Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 46 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The girls were doing great during the early flow and I had three supers on my carniolan hive. Now that the main flow is over and the bees are back to clover and (hopefully) the sourwood trees in the area, I wanted to harvest. In looking at the 3 supers, there were only 17 frames (out of 30) that were had significant stores and NONE of them were more than 80% capped. I put the 17 down into two supers and am currently waiting for them to finish.

Other than yelling obscenities at them :waiting:, how can I get them to finish capping those frames? I'd rather not feed them, unless that's my only option. I'm hoping they'll get enough from the clover/sourwood to finish...


-bk79
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,535 Posts
There's a good chance that capped and some/many of the uncapped frames can be harvested. Only way to be sure is to borrow/buy a refactometer and test. I suspect my air humidity is lower than yours, however, when frames are 1/4 capped, honey tests less than 17%.

Personally, before I purchased a refactometer, I got caught waiting for the bees to cap the honey in order to feel safe harvesting. Ended up leaving three deeps on the hives and honey crystalized over the winter. And now, a year and a half later I am still putting crystalized frames above the inner cover. I uncap the honey, mist, and bees are slowly cleaning the frames. Gives them something to do on a rainy day. lol

So do't get caught waiting for capped honey to signal it's okay to extract.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
13,203 Posts
Feed them???? You are going to feed them so they will cap what, honey or sugar? How about waiting until they do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,055 Posts
Bees only store one variety of honey in a cell. If they are on a flow and have a lot of cells of it but run out before the cells are full, they may not cap them ever. If the frames are 80% capped and if the uncapped frames will not drip when you turn it upside down and drop and stop shake it, the honey will keep and you can go ahead and extract. Then put those wet supers right back on the hives and if there is a flow, you will be amazed how fast they will sometimes refill them.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
13,203 Posts
Bees only store one variety of honey in a cell.
How do you know that? When I put a wet frame back and it is not the right variety they would never fill it again? Or do they move it? Where? Do they test it in their lab? Will they not mix sugar syrup? How do you know all this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,535 Posts
Feed them???? You are going to feed them so they will cap what, honey or sugar? How about waiting until they do it.
Not feeding sugar syrup. Crystalized honey is still honey. If they are consuming it, fine. If they are liquifying it and moving it down, fine. They are cleaning out the comb!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
13,203 Posts
They are cleaning out the comb!
This seems pointless to me during a flow. I am surprised they would even pay attention to the frames during a flow. Wouldn't it be easier to just throw the frames on a hive in the fall that needed more honey to winter on?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
I don't make my bees do anything. If your honey is not fully capped by now it ain't never gonna get capped. And it probably doesn't need to be. Take a sample and check the moisture content. If 18.5 or less spin it out. If more leave it on the hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
Oh, great. Here I've been waiting on my honey frames to be completely capped before pulling any and now you say they probably won't be.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,750 Posts
You need a refractometer. Open honey cells can be dry as a bone. Capped cells can contain honey with a too high water content. In mass nectar flows they cap the cells too quickly. So capped cells usually is a good hint for dry honey, but usually the open cells have less than 17 % water when sitting on the hives for a long time. Just measure it.

Beside that I find an heavily insulated lid a good way to get dry honey. Also I leave the supers untouched. So the boxes are literally glued together with propolis, which preserves the warmth inside the honey supers. Keep strong hives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,535 Posts
This seems pointless to me during a flow. I am surprised they would even pay attention to the frames during a flow. Wouldn't it be easier to just throw the frames on a hive in the fall that needed more honey to winter on?
Not advisable to only have crystalized honey for winter. Without a supply of moisture, bees can starve to death. Research threads on leaving canola honey as winter stores. It crystalizes quite fast.

I have a surplus of frames with crystalized honey.

Nurse bees work the crystalized frames during a flow.

Back to the thread topic, I was just sharing my experience and problems you get yourself into waiting for the bees to cap before extracting. The mostly uncapped honey in my third deep was likely dry but and should have been extracted. There's a good chance that the OP's uncapped honey is dry enough to extract and safely store long term. However, without a refractometer it makes it difficult.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Based on what you all have said, I am likely ok to extract but won't be sure unless I get a refractometer.

Also we are still in the midst of a flow (albeit a weaker one) so why wouldn't they continue to cap?

Also if they would take sugar syrup, wouldn't they store and cap it? (not that I want that instead of clover/sourwood honey)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
361 Posts
Hate to disagree with you Beek 79, but there's no flow going on here...its been gone for a while. There's Sumac and Clover around and a little Sourwood (which never amounts to anything ) but with days in the 90's and spotty rain there is very little coming in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,055 Posts
If the honey does not come out when you do a fast stop drop shake, it is cured enough especially if you are extracting other capped honey. Another way to think about it is go to the supermarket and turn the different brands upside down and time the bubble reaching the top. That will tell you what 18% moisture looks like as they are going to sell all the water they can. See how yours compares.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,454 Posts
i try to bring in only capped honey, but invariably there are small portions of some frames that are in the process of being capped but not quite closed.

i start with the shake out test, i.e. turn the frame horizontally and give in a good shake, if what is in the open cells is so watery that i shakes out i put it back.

then when i bring it in, even if it is all capped, i allow it to 'dry' in my garage which is air conditioned and has relatively lower humidity. while in the garage, the supers are place on a floor fan turned horizontally and i move air across the supers for 48 hours. i also place a small space heater so that warm air is sucked up by the fan and with a thermometer adjust the heater so that the air coming out of the top of the supers stays at about 90 degrees.

i've thought about purchasing a small dehumidifier, but this is working consistently enough so i haven't.

i use a digital refractometer, and test each batch after extracting. the water content using comes in between 16.5 and 17.5%.

the slightly more concentrated honey is a little thicker and i think the taste is intensified a little as well, although that could be due to it staying on the palate a little longer. at any rate, the customers love it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Hate to disagree with you Beek 79, but there's no flow going on here...its been gone for a while. There's Sumac and Clover around and a little Sourwood (which never amounts to anything ) but with days in the 90's and spotty rain there is very little coming in.
So even with those sources, it's not a flow? There has to be some coming in...just not enough to add to stores?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34,542 Posts
If you have a water faucet whose tap is open and another whose tap is closed is there flow from both? Flow in beekeeping is when nectar is coming in.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
13,203 Posts
i've thought about purchasing a small dehumidifier, but this is working consistently enough so i haven't.
If your garage is air conditioned then you have a dehumidifier. The difference being that the garage is also cooled. The biggest load on an air conditioner is moisture. Once the moisture is gone lowering the temperature is easy.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,454 Posts
understood, thanks ace. it's been very rainy here in recent weeks. the last batch i harvested came in with the highest water content i've had in awhile, 17.5%. this batch had zero uncapped honey in it, but i think it may have ended up too 'wet' if i hadn't brought it in for a couple days.
 
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
Top