowing in the rate at which the bees could cure the honey? I compare it to leaving a wet towel outside when the DP is above 70 vs when its in the low 60s. At 70 it seems like they'd never dry compared to a crisp 60 DP day.

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Dehumidifying honey

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeDuto View Post
    Does the outside humidity drastically effect the curing time of honey?

    Two weeks my medium super had tons of nectar that they begun to cap. Yesterday i looked and i would have expected at least a few frames to be 90% capped but to my surprise none were more that 75% capped. Could the crazy humid spell (dew points above 70) we've been having here on Long Island cause a slowing in the rate at which the bees could cure the honey? I compare it to leaving a wet towel outside when the DP is above 70 vs when its in the low 60s. At 70 it seems like they'd never dry compared to a crisp 60 DP day.
    Absolutely yes! Even blowing fan on wet honey in a garage for a week did not dry it even a bit until I ponied up and put a dehumidifier in the garage.

  21. #20
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pjigar View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BeeDuto View Post
    Does the outside humidity drastically effect the curing time of honey?

    Two weeks my medium super had tons of nectar that they begun to cap. Yesterday i looked and i would have expected at least a few frames to be 90% capped but to my surprise none were more that 75% capped. Could the crazy humid spell (dew points above 70) we've been having here on Long Island cause a slowing in the rate at which the bees could cure the honey? I compare it to leaving a wet towel outside when the DP is above 70 vs when its in the low 60s. At 70 it seems like they'd never dry compared to a crisp 60 DP day.
    Absolutely yes! Even blowing fan on wet honey in a garage for a week did not dry it even a bit until I ponied up and put a dehumidifier in the garage.
    Makes sense. Thanks for confirming. Can the honey ferment if it remains uncapped for a long time?
    Last edited by BeeDuto; 08-21-2018 at 12:47 PM.

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