that was me Peter! but thanks. This year I harvested another hive that was even a little lower than that- and in that case the capped combs had been left in the hive over a long period- at least 12 months, and I think the honey had continued to dry out after the combs were capped.
It sounds reasonable that capped honey could have moisture content lessened over time… and especially so when exposed to low environmental humidity.
I wish I had both those options…but unfortunately didn’t. The dehumidifier was removing about 2 gallons/day of water…and the moisture content dropped in the uncapped cells to 16% within 48 hours. The capped cell honey moisture level didn’t change…but likely would of if I kept the dehumidifier going…it was getting to the end of the season and in this climate, winter preparations and varroa mite controls had to be dealt with as soon as the last honey was removed.
Sorry for the mistake Jack, what you are saying sort of confirms that capped honey can continue to evaporate water if the conditions are hot and dry. I get the feeling we are in for a long hot and dry Summer here. It is hard to get rain from a cloudless sky and this is supposed to be our wet season, I even dehydrate in a ventilated suit before 10am.
In comparison to Australia, I do indeed live in a colder climate and is one of the reasons why I use a beehouse. I’ve read that a beehive can consume in excess of 50 lbs ( 23kg) of pollen during brood rearing…imagine what they must consume in honey to generate heat 356 days/year to satisfy requirements. The commercial beekeeper-accepted consumption of honey in our area for a fully populated hive was 1lb/day. So I think the building alleviates some of that demand.
It is possible that, as mentioned above, there is some reabsorption of moisture through the cell capping and eventually into the ripe honey itself…that’s a cool thought.
I wonder if it could be related in some way to the dynamics of a heavy honeyflow…bees spreading a layer of nectar over a large area…day after day…the bees not really getting caught up on lowering the moisture adequately…the cell getting full of unripe honey. We can get days here where 10-15kgs/day is normal daily production…remember we have 18 hours of sunlight.
But thanks to this discussion and my own experience with frame leakage, I can think of an experiment that I can do this coming summer to prove how much of a link there is between capped/uncapped cells and frame leakage.
You could fix it by harvesting the frames inside and having a drip tray underneath to capture the leaking honey:
When you are done, just return the frames to the hive for refilling.
This way, no bees are killed during the extraction process and you don’t set off a robbing frenzy.
Does Canada have short years, or do your bees have 9 days where they don’t need to generate heat?
Good eye Dawn…we’re not as fortunate as California…land of dreamers. My bees and myself dream too… for more than 9 days when we can finally turn down the heat!
Dawn_SD Here’s a screen shot of isotherms across North America taken about a week ago.
I’m located in that whiteish-pink area northwest of Edmonton and that morning it was only -31C with a windchill of -40C (which equals -40F)…slightly cooler than your part of the world. That pink area you see is likely as large as the continental USA…alot of fossil fuel burning environmentalists up here.
Brrrrrrr. You guys are tough.
I am bilingual in C and F - lived in the UK until about 20 years ago
“The Humidry was placed in our comb room and turned on August 21 at 4:30 p.m. The outside tempera-ture was about 85 degrees and humidity 66 per cent. There were 130 supers in the room at the time, also the chemical units which had been there for several days. These units were removed when the Humidry was turned on. A sample of honey was removed from a section to take a water content; it showed 21.0 per cent (sample A). On September 1, sample B was taken and showed 18.6 per cent; sample C taken on September 13, showed only 17.1 per cent. Here was the proof! We had removed moisture from the comb! Temperature and humidity readings were recorded twice daily during our test, water was weighted daily. From 4:30 p.m. August 21 to 8 p.m. September 13 we removed 222 ½ pounds of water from the Humidry. During this period the average temperature of the room was 79 plus F. and humidity 32 minus per cent.”–Carl Killion, Honey In the Comb, 2012 reprint, pg 99
Actually the tough ones live above the pink mass…and that land mass they live in (subarctic/artic) should be included in my reference to “large as the continental USA”.
You may chuckle when I say we are experiencing an “El Nino” winter. And weather patterns change bee patterns…sometimes with exciting results…sometimes not. The discussion on this post referenced elevated moisture content in honey…this is what grain farmers in my area were faced with this last fall. No wonder my moisture levels in honey were through the roof.
