Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know the FDA suggestion for moisture content. I have harvest just some of my colonies and with capped frames they are reading 18.5.. Seems to be the same every year, however, I assume the moisture content is different for different geographic areas. I did check a few uncapped frames and they were 19.5.
I use a digital meter and it is very easy and accurate. Any issues with 18.5???? I also noticed the readings will drop at least 0.5 in my heated Dadant water jacketed holding tanks.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
11,003 Posts
It is the USDA that sets standards for honey grades, not the FDA. Here is the document:
https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Extracted_Honey_Standard[1].pdf

Grade A honey can have up to 18.6% moisture. Honey with moisture exceeding 18.6% would be downgraded. Note that there are also other factors besides moisture content that affect honey grading. FYI, the table on page 11 shows the moisture content grades, but they refer to it differently:) "Percent Soluble Solids" which if you subtract the number shown from 100 tells you the allowable moisture for that grade.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
For about 9 years my capped honey is between 18.2 and 18.6. Any uncapped frames are higher. This year I will take the frames with higher moisture content (uncapped) and as I rocess set them aside and then return them to my bee yard where hopefully the bees will participate. I have no evidence but I believe that various parts of the country produce honey with specific moisture content. I have learned to check moisture content before extracting because it is much easier to deal with that problem while the frames are in a super than to try and extract moisture from liquid honey. I realize the large commercial producers have equipment to deal with the moisture content or can blend their products. Finally I have never had any problems with moisture between 18.0 and 18.6.

It is the USDA thaRadar
t sets standards for honey grades, not the FDA. Here is the document:
https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/Extracted_Honey_Standard[1].pdf

Grade A honey can have up to 18.6% moisture. Honey with moisture exceeding 18.6% would be downgraded. Note that there are also other factors besides moisture content that affect honey grading. FYI, the table on page 11 shows the moisture content grades, but they refer to it differently:) "Percent Soluble Solids" which if you subtract the number shown from 100 tells you the allowable moisture for that grade.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,683 Posts
Are you sure about the calibration of your instrument?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Yes i just checked it, and its is not the meter but rather my stupidity.. I use 9 frames and not 10. Some of the end frames are capped on one side and not on the either side, thus I am getting higher readings from those frames. The internal frames are below 18% which is fine. As I extract I will take the external frames that are not fully capped and return to a hive with the hope he bees will complete their work. I am really stupid to not have notice that the high readings are from the external frames given the years that I have been a beekeeper. Maybe its not stupidity but rather old age. Also I am not concerned about taking some frames back to the bee yard as the internal frames are really thick and I think I am producing more honey than Idid with 10 frames. Next year I am going to compare 9 to 10 frame supers.
Thanks


Are you sure about the calibration of your instrument?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
I have done everything you talk about last spring my honey was 17.5 summer 18.5 and fall(goldenrod)16.8 naturally so far this year every thing is 18.5 I have never had any go sour. the bee club tells of all the ways they pull the moisture down even to 16 im sorry but I have never get it down that low I pulled it down this year in a bucket with a dehydrator to 17 from 18.5 put a lid on it and checked it a couple days later only for it to be 18.5 again it must be Illinois humidity im trying to get show honey I don't want to cook it down
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Its Illinois politics.


I have done everything you talk about last spring my honey was 17.5 summer 18.5 and fall(goldenrod)16.8 naturally so far this year every thing is 18.5 I have never had any go sour. the bee club tells of all the ways they pull the moisture down even to 16 im sorry but I have never get it down that low I pulled it down this year in a bucket with a dehydrator to 17 from 18.5 put a lid on it and checked it a couple days later only for it to be 18.5 again it must be Illinois humidity im trying to get show honey I don't want to cook it down
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Checked moisture content on about 10 5 gallon buckets and they vary.The supers I pulled earlier were actually vey low about 17, which for me is great. The supers that I just pulled were about 18-22. Very High. I extract in my garage which I convert into honey house and when I did the checking yesterday it was very humid. I brought several buckets into my air-conditioned home and over night they dropped to below 18.6. A significant drop. I keep about 16 gallons in my Dadant storage tank and set the temp at 95 degrees. I let it sit a few days and the honey is registering about 17.2. Evidently the low heat helps to reduce the moisture by about 1 percent or more. I also learned that the supers that contained 2 or more frames of uncapped honey had substantially higher moisture than supers with no uncapped honey. I also learned not to add a frame or two of uncapped honey with frames of capped honey with the thought of blending the moisture levels. When done in small batches of 5 gallon buckets it did not work and substantially raised the moisture. It may be possible to add one frame of uncapped with every 5 or more frames of capped. A lot of work and a real pain.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,796 Posts
Revisiting an old thread because I screwed up. My meager honey harvest is a lot thinner than it was last year. So much so that it prompted me to buy a refractometer to check it. I ended up using evoo to calibrate the darn thing since the directions said to use water and the tiny bottle of some oil that came with it did not say what number to use. Anyhow, it looks like I have about 20 pint mason jars of 19.8% moisture content honey. At this point, what is the best way to get it down to 17%. I'm ready to dump them all back into a large pot and simmer. My honey is for personal use and to give to friends. Not worried about the raw natural part this year.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,870 Posts
If the honey is picking up moisture from the air you will get a high reading at the surface since that is where the lighter, high moisture honey will float.

