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This morning we harvested our first frame of honey from our only hive. We took it into the kitchen to uncap with a knife and let it drain into a cake pan. It has a eucalyptus flavor which was a surprise but tasty. The issue is it is so thick it won't drain. Some of it is almost jelly-like. It is currently about 75F in the kitchen so I'll be taking it to the hot garage to warm up and hopefully drain. When the frame was removed from the hive it was warm outside but not hot yet, probably 80-ish.

Should honey be this thick? Our climate is very hot with low humidity but don't the bees cap at an optimum moisture content?
 

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65 colonies +/- mostly Langstroth mediums, a few deeps for nuc production
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The higher temp will help but honey doesn't drain freely from the comb by gravity as easily as the Internet bee gurus lead you to believe.
You will lose about a third that won't drain very possibly more.
For small harvests crush and strain is more efficient.
 

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Thanks for the reply, John.
The higher temp in the garage helped a little but the honey is very stiff. It reminded me of when my grandmother would make taffy and the way the syrup was before it set up. It took forever to get one pint scraped out of a pan and through a typical kitchen strainer. Gave up after the pint. As for the crush and strain... at this point the comb is of more value to me than the honey.

If anyone knows a cause for this I would really appreciate hearing from you. If I collect any more this year it will be interesting to see if there are different consistencies.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I suspect the honey is about the right consistency. If you do not want to do crush and strain, maybe an inexpensive 2 frame bucket extractor would be a good choice. Honey does vary in moisture content, but any honey thin enough to drain out of a comb would most likely ferment.
 

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.. at this point the comb is of more value to me than the honey.
At some point you will need to C&S if care to consume some of your honey.
Otherwise, just return the frame back to the bees.
 

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Now you know what honey extractors are for.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the responses, y'all. I was expecting a viscosity like store-bought but now I know better. Store-bought flows, mine crawls like tar. Now I know better.
 

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I'm a bit south of you and we've had hot dry weather. Bees won't cap honey cells until it's dry enough AND until the cell is full. I have honey that never got capped. I pulled it and decapped frames and other frames were open, not capped. Put them upside down into a dark blue rubbermaid tote tub with lid. Left it in the sun all day, it got over 100 today. The tub holds six frame upside down. Only half the honey came out of the frames, and I swear it's so thick it's almost like taffy, you could almost cut it with a knife. I've used this tote for dripping honey out in the past and it worked good. But that was earlier in the season before the temps got so high and the air got so dry.

This is your problem also. We've had hot dry weather and it makes the honey too thick to drip out of a frame. Even in an extractor, it has to be a hot day and extracted slowly so as not to blow out frames. Also, cappings allow 'breathing' of air to the honey. The honey can get dryer and thicker even if capped in the hot dry weather we have here. Anyone east of the Rockies and have never been to Nevada or central valley California may not get just how hot and dry it can be here.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Ray. It was obvious no one else was taking me seriously. Nice to know I wasn't crazy.
 

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Kelly,all of the responses were legit advice, and they took you seriously. This just proves that local knowledge about conditions are more valuable. Keep that in mind because you will get advice from all over the place. J
 

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Fivej and Ray. No, I appreciated all of the responses. Really. I shouldn't have said that "no one else was taking me seriously" but instead should have said that I wasn't getting my point across how thick the honey is. Ray, as I said in post #3 above and as you said in your post, it was like taffy right before it sets up. It was good to know someone else was getting something similar. Thanks everyone.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Hi KellyW, I was going to respond earlier but just got dinner on the table. The use of subjective terms like "thick" can mean different things to different people. Had you said something like "my honey is testing at 13.5% and is too thick to extract", everybody would know exactly what you meant. I am glad that Ray hopped in and provided clarification. In VA, I am lucky to get my honey below 18%. All the same, even at 18% it is not going to just run out of the frames once uncapped.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I agree, all of my terms were/are very subjective. However, not having a refractometer, never having harvested honey, and no prior experience to compare it to, all I had were "so thick it won't drain", "jelly-like" and "taffy". Again, I appreciate all the responses. Hopefully if I get a spring harvest next year it will be easier to extract and use.

FWIW, that evening I put the frame (in it's normal upright position) in the hot garage hoping to get better draining overnight. The next morning I had maybe 1/4 cup. Between the natural consistency and further drying in the warm garage it has the consistency of silly putty. I put that little bit in a separate jar and now I can turn that jar on it's side and it takes a few minutes to show any sign of flowing. :lpf: The frame went back in the hive so I hope the bees are enjoying it. I'm opening the hive up on Wednesday and will see if they have cleaned it up.
 

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I sent 3 friends in TN and Mo a 1 pound squeezer bottle of this thick honey I got here. One of the people did a moisture test on it and he said it was 14.5! So thick it doesn't want to drip out of a comb even in 100+ degree weather in a dark box, with the combs sliding off the plastic foundation before getting much honey out. I tried a bite of it, I got to chew it once before it melted thinner in my mouth!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I sent 3 friends in TN and Mo a 1 pound squeezer bottle of this thick honey I got here. One of the people did a moisture test on it and he said it was 14.5! So thick it doesn't want to drip out of a comb even in 100+ degree weather in a dark box, with the combs sliding off the plastic foundation before getting much honey out. I tried a bite of it, I got to chew it once before it melted thinner in my mouth!
I have harvested 3 additional frames since my original post and have had an opportunity to sample various parts of the frame before uncapping. The top corners (oldest honey?) is the thickest and much like I had described it earlier. The lower parts of the frame were more like I would expect it to be. I need to get a refractometer mostly out of curiosity.
 
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