July rainfall + nectar

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Jimmy

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Saw this in a couple of places over the weekend and it helped to explain my impression of the main summer flow in my area - ie there was no soil moisture to allow the plants to produce copious nectar

rainfall-anomaly-july-2016.png


Forage available within range of my hives is lime/clover/blackberry/privet. Supers have filled but the better weather came too late for lime and whilst the bees were very active in the 2nd-3rd week of July there was no exceptional filling of supers. I've read with jealousy the reports of supers being filled in 3-4 days elsewhere - it wasn't happening here. My pre-harvest assessment is that most of my honey producing hives average 2 full supers equivalent, or at least they are before the bees evaporate all the moisture/consume it all in this week's mixed weather/get robbed out by wasps.
 
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So west is best and I was thinking our dryer east would suit bees better how wrong was I....no wonder supers aren't filling quick
 
Trouble is in my part of Devon/Cornwall border that the bees bring in the nectar and then it rains and everything gets eaten before it has been ripened.

Weather is driving us nuts, the other day the met office gave us less than 5 % chance of rain and it rained ALL day.

Honey flow is coming to an end at our home apiary, there is still clover but it isn't a great forecast. I even looked up an old thread is desperation about how to reduce the moisture level in honey because they are eating it a lot quicker than capping it, and strong colonies can eat a lot of honey in a wet week.
 
Thanks Hivemaker, it was your info I was looking at, however I do not think my skills are up to building one myself'

The apiaries that we have close to the Tamar tend to have a late flow of himalayan balsam, but the home apiary is not close enough. SWMBO has spotted a couple of fields that are white with clover and is going to chat up the farmer's to see if we can move some hives there for a couple of weeks to try and finish off supers. One of the farmers told her years ago though that he wasn't fussed on bees 'because they have hot tails!'

I took a couple of uncapped supers off a hive and am using a dehumidifier to try and drop the moisture content of the honey. I am checking with a refractometer, it is working, albeit slowly.

What do you use HM, have you built a honey drier and do you get better weather your side of Exmoor?
 
Buy yourself a honey drier... or better still, and way cheaper, build one yourself.

I understand there are a lot available in china. It seems the Chinese are keen to harvest unripe honey and evaporate all the water off before exporting it through an intermediary (eastern block country).
 
I understand there are a lot available in china. It seems the Chinese are keen to harvest unripe honey and evaporate all the water off before exporting it through an intermediary (eastern block country).

Of course! that way you get another batch of syrup into the hives for them to process!!
 
Wow those are expensive. How much did it cost to build your own?

Not counting the time involved and many of the parts I already had kicking around, about £300 for the bits and pieces I had to buy.

Have just had it running for five hours with 200kg of honey with a starting moisture content of 22%... it is now down to 16%, this can now be mixed with another 200kg of honey at 20% to end up with 400kg at 18%.
 
Hivemaker, that is very impressive. We are definitely going to have to try and get one.

I know this thread is about honey, but do you use any type of wax extractor. We have a solar wax extractor, but due to the lack of sun we have buckets of wild comb building up again and we will have cappings. The beeswax is valuable to us as I sell candles and polish and swmbo has perfected lip balms and will be working on hand creams over winter. SWMBO wants the beeswax from the cappings, everything else for candles, and polish.
 
Wally Shaw's method of reducing water content

in the August edition of the BBKA News, Wally Shaw wrote an excellent article on Extracting and Bottling Honey (page 280).

His advice is:-

Fortunately, it is very easy to apply supplementary drying after the honey has been removed from the hive if it is still in the combs with a large (vertical) surface area for gaseous exchange. We use a small conservatory and a low capacity dehumidifier, costing just under £100 and power consumption 210W, to dry any unsealed honey that has a high water content. The dehumidifier easily maintains the relative humidity (RH) below 50% in an well-sealed room. The equilibrium water content of honey at this RH of 50% is 15.9%, which is probably lower than can be achieved direct from the hive even in the driest parts of Britain. We find that 7 days of drying with good air circulation around the boxes of combs is sufficient to reduce the water content from 19-22% down to 17.0 - 17.5%. Temperature has a major influence on the rate of drying and something around 25°C is ideal. The yield of water in the dehumidifier is a good guide as to progress and it falls off rapidly as the drying process is nearing completion.

