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Harvesting Uncapped Frames?

1122 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Western
Hello all, after having my first nuc hive swarm, then later having them combined with another hive, I finally have some honey in the 2 supers.

Not all frames are capped or even drawn.

There is about 5 frames capped and ready to get pulled.

There is about 8 frames partially capped and filled with honey.

Some other frames are just undrawn foundation.

Question: I want to pull the honey off next week so I can treat with Apivar.

What do I do with the uncapped honey frames?
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You cannot assume that uncapped honey isn't usable. You need to test it to determine moisture level. We have a number of uncapped frames and apparently the bees just decided to work on something else rather than cap it. The actual honey is at or below the acceptable moisture content based on testing.

That said, frames that are "unfinished" should stay with the colony(s) for winter food. Don't try and take every possible cell of honey.
The 2 deeps below the supers are loaded.

Hive weight is heavy.

Do you leave supers on for the winter if there is honey unusable?

I want to reduce the hive to 2 deeps for overwintering.
Of course, your box configuration is going to contribute to your decision as to what you leave and what you take. We don't use deeps (all mediums here) so we typically have three boxes for over-wintering each colony. But my response was primarily pointed at the consideration for whether or not to actually take un-capped honey. If the measured moisture content percentage is at or below acceptable for harvest, even if uncapped, you can harvest if you want to. If the moisture content is above the acceptable percentage, it either needs to get drier or stay with the bees somehow. I forget what that percentage is...that's Alison' bailiwick...but it came into play this week as we are about to do our extraction this coming weekend and she's been testing much of the uncapped frames specifically for this reason. A few frames were not ready, so they went in a box added to a small colony that came from a NUC created after a swarm. The other frames are slated for extraction as they have proper moisture content.
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Try this link Not certian I did this correctly but I asked the same question and there is some valuable information here.
I pulled a couple half frames as you describe, some capped, some not. Those tested at 18.5% so it took little to get the % down to 17. I did do the "shake test" and the uncapped nectar didn't run, so you may try that and leave whatever starts to drip/run.

I also run double deeps and had a couple hives that had stored and capped frames in both deeps, I took several full frames and replaced with empty's on the outside leaving the little brood areas alone, more to keep the hives from being honey bound and possibly trying to late swarm. I always check the bottom deep if the top is looking loaded.
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