Reliability of the shake test

Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum

Help Support Beekeeping & Apiculture Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

MrMouse

New Bee
Joined
Feb 27, 2023
Messages
64
Reaction score
34
Location
Dorset
Number of Hives
0
Hi all,
I’ve got a hive with a number of supers of spring honey on.
They’ve had access to OSR.
Flow appears to have stopped and if anything, they’ve lost some weight.
All of the supers have a reasonable amount of honey in them but they’re barely capped.
Absolutely no drops at all on a vigorous shake.
No refractometer available.
I’m keen to take this honey off (aware I’ll have to leave some/feed with a possible dearth).
However, worried about taking it ‘unripe’ as such.
Is the shake test that reliable?
Can I dry it down in an airing cupboard if it reads a bit high on a refractometer post extraction?
Thanks in advance
 
Just wait until it's capped and be certain ... unless is is definitely OSR honey in which case you do need to get it off.

But really ? .... For the price of two jars of honey you can have a refractometer delivered to your door in a couple of days ... or less if you have Prime.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=honey+...ix=honey+ref,aps,88&ref=nb_sb_ss_ts-doa-p_1_9

Just make sure you buy the Honey one ... takes all the guess work out of the shake test.
 
Thanks, there’s definitely some OSR in there for sure.
Doesn’t seem to have been any progress on the capping for the last couple of weeks despite more than enough bees. Seems a bit strange?
Some frames in lowest super being consumed rather than filled further.
 
Thanks, there’s definitely some OSR in there for sure.
Doesn’t seem to have been any progress on the capping for the last couple of weeks despite more than enough bees. Seems a bit strange?
Some frames in lowest super being consumed rather than filled further.
It's because the nectar flow has stopped.
How many supers did you have on?
 
Thanks, there’s definitely some OSR in there for sure.
Doesn’t seem to have been any progress on the capping for the last couple of weeks despite more than enough bees. Seems a bit strange?
Some frames in lowest super being consumed rather than filled further.
If it hasn't set solid two weeks after they have stored OSR nectar then it's probably a mix of OSR and other nectars .. all the more reason to invest in a refractometer.

I'm not that far up the coast from you and mine are still finding nectar - rather depends on what forage is around you - have a look around and see what's in flower around you. If there isn't anything then it may be an early 'June gap'. I tend to leave my supers on after the spring flow ... they do sometimes eat their way through some of the spring crop ... but .. I'd rather that than be feeding them sugar in June ...
 
4 supers on, 3 full of nectar/honey with the bottom one starting to lose weight. Top one partially drawn but little progress recently.

They’re next to 15 acres of meadows which are currently awash with buttercups - not seeing any yellow pollen though.
Very little in the hedgerows now as the hawthorn is going back.
 
What’s the stores like in the brood chambers, I have a couple of apiaries where the may/June gape is early and it’s probably going to last for another week or two, like you they are using some of the stores in the supers they are big colony’s so I will be leaving the supers on untill they are capped.
First extraction will be mid June by which time the flow would of started again.
I walked around one of them today and the clover and brambles are a good 10 days away even though there are lots of garden flowers I will wait untill mid June which seams to be the norm for those apiaries,
Up on high ground the hawthorn is flowering well but this weather is not consistent enough
 
4 supers on, 3 full of nectar/honey with the bottom one starting to lose weight. Top one partially drawn but little progress recently.

They’re next to 15 acres of meadows which are currently awash with buttercups - not seeing any yellow pollen though.
Very little in the hedgerows now as the hawthorn is going back.
Perhaps if you'd had two on they might have both been capped at this stage?
 
Perhaps if you'd had two on they might have both been capped at this stage?
Quite possibly. They were absolutely booming in terms of bees and I didn’t want them to swarm - this was demareed so one of the supers described is, in fact, a brood box. All part of the learning curve.
My intention of stopping them from swarming has worked so positives and negatives.
 
the bees wont touch buttercups and although for years before refractometers I relied on the shake test I tested it a couple of years back. passed the shake test with flying colours but was 21 percent on the refractometer
Thanks - did you have any issues with fermentation?
 
the bees wont touch buttercups

I think they will, but pretty much as a last resort. I'm sure I see loads of bumble bees on buttercups though. I don't know why there should be such a difference in preferences. I'm aware that some people claim buttercups are toxic, but as far as I can find out it's only the sap that is an issue, not the nectar or pollen.

James
 
Thanks all, rightly or wrongly I’ve extracted. Refractometer on its way.
Convenient day off work with not another one without plans for a good few weeks.

I may regret it when the refractometer arrives but hopefully it’ll be ok.
 

Latest posts

Back
Top