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Author Topic: Drying honey  (Read 476 times)

Offline Beeboy01

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Drying honey
« on: June 11, 2018, 10:15:37 am »
Pulled some boxes over the weekend and ended up with three shallows full of capped comb. Just for the heck of it I checked the moisture content of the honey in different frames. I was a bit surprised at the difference, some came in at 18% while others were as high as 21%. I've set them up in a small air tight room with a fan and dehumidifier to dry out over the next two or three days. Going to monitor the moisture content in different frames just to see how well the setup works if it works at all.

Offline Waveeater

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2018, 03:55:14 pm »
Let us know the outcome. Good luck.

Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2018, 05:10:35 pm »
Well I checked some of the frames and the moisture content has dropped by about 1/2%. I just changed the setup by spreading the frames out in four boxes instead of three to get more air flow between then. I'm drying 24 frames and have six per box arranged with the frames directly over each other. I started with eight per box but realized no air was getting between them. I also put a much larger fan on the top of the supers to increase the airflow. The setup right now from the top down is a fan blowing out, a empty box to act as a plenum, then four boxes with six frames a piece all stacked on 2x4's for a air space under everything.
  So far it looks like the wetter honey and the dryer honey are drying at the same speed, the 18% is down to 17.5% and one frame of 20% is down to 19.5%. With the new fan and spread out frames I"m expecting the drying to go a lot quicker, hoping for at least a 1% drop every 24 hours. Going to give it another day and check again.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 05:22:36 pm »
How dry is the air you are passing over the frames?  Every time you enter the room to check you let in a ton of moisture that the dehumidifier has to remove.
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Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2018, 08:28:39 pm »
Ace, I'm only checking them twice a day and have both a dehumidifier and a window AC unit running. The room is only about 10x10 feet with an 7 foot ceiling and is pretty much air tight. It's dry in there even with twice a day checks. Moving the frames father apart and using a larger fan to draw air through the boxes is going to make a big improvement over my initial setup.

Offline Barhopper

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2018, 08:58:42 pm »
What type of refractometer are you using?

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2018, 12:24:27 am »
I?m drying 3 gallon buckets of honey using the drip method. When I started the humidity in the House was 52-54%.   My hive has been doing a lot of cooking and now it is at 44%.The heat makes the AC work more and pull out more moisture. I have dropped the honey from 19% to 18.5 and 18. Still working on the rest. It has taken more drip cycles than normal to get them down. Now that it is at 44% it is working better.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2018, 10:45:12 am »
I tried the drip method last year with 4 gallons that read 20%. I set it up in the tub in the spare bathroom but didn't have a lot of luck with it. Only dropped it down to a 19% moisture after three or four drops.  I should of set up the dehumidifier in the room but didn't. That's why I'm trying drying the honey in the frames with a fan pulling dry air around them.
   Drying the honey while still in the frames gives a large surface area, the fan gives a large air flow across them and the closed room with the dehumidifier and AC unit provides a large amount of dry air to pick up the moisture. So far it seems to be working, some of the honey drips on the top bars have dried to the point they are almost like gum drops.

Offline DuaneB

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2018, 02:49:47 pm »
Showing my new-bee-ness, what should the moisture content be?  I didn't know it needed to be at a certain level.  And, what does that do to/for the honey?

Thanks

Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2018, 03:46:03 pm »
"Showing my new-bee-ness, what should the moisture content be?  I didn't know it needed to be at a certain level.  And, what does that do to/for the honey?"
  DuaneB, the moisture content should below 18.6%, anything above that and there is a good chance the honey will ferment. A lower moisture content in honey can also keep it from crystallizing sugars out of solution.
  It's been 24 hours and I just checked the honey, so far I'm only removing 1/2 % per day even with the larger fan, I expected faster drying and will extract tomorrow instead of today.
  looks like the basic idea is good, maybe a square box made out of plywood with just the dehumifier, supers and fan would be more efficient.

Offline DuaneB

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2018, 03:43:02 pm »
What are you checking the humidity level with?

Thanks

Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2018, 07:48:03 pm »
I'm using a hand held refractometer to check the moisture content of the honey, bought it from Mann Lake a few years ago.  It's nothing special but has stayed in calibration every time I check. I don't have any way to check the humidity in the air which would be a help.
  All the frames of honey finally got down below 18%, most showed a 1 1/2 % drop with some dropping 2% so I extracted today. Ended up with about eight gallons total.

Offline Acebird

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2018, 08:25:12 pm »
How old is the dehumidifier?  It should be telling you what the room RH is.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2018, 10:47:43 pm »
Ace, I'm guessing it's at least 20 years old. Nothing high tech with any type of readout. The only control on it is a dial that goes from dry to very dry.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2018, 11:37:44 pm »
I'm using a hand held refractometer to check the moisture content of the honey, bought it from Mann Lake a few years ago.  It's nothing special but has stayed in calibration every time I check. I don't have any way to check the humidity in the air which would be a help.
  All the frames of honey finally got down below 18%, most showed a 1 1/2 % drop with some dropping 2% so I extracted today. Ended up with about eight gallons total.
Beeboy,
1 1/2% drop is great, my best with, right now, 46% room humidity, is .5% per drop with the normal being .25%. That dehumidifier is really making a big difference. 
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Acebird

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2018, 08:10:37 am »
Ace, I'm guessing it's at least 20 years old.
I think I would grab one at HD or Lowes and set the box on edge and point the dehumidifier at the bottom of the box.  You could eliminate the blower.  Also the air coming out of the dehumidifier would be the warmest and driest before it hits the frames.   An additional blower can screw up the room circulation by pushing the dry air back into the condenser side of the dehumidifier.
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2018, 06:23:45 pm »
@ beeboy and Jim

Have either one of you lost honey in the past by extracting all caped honey and not checking the mosture content? Thanks, Phillip Hall

Offline Beeboy01

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2018, 07:32:39 pm »
Ben, Yes I've lost honey due to high moisture levels. Mainly Cabbage Palm which comes in around 20% even when capped. I pulled about ten gallons once right after a week of heavy rain and it fermented in about two months. The ball jars would foam over when opened. Didn't have a refractometer at the time but I would guess it had to be at 21% moisture or higher. I've also found that bottling the honey is better than letting it sit in a bucket. The bucket seems to crystallize faster than the individual bottles. 
  Been trying different methods and so far drying in the room has worked the best.
Being able to monitor the RH of the room would be a big advantage but being on a budget makes me work with what I have on hand. I'll put a new dehumidifier on my wish list. Maybe I'll get a small one with a RH monitor and run both at the same time.

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2018, 09:05:09 pm »
@ beeboy and Jim

Have either one of you lost honey in the past by extracting all caped honey and not checking the mosture content? Thanks, Phillip Hall
I had a 5 gallon bucket of honey ferment before I got a refractmeter.
I think it is important to have one if you are dealing with a lot of honey.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Acebird

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Re: Drying honey
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2018, 09:08:03 pm »
I pulled about ten gallons once right after a week of heavy rain and it fermented in about two months.

You lost 10 gal or honey!  120 pounds, being conservative @6/lb = $720 and you can't afford a new dehumidifier?  Beeboy arithmetic is not that hard.  You paid for three dehumidifies but you still have the old one.  It is OK to make a mistake when your learning but to keep making it...
Brian Cardinal
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