If you bring up the temperature of the honey and expose it to drier air you will be above the temperature / humidity equilibrium and the moisture will go from the honey to the air.

These transfers take place at the surface and the density factor makes it necessary to stir the whole container regularly and certainly before doing any density tests to get anywhere near an overall representative average reading.

I dont think you will need anywhere near what is commonly referred to as "simmering". Something in the 110 - 120 F. range I think will get you there.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,908 Posts
Moisture content of honey can be a funny thing, The one time I made comb honey mostly from clover and locust after cutting the capped comb into squares I checked some of the honey that was dripping from the combs and found 20%moisture content. I did some reading on moisture content and read that some clover honey can be as high as 22% so it appears that all honeys are not equal.
Johno
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
398 Posts
It's a legit concern here in the Midwest with our balmy summers. I use a small stand-up tent to keep my frames in a low-humidity environment during processing. I've got a picture and some details here: https://www.mitecalculator.com/bee-yard-blog/2018/7/21/honey-is-thirsty

I like it because I use my basement as a makeshift "honey house," and it's much easier to control the environment in the tent than it is the whole basement/house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,818 Posts
Normally I don't have a problem with higher moisture honey but this year hasn't been normal. I built a honey warmer to decrystallize honey in smaller batches of 2-4 cases but it also works well for dropping the moisture content in the same size batches. Two thermostatically controlled light bulbs, queen excluder shelves and extra boxes; about $30-35 for electric/electronics.

Honey Warmer Front.jpg
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,796 Posts
So I'm leaning towards using my minifridge incubator as a hotbox. Take the lids off of several jars, crank up the temps and let them sit for a few days with the door slightly ajar for ventilation. Should work?

Johno, the clover honey at 22% doesn't ferment?

Edit, I just put four jars in the incubator and adjusted the heat to 105°F. I tested last years honey at 17% on the nose. Amazing what 3% more moisture does to the consistancy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,908 Posts
I dont know, when I saw capped honey reading 20% I think I googled moisture content of honey and somewhere in the story it said that clover honey could have a moisture content of up to 22 %, made no mention of fermentation. This happened about 4 years ago so I will try and find that article again.
Johno
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,500 Posts
Will interesting to hear how you make out.

I think a deep freeze is your best bet. Freeze it and keep it frozen until you are ready to use. I don't know if the glass jar will break as I have only used plastic containers such as plastic honey containers and sour cream containers.

Another option is to mix some 17% or lower moisture content honey with 18.5%.

My other experience with wet honey was placing it in large stainless steel bowls in a small room and running a dehumidifier. I thought I could take advantage of the bigger surface area to help with evaporation. The running dehumidifier warms the room somewhat and the honey started to ferment in the bowls. Some froth on top and yeast smell.

If honey is less than 1/3 to 1/2 capped, I now use the dehumidifier. Put the frames full of honey in the room for a day, if the honey is too high moisture. With uncapped honey and 30% humidity setting, the setup will remove 1-1.5% in a day.

I also mark each extraction batch with moisture content and it can be handy on occasion to know where the 16% honey is, so that I can blend with wet honey.
 

·
Super Moderator
Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
Joined
·
5,796 Posts
Early report.

The four jars of honey have been in the incubator now for about 15 hours. I pulled one jar, capped it back up and shook to homogenize the mixture. Tested at 19.5%, so there is a marked decrease in moisture already. The starting point was just a hair under 20% for these jars. The 19.8% was from an open jar I have been using. Hope this change is not due to the refractometer being calibrated at 78° and the honey being just over 100°. Thinking not since the sample would have cooled off pretty rapidly after being placed on the prism. Once I get it down to 17% I'll let the jars cool and test again.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top