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Discussion Starter #1
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So if you notice the dark brown coloration of the comb and cappings on a couple of the attached images, I'm wondering what the cause of this is. I'm aware that fall honey is darker yes, however 95% of my fall comb honey still has pleasant white wax cappings, whereas this comb is dark and maybe even a little smelly. I'm wondering if perhaps its because a queen got through the excluder and raised brood in one of my shallow supers. Anyone know the reason for this brown colored comb/ cappings?
 

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Yes, it looks like brood comb to me.

Alex
 

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So if you notice the dark brown coloration of the comb and cappings on a couple of the attached images, I'm wondering what the cause of this is. I'm aware that fall honey is darker yes, however 95% of my fall comb honey still has pleasant white wax cappings, whereas this comb is dark and maybe even a little smelly. I'm wondering if perhaps its because a queen got through the excluder and raised brood in one of my shallow supers. Anyone know the reason for this brown colored comb/ cappings?
Normal.
Honey combs, just dark.
Recycled wax (later in season they get into recycling, the new wax generation is down).
I can post pics way darker than yours; about black.
NOT brood, not likely.
:)
 

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Do you have a top entrance near the super that that comb came out of?

It could be brood comb or the bees may have walked over the comb with dirty legs and left the dirt behind on the wax. I think the combination of dirt from the bees legs (from flying thru dust, landing on plants, ect) and being used as brood comb turns the wax darker. If you look at the bottom of the frames in the brood nest you may find the queen never lays in the bottom cells, but they are still dark colored from the bees walking across the frames when they first come in.
 

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If a bit smelly it might be fermenting honey in the open cells.
 

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AGFresh,

Have you eaten any of it? Is it tender or tough?

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Part of it is wet and dry cappings. Part of it is recycled wax.
Wet and dry cappings? "Dry" as in the honey isn't touching the caps? Recycled wax seems to be the cause either way so thank you all for that tidbit. Again, still debating whether it's something I would sell, but at least I know it's not something unappetizing or brood related.
 

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Wet and dry cappings? "Dry" as in the honey isn't touching the caps? Recycled wax seems to be the cause either way so thank you all for that tidbit. Again, still debating whether it's something I would sell, but at least I know it's not something unappetizing or brood related.
Yep - exactly - mix of wet and dry cappings.

I am sure it is a very fine honey.
Possibly some honeydew honey mixed in (which would make it even darker and even better for human consumption; and worse for bee consumption).
I am yet to locate my own late honeys this year, some fresh goldenrod honey wanting to taste.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I would definitely NOT sell it as cut comb. No problem with crush and strain. Cut comb needs to be on white wax that has never seen brood and needs dry cappings. It is very tender. Most of my hives produce wet cappings and I have to be selective of which hives get the foundationless cut comb medium frames.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I would definitely NOT sell it as cut comb. No problem with crush and strain. Cut comb needs to be on white wax that has never seen brood and needs dry cappings. It is very tender. Most of my hives produce wet cappings and I have to be selective of which hives get the foundationless cut comb medium frames.
Are you saying that it is hive dependant whether they produce dry or wet cappings? So a certain hive may produce mostly "dry" cappings? It's less common but it happens for whatever reason, I presume? And why are dry cappings not acceptable for cut comb honey?
 

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Are you saying that it is hive dependant whether they produce dry or wet cappings? So a certain hive may produce mostly "dry" cappings? It's less common but it happens for whatever reason, I presume? And why are dry cappings not acceptable for cut comb honey?
Technically, not a hive dependent but rather worker-bee cohort dependent.
In general - hive-dependent is close enough.

In the same hive you may have "dry cappers" and/or "wet cappers" (in various proportions as in 0% to 100%).
Factor the season particulars, place particulars, etc.
But mostly, this is about the worker cohorts in each hive.
Reality in the US.

dry cappings not acceptable for cut comb honey
On the contrary, customarily in the US the dry cappings ARE the must for comb honey.
In different countries/places, this is different.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
aha this makes sense and I'm surprised I didn't notice this before, I guess my Russian mutts (I started with certified Russians years ago), have been producing maybe 75:25 dry to wet usually in the same cell. Like most of the cell will be dry with the corner being wet. I pressed down on the brown comb and confirmed this too is dry capped. So the reason I will surmise is the wax is recycled and therefore I will feed it back to the bees since it isn't white and delicious looking. Thanks all! Also, I just noted that the brown comb doesn't stick together when you chew it up, and has a bad texture, as well as it's dark brown even after I spit it out. Definitely not all too appealing.
 

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aha this makes sence and I'm surprised I didn't notice this before, I guess my russian mutts (I started with certified russians years ago), have been producing dry capped for the most part. I pressed down on the brown comb and confirmed this too is dry capped. So the reason I will surmise is the wax is recycled and therefore I will feed it back to the bees since it isn't white and delicious looking. Thanks all!
If not in a pinch, I would NOT feed late honey back to the bees - the late honey (especially dark) pretty much guarantied to have some proportion of honey dew mixed.
A little - not an issue.
A lot - a problem.
So, that is a risk (location dependent).

If the bees are well set already, I'd rather avoid unforced issues.
One can test for the presence of the honey dew, but I never cared to do it (maybe I should and see for myself, especially granted bad diarrhea losses last winter).

Regardless, the late honeys are in demand in my household and we'd just use them ourselves.
They really are delicious and the best honeys as for me.
Mid-summer honey is to give away.

PS: the proper Russian bees will produce the mixed capping of various degrees - that is their default feature (being just local mutts imported from the Russian Far East).
 

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.... Also, I just noted that the brown comb doesn't stick together when you chew it up, and has a bad texture, as well as it's dark brown even after I spit it out. Definitely not all too appealing.
Sure.
Recycled wax; not pure anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I ought to post more to BS, I love it when I learn things that weren't even my intention. I will probably risk it this time around since I'm done with harvesting, but if I lose bees to dysentary then I will know the reason at least!
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I would keep the honey for myself and feed the bees sugar syrup. The syrup is most likely healthier for them than the dark honey. Then, process the wax to remove all the impurities and use it for whatever you want.

When you see all the crud that comes out if the wax, you will know why the texture was bad. This is the reason you use white wax comb for cut comb honey. No significant impurities.
 

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A related cut comb question. Is it okay to sell cut comb with a majority of uncapped cells? I always crush any cut comb that is not capped. Am I discarding a valuable product?
 
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