Questions with Mike Palmer
Mike Palmer Answers Your Questions
Mike Palmer keeps bees at French Hill Apiaries in St. Albans. We are grateful that he has agreed to answer questions on beekeeping in Vermont, his workload permitting.
VBA Members: Ask Mike your question with this form. (Requires you to login to the site.) We'll post the best questions and answers here as regularly as possible. (Personal responses to questions will not be possible.)
Peter Hadeka writes:
Hi Mike, I just opened my hives with the intent of extracting the supers. There is a lot of uncapped honey as well as some capped. How long should I wait to check again and see if they have fully capped the frames? Is this normal and will they cap the honey fairly soon ???
Having honey supers left on the hive, that aren't fully capped at the end of the season is very common. The flow ended before the bees could finish, so some remains uncapped. I doubt they will finish it at this point, as there's nothing left for the bees to work but some aster. Just because the combs aren't entirely capped, doesn't mean what's there hasn't been ripened.
Hold a frame of the uncapped honey sideways and try to shake out what is there. Does any shake out? Scoop some of the uncapped honey from the comb, and place it between your lips and tongue. Does it feel thick?
If it doesn't shake out, and feels thick, it's alright to extract. Of course, you could always use a refractometer to check the moisture content. Properly ripened honey should have a moisture content below 18.6%