Honey Moisture

– Hi everybody. We’re in our hot room. And this is a stack of honey that we’ve just
harvested. We move the honey in here to make it nice
and warm so it flows well. But I wanna talk to you today about moisture
in honey and some ways to deal with it. We’ll show you how we deal with high moisture
honey. And some of these principles can be adapted
in different ways in your own locations. So the first thing we do when we harvest honey
in the fall of the year is we cross-pile the boxes. So we separate the boxes and we stack them
over in a way that the air can flow through, from top to bottom on the supers. In the fall of the year, we’re harvesting
all the boxes, whether they’re full or not. So that some of these will be only partially
full, and only partially ripe. In summer, it’s a little bit different, we’re
able to be a little bit more selective in what we take off. And the air temperature’s warmer, and the
humidity only such that we typically don’t have high moisture content in the honey. Fall’s a bit different. This is when we can have a problem with high
moisture honey. So we cross-pile the boxes to get the air
moving through. And then we are able to get that moisture
level down with the air moving through in a warm room. We have a really good sized fan here that
blows that air through these stacks, so that it moves up and through the supers. If it’s a really high moisture honey, we’ll
run a dehumidifier as well. Just looking at this box here, the outside
frames, the moisture level will be higher. We use bee escapes on our colonies so these
supers don’t have any bees in them for a day or so when we use the bee escape. If honey evaporates, or nectar evaporates
in here, some of it can condense, and it would condense more so on the outside than the inside. And the bees tend to have the honey right
through the middle anyway. So if we’re to test the moisture with a refractometer,
this would be higher than the honey in here. This could even be as high as 20% or more. And the middle might be 16 or so. What we’re shooting for is an average of 17.8%
moisture, or less. If it’s lower than that it will not ferment,
so that’s what we’re looking for. If this honey sits here for any length of
time, and that high moisture honey on outside frames, it can ferment in the box. So we’re really careful to make sure we don’t
extract frames that could have fermentation. We look for things like little bubbles in
the honey. If the honey is capped, even capped honey
can ferment. But in capped honey, you’ll see some honey
leaking out, and running down on the surface of the comb. So visually we can see fermentation, but we
can also typically smell it, and for sure taste it. So we smell, we taste, we look. And try and make sure we don’t get any frames
extracted that have fermentation. Even just a few frames can put the flavor
of the honey off. You can taste that fermentation. So I’ll just set that box down there. One way we like to do things is we’ll get
the honey down to where we think it’s good, then we’ll extract several loads in our extractor. And then test the moisture level after. That way we’re getting an average moisture
content. We can’t figure out where the moisture level
is at by testing frames, we have to extract some honey first. Once we’ve done that and the moisture level
looks good in that extracted honey, then we carry on. But if it’s not good, we pause, we run the
dehumidifier longer, we run the fans longer, and we dry that honey down. Honey that’s in the comb has a lot of surface
area to it. So any of those open cells there, and all
that surface is exposed, and it can dry down with the moving of the dry air that’s moving
through it. Once honey is extracted and it’s inside a
jar, there’s almost nothing you can do to reduce the moisture levels. You have to do it at this stage. Just a few tips that work for us. Thanks very much for watching. We’ll see you another time.


  1. So by running the fans/dehumidifier, you're able to take all that uncapped honey and bring it down to a "safe honey" level with those steps alone? No worries about extracting uncapped honey? I always play it safe by using well capped frames only, but often my bees struggle in the high humidity summers here to get it all dried and capped before close to fall.

  2. I put back a fram or to that was capped. In the freezer. Can I thaw them out and extract it.and bottle. It are not.

  3. Awesome.
    ? What do you do with a frame of honey that has fermented and you can't extract it?
    ?can you just feed it to the bees?

  4. If you do end up with honey that has soured is it all right to put it back in your bee yard and let the bees clean it up?

  5. Is it true that the Slovenian hives generally have about 2% less moisture, and what is your opinion on those hives?

  6. Is this only effecting the moisture of the uncapped honey? I take it you can not change the moisture of capped honey.

  7. Thank you to everyone for watching and supporting our videos! If you have any questions about our videos, please check out our list of FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS on our website, which can be found at http://www.uoguelph.ca/honeybee/videos-FAQs.shtml .

  8. I successfully reduced moisture in extracted honey this way: I put it in an open-topped (lidless) mason jar in my freezer. The cold evaporated significant amounts of moisture. When I took the honey out of the freezer it thawed nicely and didn’t crystallize.
    My freezer is not frost-free, if that matters. I have to empty and defrost it quarterly.

  9. I have a wild swarm of bees living in my chimney for three years already that I want to capture next spring to put them in a hive… around the beginning of April. They’ve swarmed this passed May. I was wondering what should I do in this situation? Wait for them to swarm and then catch them and transfer them to the hive or catch them in April before they swarm and then divide the two colonies into two hives? Can you please help me? I have no idea what to do. Thanks for the video! It was very very helpful!!!

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