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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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I've been beekeeping for a short time and have never encountered this situation, i.e. I pulled some of my 5 gallon buckets full of honey from the spring harvest this year and poured them into my bottling tanks. A HUGE amount of thick, almost pudding like consistency foam developed over a two day period on the top of the honey. Almost like the air bubbles do. Anyway, there was a slight smell of what I think was fermentation, but the "honey foam" tasted great. I removed the "honey foam" leaving the clean honey underneath. However, how do I keep this from happening and what caused it to happen. Also, I bottled quit a few bottles that now seem to be developing a small amount of this foam on the top of the bottles. I assume it's okay but would prefer my bottles to be clear honey. It took the bottled honey almost a week to show the slight amount of "honey foam". Am I doing something wrong?
 

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my first guess would be overspinning in the extraction process. Your extractor is whipping air into the honey as it is extracted from the comb. Sometimes the temperature of the combs when you extract them will produce more foam.

Let the honey sit longer and allow the air bubbles to come to the top. Draw off the bottom.

cchoganjr
 

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I would like a good solution for feeding the foam back to the bees.
 

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odfrank...

Come up with a compound that could be added to the foam to convert it back to O2, CO2, H2O , honey, and perhaps other organic compounds. I recommend we put Charlie on this one.

cchoganjr
 

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odfrank...

Come up with a compound that could be added to the foam to convert it back to O2, CO2, H2O , honey, and perhaps other organic compounds. I recommend we put Charlie on this one.

cchoganjr
I put my 5 gal pals over a 100w light bulb overnight inside an empty stack of supers with a lid. The foams fades away by morning without getting the honey too hot!
 

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The real thick foam comes from proteins or fats. Better look into the uncapping process for errors, different uncapping strategies leave to different contamination with wax, look at the sieve - is it fine enough to hold back the cappings and pollen? Stop extracting combs with brood (;)) or use a queen excluder to get the pollen out of the honey combs. :thumbsup:
 

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I put my 5 gal pals over a 100w light bulb overnight inside an empty stack of supers with a lid. The foams fades away by morning without getting the honey too hot!
we had a young lady bring over some bottled honey that was loaded with foam, after talking to her, she had spun the supers when it was cool, so we suspected that it was air bubbles, it also had a different yellowish color to it. she brought over here 5 gal pails and we did as charlie b. said and she bottled it just fine. a little heat solved the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I use three levels of seives - small metal, super small plastic, and nylon panty hose. I'm pretty anal and don't remember there being any brood. I'll definitely pay really, really close to the uncapping process, however, to see if we are contaminating the honey...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I had spun when it was warm but am bottling several months later and the honey is cool. I let it sit out in the sun all day to get warm and then bottle at night. I'll be trying what Charlie B suggested...
 

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Does it matter whether the light bulb is underneath the bucket or over it?
Heat rises so place the 100W bulb under your honey bucket, not too close or the plastic bottom of your bucket may get too hot. I cut down an old barbecue grill to fit inside the frame rails of a deep. I put the bulb under the grill inside the deep. I place the bucket on the grill, then encase the bucket with supers until covered. I use an inner cover on top to let some heat escape. Sometimes when it's really cold, I just use a top cover.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Follow up question. I'm going to get the moisture content checked, but I do "smell" a slight "sour" or alcohol type smell. I've never had fermentation in honey before but could it be that? How do I test? How do I fix it? The threads and posts I'm reading have me concerned that my honey may be fermenting and may end up spoiled. My bees and I worked way too hard this past year to let me screw it up...
 

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I put my 5 gal pals over a 100w light bulb overnight inside an empty stack of supers with a lid. The foams fades away by morning without getting the honey too hot!
Charlie...there is no hope for you ever having five gal pals, and putting them over a 100w bulb overnight is in my opinion, a waste of their attributes.
 

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Follow up question..
You might try sealing the bucket with saran wrap and see if the wrap swells. To test you have to measure the moisture content with a refractometer, available from the bee suppliers or wine/beer maker friend. A wine smell is an indication of fermentation. I have had it several times leaving honey on the hives in winter. Some honey is just high in moisture, or too high if taken off uncapped. I don't think there is a fix other than using the honey for another purpose.
 

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Charlie...there is no hope for you ever having five gal pals, and putting them over a 100w bulb overnight is in my opinion, a waste of their attributes.
You're a perv! :eek:
 

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Another follow-up question:

When you extracted your honey earlier in the spring, was all the comb capped or did you fudge and extract nectar?
 
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