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What do I do with crystalised honey in supers?

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The Riviera Kid 

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Possibly as a result of my colony not having a laying queen in for so long something has gone very wrong in my supers. The honey has crystalised (implying that it is drying out) but the bees haven't capped it. See attached picture.

In the end I decided to take it off to salvage some of it at least. well it's proving a night mare to get out!! been at it 2 hours with just one super and have come to the conclusion that i am :beatdeadhorse5:


there was one "normal" comb in the super that emptied in just a few minutes in the extractor - which I assume is how it's *supposed* to be.

so what to do with the kilos of honey in the frames? I have spun and spun them - to the point where a couple of them have started to disintegrate :(

I guess that I could simply cut these combs out of the frame and put them in with the cappings, heat gently and get *some* honey off them.

or could i give the honey back to the bees? if i put the supers under the brood box with another queen excluder on top (so brood box has an excluder above and below) then would the workers eat all the crystalised honey or at least move it up into the brood box? or would this encourage robbing??

I am grateful for any suggestions...
 

MuswellMetro 

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Possibly as a result of my colony not having a laying queen in for so long something has gone very wrong in my supers. The honey has crystalised (implying that it is drying out) but the bees haven't capped it. See attached picture.

In the end I decided to take it off to salvage some of it at least. well it's proving a night mare to get out!! been at it 2 hours with just one super and have come to the conclusion that i am :beatdeadhorse5:


there was one "normal" comb in the super that emptied in just a few minutes in the extractor - which I assume is how it's *supposed* to be.

so what to do with the kilos of honey in the frames? I have spun and spun them - to the point where a couple of them have started to disintegrate :(

I guess that I could simply cut these combs out of the frame and put them in with the cappings, heat gently and get *some* honey off them.

or could i give the honey back to the bees? if i put the supers under the brood box with another queen excluder on top (so brood box has an excluder above and below) then would the workers eat all the crystalised honey or at least move it up into the brood box? or would this encourage robbing??

I am grateful for any suggestions...

Ahhhh! the joys of oil seed rape honey, better than concrete

well yes you can heat extract it, but it will set like rock again, unless you whisk it , i'll let other tell you how

i feed mine to the bees in march above the crown board with water a feeder

but other will no doubt have different solutions
 

The Riviera Kid 

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yeah as Muswell said, rape honey, sometimes the bees wont even have it back lol its that hard
thanks for the help. yes, it's mostly rape - the colony sat about 6 foot from a huge field of the stuff!!

I have concluded that there is so little honey coming off that we will use a bit of it to eat over the next few weeks and the rest will go into mead. at least that is one way to use it where it doesn't matter about its concrete-like properties!

I may well resort to heat extraction. i have been spinning the frames for hours and some have started to fall to bits anyway... :(
 

Midland Beek 

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Scrape back to midrib and put scrapings in with your honey at the bottom of the extractor. Liquify the whole lot in plastic bucket in oven.

Or melt the scrapings using a heated uncapping tray.
 

MuswellMetro 

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Scrape back to midrib and put scrapings in with your honey at the bottom of the extractor. Liquify the whole lot in plastic bucket in oven.

Or melt the scrapings using a heated uncapping tray.

Will it still taste of Cabbage?,

i hate OSR Honey's taste, Moved my hives 2miles from Winter sown OSR and the Girls still found some spring sown OSR, but it didn't set as it was mixed with other forage
 

Arfermo 

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Riviera Kid,

Quite clearly your bees have taken advantage in the early part of the season of the masses of Oilseed Rape that is available for foraging at a time when there is little else and which you didn't remove from the hive(s). OSR is notorious for crystallising and for that reason needs to be removed from the hive very soon after the rape crop has finished flowering - or even mid OSR period if the flow is large, possibly even if the comb is not quite fully capped.

Personally, during the OSR period I don't wait for full supers to do this. I remove individual frames during inspections as and when I consider them ready for extraction. I even pinch the odd frame from the brood box if there is minimal brood or pollen in it and capping is more or less complete. As I remove each frame I gently brush the bees off it and put the frames, one by one, into an empty super until it is full and then another until I have taken all that is justified. As I am doing it I put a lid on top of the topmost super of frames that were removed to limit access for flying bees who will otherwise join them. As I remove frames, I replace them with other frames, some previously extracted if I have any. This modus operandi has the added advantage of keeping the bees busy repairing and replenishing the replacement comb at a time when they are often thinking of swarming. Takes their mind off it to a degree!!! Having got the frames out of the hive, early extraction is essential and any crystallisation after that can be controlled in whatever way you wish of the many that exist.
Hope this helps - for next year? In the meantime, only heating the "frozen" comb that you now have will remove the honey but you lose the foundation too probably.

Arfermo
 

oliver90owner 

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For the new beeks.

Bees will not necessarily cap ripe honey if the combs are not full when the flow ceases.

That does not preclude removal and extraction, which should be carried out soon after the OSR has gone over. Ripe honey does not 'dry out', it will increase in moisture if anything. The 'shake test' is usual when OSR honey is on the hive for any uncapped frames at the time of removal.

If the honey does not extract in a couple of minutes, turning at full speed, you are wasting your time and effort. Feed it back to the bees, or scrape to the foundation and separate (as long as frames have not been used for brooding).

Regards, RAB
 

Ely 

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How do you seperate? I have a super full of crystalised Ivy honey. Do you melt the honey along with the wax? Would the wax rest on top to be scraped away?
 

oliver90owner 

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Wax floats on water and honey is a third more dense than water.

Melting wax means over 62 Celsius. So if separating it as a hardened disc of wax, on cooling, the honey is already ruined.

If heated enough to just melt the honey, I would think filtering is going to be slow - needs coarse sieving, followed by finer sieving and then filtering, or allow to cool and take off the surface 'mush' of wax and honey. Some harvest their honey by shredding the comb and separating the honey. Hanging it (wax/honey mush) over a bucket in a muslin cloth and waiting is easy enough, I suppose, for a few frames - but a whole super?

I would seriously consider feeding it to some bees (nucs, or as autumn feed for colonies) as ivy honey is not the most popular, it seems.

I have never ever bothered to try to recover crystallised honey myself. I have always left it for the bees. At least I get the comb back for later use!
 

Ely 

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Yeh, decided it is a massive waste of time. Thinking about feeding to two hives in a month or so with some water in a feeder. Salvage the frames. What do you reckon?

Where I live in the countryside I am surrounded by woodland with trees covered in Ivy. At the end of summer the Ivy honey is unavoidable. Do you know the best way of harvesting? Would it be like osr, take a frame out as soon as it is capped, replace with fresh one and extract straight away? Surely that would mean too frequent inspections? Unless just checking the supers and not brood box does no harm more than once a week?
 
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Finman 

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You are serious with your crystalls?

You spray a water mist over crystalls and bees will clean then in couple of days.
 

Ely 

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In summer time? From one super to another? Would they reliquidise?
 

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