I hope this is helpful to those of you struggling with semi-capped supers.

I have the same problem and ordered a refractometer off Ebay. Unfortunately, I did not read the small print closely enough and ended up with a brewing refractometer. Fortunately for me, there was enough ambiguity in the wording of the Ebay listing for me to get a refund (plus they did not want the wrong one returned) and I have now ordered the correct one (58 - 90% Brix) - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/151888204259?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT.

I have the association's local group extractor ready to go as soon as I can take off and check the water content of the honey.

CVB
 
I have the same problem and ordered a refractometer off Ebay. Unfortunately, I did not read the small print closely enough and ended up with a brewing refractometer. Fortunately for me, there was enough ambiguity in the wording of the Ebay listing for me to get a refund (plus they did not want the wrong one returned) and I have now ordered the correct one (58 - 90% Brix) - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/151888204259?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT.


CVB

CVB I followed you to one of these refractometers. Can you work out how to calibrate it? They say with distilled water but I canot get that to roll and it makes no sense.
 
CVB I followed you to one of these refractometers. Can you work out how to calibrate it? They say with distilled water but I canot get that to roll and it makes no sense.

Use medicinal liquid paraffin, this should calibrate to 24.5% on the water scale.
 
CVB I followed you to one of these refractometers. Can you work out how to calibrate it? They say with distilled water but I canot get that to roll and it makes no sense.

Sorry for the late response - missed your post in the excitement of preparing for my first ever solo honey extraction. When I received my refractor instrument, I followed advice on here not to s*d about with it so I just put some olive oil in a sample bottle and tested it as my standard - it was 71°Brix. I can go back an check the refractometer against this whenever I feel the need.

I did the above on the assumption the instrument it was calibrated on leaving the factory in China but I might do a check using HM's suggestion of medicinal liquid paraffin at 24.5% water content.

CVB
 
Just to update, we have been using the 'Wally Shaw' method and it has worked. The biggest problem we have had is keeping the bees out! Using a couple of fans has created a lovely honey smell when you open the door, and we went out the other day only to find a couple of dozen bees in the room and hordes of robber bees surrounding the house. We have now made sure there are no tiny gaps and have taped a sheet of plastic over the door as an added precaution.

Although this method has worked we are definitely going to have to get a honey drier just so we do not have the uncertainty and stress over the honey crop. Hopefully next year will have a 'La Nina' weather system in play and it will be plain sailing for beeks (yeah, right).
 
in the August edition of the BBKA News, Wally Shaw wrote an excellent article on Extracting and Bottling Honey (page 280).

His advice is:-

Fortunately, it is very easy to apply supplementary drying after the honey has been removed from the hive if it is still in the combs with a large (vertical) surface area for gaseous exchange. We use a small conservatory and a low capacity dehumidifier, costing just under £100 and power consumption 210W, to dry any unsealed honey that has a high water content. The dehumidifier easily maintains the relative humidity (RH) below 50% in an well-sealed room. The equilibrium water content of honey at this RH of 50% is 15.9%, which is probably lower than can be achieved direct from the hive even in the driest parts of Britain. We find that 7 days of drying with good air circulation around the boxes of combs is sufficient to reduce the water content from 19-22% down to 17.0 - 17.5%. Temperature has a major influence on the rate of drying and something around 25°C is ideal. The yield of water in the dehumidifier is a good guide as to progress and it falls off rapidly as the drying process is nearing completion.

I hope this is helpful to those of you struggling with semi-capped supers.



CVB

Hey CVB, thank you so much for this. Don't read BBKA news as not a member. Perhaps this is the most useful article it has produced ever!
 

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