Is there a difference in the moisture content of capped honey and sealed honey?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping 101' started by bamabww, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    My oldest hive has a medium super of 9 frames full of sealed honey. The last swarm I caught has 9 frames of capped honey. Both have two deeps full of winter stores, etc. With it being this late in the season, will the sealed honey be capped?

    I plan on harvesting the capped honey this week and was wondering about doing the same with the sealed honey. I would appreciate your opinions / advice.
     
  2. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    How is it "sealed" if it is not capped? The only sure way to know is a refractometer. I hope you plan to leave as much food as brood so your hives do not starve over the winter.
     

  3. blueblood

    blueblood New Member

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    Wayne, I think I know what you mean. I had some frames last week where the cells were not capped with wax, 3/4 filled but passed the shake test. A film was over the honey. I figured they were just not finished filling the cell yet. I went ahead and extracted them apart from my capped frames to experiment. Heck, I had to get the supers off anyway for winter. I have been watching the honey for the last few days and I am not seeing fermentation. Its viscosity, odor and flavor is still telling me it's honey. I figured I would just feed it back if it went south.
     
  4. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    At some point bees will stop capping honey even if it is ready to be capped. Bees are very efficient and if they do not see the need to cap it (ie. it will be used) they will not bother capping it.
    If you are not selling it, the shake test is fine. If you are selling it and want the reassurance that it will not ferment, get yourself a refractometer.
     
  5. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    wayne,
    what perry and dave said.....
     
  6. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    I'll get a picture to explain it better but capped to me is a white cap over the cells of honey. Sealed is just a wax seal over the cells but it is not white. All the cells on all the frames are full of honey and sealed / covered meaning the honey won't shake out, run out or drip out regardless of which position the frame is turned. On the one hive this seal is just not white. To get the honey out of these frames I'd have to remove that outer seal with a knife or uncapping scratcher, etc. Just like I'd have to do on the white capped frames.
     
  7. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    I have seen what you are talking about in my hives, some of my hives cap honey and you can tell the cell is totally full and the honey is touching the back of the cap, some of my other hives seem to cap when the cells are only about 3/4 full so the cap stays white, both are capped honey
     
  8. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    As I understand it, you're describing "wet capped" versus "dry capped". The frosty white cappings are the result of bees leaving a tiny pocket of air between the honey and the capping. Wet cappings don't have the pocket of air. Depending on the genetic mix of your bees, they may produce one or the other, or both. My bees produced mostly dry cappings last year, and mostly wet cappings this year. Go figure.

    If what you're calling "sealed" is wet-capped, then, no, they won't go back and dry cap it later.

    Here's more info:
    http://www.honeybeesuite.com/wet-cappings-vs-dry-cappings/
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    as to the true content of this question...

    I seem to recall???? that honey (help me here Americasbeekeeper to get this detail right) takes up water from the atmosphere. So yes there would be some difference between honey sealed up with wax and cured honey in the comb but not yet sealed.
     
  10. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    Not the best picture in the world but maybe it'll help show the difference in what I'm calling capped and sealed. The first and third photo shows what I'm calling sealed. Very few white capped cells but all with honey are sealed. The second is white capped or what I'm calling capped honey. So my original question was is the sealed ready to harvest as I believe the capped is?
     

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  11. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    As I noted in my post above, what you're calling "sealed" is more commonly referred to as "wet capped". To answer your question, yes, it is ready for harvest.
     
  12. bamabww

    bamabww Active Member

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    Thanks very much for that info and the link. I appreciate that very much. I have one hive of four that has always produced wet capped honey. Now I've got to se if I can tell the difference in the bees from that hive and the others. Thanks again. I owe you.
     
  13. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I see both most of the time, never really thought of one being any different than the other. Capped is capped to me and is good to go. Refractometer will find any difference I suppose.
     
  14. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    You're welcome, and no, you don't "owe me". Just keep sharing your beekeeping experiences and we all learn new things. The willingness to share is what makes a forum like this such a great resource for learning more about bees and beekeeping.