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Dark Comb Honey


#1

One of my favorite parts of beekeeping is having a steady supply of comb honey for my toast every morning.

This summer I was inspecting hives and came across a freshly drawn foundationless frame with nearly black honey throughout 75% of it. Honey this dark is very uncommon for me, so I had to steal this one! It has an incredibly delicious flavor that seems familiar, and I’m still trying to put my finger on.

I’ve also put out feelers to other local beeks to see if they have any idea what plant produces such dark honey in our area (Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada). The only one I know of is buckwheat, but it isn’t generally found in the wild, just used as a farm crop and there are very few active farms around my area.

On the top view of the comb the comb is so dark it looks like an old dirty comb, but is indeed fresh wax that looks dark because it is wet capped (no air under the capping).


#2

Cool. I wish I could produce cut comb like that. The sections with the dry cappings look stunning.


#3

why cant you Dee? season too short? I made good cut comb last season using shallow (ideal supers) with starter strips. I did find I could only reliably do it earlier in the season- in spring. Mostly they drew perfect comb- there was some bridging and cross comb and I squashed those parts in a press.

@sbaillie no idea what you have there- but part of the reason it looks darker is it is ‘wet capped’ and the rest ‘dry capped’. Though its clearly also very dark honey. Here in Australia I get light amber honey in the suburbs- but darker honey from Gum trees in the hills. Not as dark as yours though. However my dark honey was capped ‘dry’ so it looks white on the surface and dark on the sides:


#4

Most of my colonies produce dry capped honey, this one is markedly different than the rest. The combs on my crazy successful double deep horizontal colonies produced tons of excess comb honey for me this year, all beautiful white combs.


#5

The wet caps let the color show through very dark. You can see the difference in those sections where a couple of cells were dry capped.

Still trying to figure out where it comes from. Had a few suggest sumac, and I do have a lot of Staghorn Sumac around. Other suggestion was horse chestnut which is planted as an ornamental tree, haven’t seen any around, but I’ll need to keep my eyes peeled as I drive by my neighbours.


#6

Sweet chestnut tree nectar also makes a dark, slightly smoky and spicy honey, if sweet chestnuts are grown in your region. :wink: We visit France a lot, and the French love that honey (Miel de Chataignier) and of course they love the chestnuts (marrons), so I wouldn’t be surprised if they planted a lot of those trees in the more French areas of Canada. :blush:


#7

No I meant the dark stuff.
I have two supers of cut comb in the freezer from this year. 100 pieces.


#8

Yes and stupidly I meant wet cappings :face_with_hand_over_mouth:
I think cut comb looks much better with dry caps but I must admit if the honey is that dark the wet caps are far superior


#9

That is very nice looking stuff.

My bees produced some this year and most of it was purchased by a chef.

Edit: Each piece weighs slightly over a pound and is sells easily for $20.


#10

shhh… don’t tell everyone :wink:


#11

I love comb honey on my toast! And I love getting the bees to make it.


#12

I love the boxes. Where do you get them from?


#13

I got mine from Brushy Mountain. They have shrink wrap to fit too. They actually look a lot better than the catalog photo. Expensive though:

Kelley has them cheaper:

So if 2 major suppliers have them here in the US, I bet somebody in the UK has them too. I checked and Mann Lake does not sell that type. :wink:


#14

I get mine from a local plastic container supplier. Wholesale company in NZ. Cost about 60c. That’s about US40c and 20p sterling!!

I live in paradise.


#15

One of my son’s beach hives made a patch of near black honey, right in the middle of one frame, covering about 1/3 of the frame. No idea where it came from, but was yummier than the surrounding winter honey. He mixed it with the other honey, so I didn’t have a chance to really analyze it.


#16

Hiya Webclan, I was at the markets last weekend and there was some sump oil looking honey and they said it was bottle brush honey. Probably the worst looking honey I’ve seen!


#17

Must have been brushes from cleaning bottles of sump oil, then! :rofl:


#18

I found the boxes from blue sky bee supply, my local supplier also carries them but was out of stock.

My only complaint is I’d like to get some thicker than 1 3/8" as I prefer comb honey thicker. My bees will happily make 1 1/2" thick comb honey for me.


#19

Must Italians who like a big heap of food then! :blush: Only kidding. Most bees will draw deeper comb if you re-space the frames slightly. It is just a balance between getting slightly deeper comb, or spacing too far, and suddenly finding a frame with big islands of bridge comb all over the surface. Very frustrating!