If you look closely at the wheels on the combine/tractor etc…those aren’t tires…that’s rice harvesting tracks that they use in the southern States and tropical countries…photo taken a few kilometers from one of my beeyards…not normal but they had to do this to get their crops off…
So 23 days to go from 21% to 17.1%…good to hear that it’s possible.
Michael_Bush It’s been said previously that bees may cap honey to keep moisture out of ripe honey…any thoughts on that?
It’s amazing how this topic has gone from “capped cells leaking into hive when harvesting” to moisture content of honey. Are we saying that the honey was too wet & that was what caused the leak? @Peter48 commented about flooding, I assume on his first extraction, that was during a period when honey was quite stiff on the coast here.
For what it is worth- my Mums coastal hive tends to produce thinner runny honey than my hives slightly inland- though her moisture content is usually 17 or below. She has had slightly larger leaks than I have experienced. However never anything that has caused an issue for the hive- and most times no observable leaks. the biggest leak by far was the first harvest- and that was all frames at once and fully cracked first go. It makes sense to me that thinner honey leaks more.
here we are praying for some of your cold. Australia has been roasting lately with all kinds of records getting smashed. Some towns in South Australia have had 49C days. here we have had many days around 40C. Today it’s 34C already at 10 am- and by thursday it will be 42C. However the bees seem to be coping: yesterday I inspected two hives and they had those awesome fully capped frames of brood I haven’t seen in months.
I agree Jack, that thinner honey leaks more. The situation remains that leaking/flooding does occur. I suggest to new flow hivers I come in contact with to use a setup like @Red_Hot_Chilipepper suggests, in order to avoid flooding onto the brood.
Our experience was the same as @thomasalbert. Even when we opened the frame in short increments, flooding still occurred.
we go around in circles over this issue- and I fully understand your caution and concern- and the additional issue for areas with hive beetles… But for me- the fact always remains: we have half a dozen flow hives going on 3 seasons- and leaking honey has never been a problem for us at all as far as we can tell. There has been no noticeable bee death, no queen loss- and most of the time no visible leaks.
Also- I know some people say they avoid all leaking using traditional hives- but I have honey leaks using traditional hives, albeit relatively minor ones: when I break bridge comb- when the bees have built honeycomb on the top of the frames and/or in the roof, etc. I’ve had frame slump down into a hive, frames where the top bar breaks off- cleaning up poorly set up hives, and other issues.
As things stand- for our conditions- I see no problem at all harvesting flow frames on the hive. I even am not that concerned about cracking a frame all at once if I have too.
Hi Jack, you should not be concerned about cracking a frame all at once. That’s what you’re supposed to be able to do, with peace of mind.
The “issue” keeps coming up. I’m just putting forth my theories as to why it happens. Especially in the manner of the flooding in this instance.
That is right Jeff but I didn’t do an eyeball on the frames so it might not have been fully capped, but it didn’t ferment either. Thinking back I think I cracked the frames open in 3 motions, but the honey ran down the outside of the cells. It hasn’t happened again so I put it down to human error or ‘Flow Frame 1st time flooding’. That was the end of July so the honey would have been stiff as you say mate…
When you open a Fframe out of the super without any side supports like the frames beside it in the super the frames twist, equal and opposite reaction thing the Fframes will twist, easily seen using an empty Fframe. Unless fully supported on each corner the honey leaks hold no merit in my eyes, it’s out of design parameters.
As for opening the frame in one hit as per design, well that’s another story. I can’t say my experience because I’ve not done it.
Consider myself fortunate to have viewed thomasalbert video…worth a thousand words and theories. Nice when a novice beekeeper can teach an old dog a new trick and we have the Flowhive forum to thank for being the vehicle to transport unique ideas.
thomasalbert You wrote:
Any ideas - because I am about to give up.
I view the Flowhive technology just too attractive…even with it’s imperfections…to give up. thomasalbert I hope you keep adding to this forum…I like your mindset because it goes beyond asking questions…keep up the good work!