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Fermented honey still on the frame, what can i do with it?


I took 3 full frames of capped honey in mid august and had them stored. i went to check on them today and notice a fermented smell. There is also a light dusting of mould on the frames.

Since i can’t extract it for human consumption, what can i do with it ? I would hate to waste 3 full frames of capped honey. Can i feed it to bees ?

Please help.


Its capped and still fermenting? I would just give it back to the bees. Strange its fermenting though.



You can try. If it really is fermenting, they won’t use it. You could use it for mead, which is just fermented honey anyway. :blush:


I though the same thing @Rmcpb, but i think it happened because i stored in an air-tight container in fear of ants getting to them.


Oh what a shame.
The best place for storedcomb for human consumption is the freezer.


Hi Ed. I don’t understand why you didn’t extract the 3 full frames of capped honey?


That’s really interesting, the fact that fully capped honey went bad in an airtight enclosure.
It must have upset the function of capping in a way.

Your honey would have been quite fine extracted stored in a jar if below 18% water content.
I will take note in my hive activity book. That kind of information is very valuable when making decisions on how you handle your frames and deal with your hives. As beginners, we need to observe and learn. We can’t always go by advice of the old timers. Evolution is in progress on so many levels.


I’m wondering perhaps if the smell is the mould…and the honey might be ok? Perhaps gently scrubbing the frames to get rid of the mould (not sure if they are wood frames) - and washing off with a hose might work, (dry them off in the wind and sun for a bit) and perhaps uncap the honey and taste a little bit? If it tastes ok couldn’t you put it back on the hive in a super? If they are Flow frames then that is a different matter I guess.


Oh Dan, really? Scrape the mould off and taste the honey with a bad smell?
But I see your point. My husband loves mould on cheese, even if it isn’t mouldy cheese. He wouldn’t throw out a comb of honey in any case.
I’m a bit of a purist. If a frame smells bad or has mould, it, or any drop of it, wouldn’t even enter my kitchen.
Really, the honey underneath may well be ok.


I am imagining only tasting a tiny bit - like a quarter of a teaspoon, and if the smell is the mould (as opposed to the honey), and goes away when the frame is washed and scrubbed, then my thinking is that the chances are that the honey is ok anyhow. I wouldn’t eat any more than a tiny bit but if it tastes ok the bees might like it. I think a photo or a bit more information would help here.
edit: I found out the other day (incredible) that mould can grow in full storage tanks of jet fuel. Apparently it is because of small quantities of water in the fuel.


Hello Ed @edmondo,
We like to save a few frames of (extra) capped honey to use for feeding or starting a new hive as we try to not use sugar water. We don’t usually wrap them in plastic, but did one year to discourage ants, which resulted in a bit of mold.

It was just fine under the caps. We used one frame for ourselves and gave the other back to the bees to clean up and use.

I would give it a try👌🏽


I suppose if the honey is in any way fermented it should not go to the bees. Perhaps it might bring on nosema or something.

Good point and thanks @BeePeeker for your observations too. It seems to me that I get mixed capped and uncapped frames to store when I try and condense the hive down - which happens for a variety of reasons. I tend to freeze anything with any honey in it and anything stored otherwise, I have the bees really clean up thoroughly. As to freezing, there is a limit to the room in the freezer and other factors, ie. the surprise element for family members finding messy honey frames in the freezer rather than frozen peas or the ice cream.


For those who do listen to the old timers, there must be uncapped portions on the frames that have fermented. Fully capped honey if stored airtight shouldn’t ferment. I would cut the uncapped sections out to add to my wax pile for processing. Then proceed to uncap & extract the rest into an empty extractor. Then see how the honey smells while extracting.

I always store frames of comb in the freezer, as @Dee & @Dan2 suggests. I fully wrap them in plastic first.

@Webclan, my mentors were all “old timers”. I learned a lot from them. One could ignore an old timer at his/her peril.


I would be tasting it myself. The outer surface of the wax would have had all sorts of debris on it and the humidity of the closed container would make for ideal conditions for mould spores to sprout. The enclosed space probably concentrated the off smells as well. The honey itself would be well preserved inside those wax cells.


This may not be important, but, are they capped Flow Frames, or wooden frames?

I also did a little search on whether beeswax could go moldy, because I was under the impression it couldn’t go moldy.
I found this:
As mentioned above beeswax never goes bad, but does get a powder called bloom on it. This usually happens when stored at cooler temperatures. A blow drier remove the bloom or just a soft rag to buff the bloom off.
Beeswax, being fairly soft and tacky has a tendency to pick up dust, dirt, fuzz etc… Wrap in plastic to keep the dust off and store in a cool place. If it is too warm the wax can become soft and the plastic will stick or become embedded in the wax.