How to Reduce Moisture Content in Honey

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Bee keepers are in the habit of keeping a watch on their hives and testing the honey that is extracted for moisture. Anything above 18 percent is considered excessive. It could result in the honey fermenting and spoiling. Honey that is ready to be extracted will need to have the moisture removed. You can do this a few ways.

Things You'll Need

  • Honey supers
  • Refractometers
  • Warm air blowers
  • Dehumidifier

Keep honey in a temperature controlled room to prevent it from absorbing more moisture once you have reduced its moisture content.

Allow the bees to cap the honey. The bees will cap the honey only when it is ripe and the moisture levels are to their satisfaction. Extract the cured honey only after the supers have been capped for best results.

Extract the honey and check for moisture levels with a refractometer when there is a honey flow, meaning when there is an excess of honey for the bees to work with. Bees don’t always cap the cured honey when there is a honey flow. Place supers in a room with a dehumidifier until the honey becomes thick to remove moisture from green honey.

Stack supers in sets of six to eight over an air vent when you have many supers to deal with. Pass warm air through the supers. The warm air should not be more than 35 degrees centigrade. You will need a day to remove 1 to 3 percent of the moisture.

Consider using commercial dehumidifiers to do the job if you have a number of honeycombs stacked in a room that is already temperature controlled.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you realize that there is a high level of moisture after you have already extracted the honey from the supers, there is really nothing much you can do. Warm air passed over the containers of honey could help to a certain extent.
  • One of the last options with honey that is already extracted is to mix it with honey that already has a low moisture level.
  • If you are extracting honey supers in the Midwestern region of the country, the bees are able to remove most of the moisture. This is because the region itself is drier and the climate aids the bees. Don’t take additional measures unless absolutely necessary.
  • Avoid storing your honey supers in places where there is excessive moisture. You have to be even more careful in humid climates.
  • A honey refractometer will not necessarily tell you the accurate level of moisture in honey. The levels tend to depend on a number of factors and the instrument will not always be able to keep track.
  • Removing honey from supers before they are capped could result in very high moisture levels and your honey will ferment and spoil.

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