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  • What to do with granulated frames?

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General Q&A, Bee chat and only Bee chat please
 #5207  by AndrewLD
 19 Nov 2019, 14:49
Over recent years I seem to have collected a load of super frames that can be split into the following groups:
1. Granulated but honey OK, from this year's harvest.
2. Granulated but honey OK (just) from previous year.
3. Granulated with both capped and uncapped honey that hadn't been finished before coming off.
4. Frames with decidedly fermented smell.

I now have a wonderful Kochstar II warmer that has been very useful and I now have a Thorne's easy-steam.
Someone suggested to me that I could could heat out group 1's honey at 40 degC bottle it and sell it. I am sceptical that the wax and honey will separate out at such a low temperature. I have only succeeded in the past by going to almost 70 degC and then the honey was "baker's honey" (I have a lot of that now!). Any advice please.

I guess group 2 honey can be heated out be used for "baker's honey" ? I don't need to sell it so I don't want to compromise my normal honey sales.

Group 3 - open to ideas but I am wary of processing it just to feed back to the bees and any mix of part finished and finished honey seems inherently risky for any human use. I already give them unfinished frames (with capped cells scraped) to deal with before autumn is out and then take the frames away with what they don't want left in them. So I am not short of stuff to give them.

Group 4 - I guess they will be first to be steamed and I can recover the wax. The "honey" is probably going to feed the bugs in my septic tank.

I have been putting this off for far too long and now I can only just squeeze into the garage ......
 #5209  by NigelP
 19 Nov 2019, 15:24
I've found by bitter experience that the wax becomes soft at around 40-45C so the combs collapse due to weight of honey.
What I would do is cut the combs out of the frames and heat at 45-50C overnight until the honey becomes runny again and then press out with a fruit press or hydropress. You lose the drawn combs but recover edible honey.
It sounds as though you have quite a lot of supers .......
 #5218  by AdamD
 22 Nov 2019, 15:12
Like Nigel, I have tried to melt the honey out - for me I put uncapped comb upside down in a warming cabinet with the hope that the honey would run out as it warmed up and the wax would therefore have little weight to carry and wouldn't collapse. However it did collapse far too often so it's not something that I would consider doing again.

This summer I had some OSR honey that wasn't extractable so I put it under a swarm once it was established in a brood box (from bottom up: closed floor/super/excluder/ entrance eke/brood box/crown board/roof). They cleared the super and used it to draw comb so after a week or so the empty super was easy to remove.
Putting stores under a brood box in this way is a good way of them using uncapped or granulated honey as bees want stores above them rather than underneath..
 #5223  by MickBBKA
 22 Nov 2019, 22:51
I had 13 supers of set honey after a weather change at the end of May. The fastest method is Nigels and works very well which is what I do. In the past if it has just been a couple of supers I put one above an eke on a strong colony with a crown board between and a small hole in it. The bees draw it down an re-liquify it so you can then extract it if you want. Another option is to just keep the frames of set comb and use to feed nucs or top up colonies for winter or spring use.

Cheers, Mick.
 #5240  by AndrewLD
 25 Nov 2019, 10:54
I thank you all for your good advice.
I am not going down the route recently recommended to me (i.e. heat out honey at 40degC and sell as honey) because I just don't believe it will work and I'll end up with a mess on my hands. Nigel, I recall you go to heather so you have the press, expertise etc but last time I tried this (with a fruit press) it was an unmitigated disaster for very little return and I thought the honey tasted waxy.
The advice on feeding swarms is something I don't do but will definitely do in future. My bait hives catch the swarms from other beekeepers in the village and so that use and technique is one I hadn't thought of - thank you again.
I regularly feed half-finished and granulated frames at the end of the flow just to encourage them to take down some stores and not get tetchy that I have stolen their honey so I know the technique of "over a coverboard with a small hole" but thanks for reminding me of it.
I am going straight for liquifying the lot in the Kochstar pouring off the wax and keeping the honey as "bakers honey". Has anyone tried to sell 2lb jars of bakers honey to the public - is there a demand? I might try it alongside my normal honey and see what happens - £5 a 2lb jar?