What did you do in the bee yard today? October 5, 2013

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At last, all the honey is off my hives and extracted!  While I am incredibly grateful to my bees for the surplus honey they allow me to steal, I must confess that extraction is not my favorite part of beekeeping.  The capped honey came off at a higher moisture content than the spring harvest–18% compared to 16% earlier in the season, and just a little higher than the National Honey Board’s recommendation of 17.1%.  A bit of hunting around the internet revealed a wide range of moisture levels reported in capped honey.  Bee Source has an interesting explanation of honey composition, and the related threads make for even more fascinating reading. (A note for the curious: the USDA Honey Standards can be found on the Oregon Master Beekeeper site as the government shut down prevents viewing the official version.)  Because of honey’s hygroscopic nature–it can lose or absorb moisture even through the wax capping–and differences in floral sources and local relative humidity, capped honey can have a moisture content range from 15% to 25%.  It seems I may have a little drying to do…

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