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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have seen in the past/current....that moisture can be brought down in uncapped honey by using a lamp for a heat source and a small fan circulation in an enclosure.

My question is, what sort a CFM air flow would be ideal and what sort of temperature range? I know a small computer fan work, but what is the CFM on something like that?


89 Posts
I do not know of any controled studies on this issue. As such I can only provide my own limited experence.

North Carolina is a bit on the humid side. Yearly harvest tends to come in at 19 to 20 % with occasional supers testing in the high 18's. This makes me concerned, however I have never had any bad experences.

I currently extract in a full basement. Under normal circumstances the relative humidity is in the range of 60%. This is to high to bring honey down to 18.6%.

The air conditioner vents are turned on to cool the basement, About 8 shallow supers are stacked, set off the floor about a foot. A small electric space heater is set on 800 watts under each stack. A cheep box fan is laid over the top of each stack pulling air upward. As such heat is inserted in the bottom and drawn over the supers. A dehumidifier is placed to keep the ambient humidity at 45 to 50%. This has been sucessful in reducing the water content of the capped and uncapped honey by about a percent every 24 hours. I take numerous readings and extract in the low 18's.

Please forgive me for the lack of very solid data, as this is only my personal experence.

Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
54,291 Posts
Carl Killion did some very scientific measurements using capped comb honey and a dehumidifier which he details in his book "Honey in the Comb"

From Carl Killion, Honey in the comb:
"Removing Moisture From Comb Honey

"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 tempera-ture, 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 removed. 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 tempera-ture 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 ½ 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 id that if excess moisture is removed from any honey the flavor is improved; if we did not originate it, we firmly believe in it.

Time Humid. Temp oF Water Removed
Aug 21 4:30 pm 66 65 (Started today)
Aug 22 8:00 am 8:00 pm 52 38 71 77 12 #
Aug 23 8:00 am 8:00 pm 33 30 84 79 13½ # (started fan)
Aug 24 8:00 am 8:00 pm 30 30 81 80 13 # (cut off extra fan)
Aug 25 8:00 am 8:00 pm 30 30 82 82 14 # (door opened for 2hrs)
Aug 26 8:00 am 8:00 pm 28 28 85 84 14 # (Humidry off til 8am 27th)
Aug 27 8:00 am 8:00 pm 48 40 75 80 5 ½ #
Aug 28 8:00 am 8:00 pm 40 38 80 80 17 #
Aug 29 8:00 am 8:00 pm 34 34 80 80 19 ½ #
Aug 30 8:00 am 8:00 pm 35 35 80 80 11 ½ #
Aug 31 8:00 am 8:00 pm 30 33 80 80 12 #
Sep 1 8:00 am 8:00 pm 33 78 7#
Sep 2 8:00 am 8:00 pm 31 32 75 72 7½ # (Humidry off)
Sep 3 8:00 am 8:00 pm 34 38 73 72 (started Humidry at 8pm)
Sep 4 8:00 am 8:00 pm 32 32 78 80
Sep 5 8:00 am 8:00 pm 34 34 80 80 21 #
Sep 6 8:00 am 8:00 pm 33 32 78 78 5 #
Sep 7 8:00 am 8:00 pm 32 32 78 77
Sep 8 8:00 am 8:00 pm 32 32 76 78 17 #
Sep 9 8:00 am 8:00 pm 28 29 64 74 8 #
Sep10 8:00 am 8:00 pm 28 28 72 74
Sep 11 8:00 am 8:00 pm 30 32 72 72 6 #
Sep 12 8:00 am 8:00 pm 32 36 74 74 7 ½ #
Sep 13 8:00 am 8:00 pm 38 30 73 74 12 #
Totals 23 days 32-av. 79+av 222½ #
Honey sample A 21.0 moisture (Aug 21)
Honey sample B 18.6 moisture (Sep 1)
Honey sample C 17.1 moisture (Sep 13)
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