Honey Super Status At Home

It's been about two weeks since I checked on the hives at home.

I was happy to see plenty of honey in the supers of both hives that began as splits this year. The two sets of supers each aren't bursting with honey, and I have to keep reminding myself they did, after all, start this year as only 5 frames of bees.

When I check for moisture content of honey in the supers I use a hand held honey refractomer.

The way to read the hand held refractormeter involves a lot of interpretation, but basically you put a drop or two of honey on the glass part of the device, close the lid and hold it up to the light. Looking through the eye piece and where the dark blue line meets the white space is the reading.

The personal interpretation comes into play because the blue line isn't always solid, sometimes its a gradient shade of blue transitioning into white.

On the right side of the picture below is the column that indicates the honey sample contains 18% water moisture. This is about where you want honey supers to be: 18% or less.

So I pulled a few frames of honey the bees were working on to check them.

The frames were uncapped and we'd had lots of rain the past few weeks and they were still bringing in fresh nectar.

The moisture reading is around 21%. These frames will have to stay in the hive and continue to dry for a while longer.

I'll check again in a week to two and see if they're ready to harvest.

Comments For This Post: (3) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Robin says...
Date:   June 4, 2013, 6:19 am

Thanks so much for this post with the pics.  I've been so curious as to what one of these looks like and how to read one.  Very useful!  

Hope you have a terrific honey harvest!

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   June 4, 2013, 9:47 am

You're welcome!
I bought mine super cheap from ebay (less than $15 new). From what I can tell it's the same product as what bigger suppliers sell for a lot more. If money were no concern I'd get a digital reader, but for my purposes, this one seems to work just fine.

Tim says...
Date:   June 7, 2013, 2:05 am

An interesting device. Takes the guess work out.

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