September 8th, 2013


Refractometers and Making Good

I got to use a honey refractometer last night to measure the actual water content of all my honey. It was pretty impressive to find that everything's between 16% and 17.2% water, all well below the 18% to keep the honey from fermenting.

The Northern Colorado Beekeeper's Association has two of them for any member to borrow, which I thought was a wonderful thing, as they're fairly expensive and no one really needs them for a long time. I just put a few drops of honey on the sample slide, squished it, let it come to temperature, and did the reading and it was as clear as anything. Though, because it was nearly 80 degrees in the house, we had to add one percentage point of water to the readings, which are calibrated for 68 degrees.

The other very cool thing was that Corky from Ballard Bees came through with my last two long boards. I was very grateful and he was very glad I was pretty patient about the whole thing. All in all, I'm glad it worked out so that my bees never even built in the first super, but now I'll have both for next year. After the experience of harvesting from a deep, I'm sure to use the medium supers next year instead of an old deep. The frames just really don't hold up well to being moved with all that weight in them. I'm going to have to be very careful with the brood chamber while it's full of honey when I go in for inspections before the fall.

I've also sold a good deal of honey already! Lots of people, once they heard it was available, were very happy to buy what they could, especially the local people with allergies. I loved hearing about how they use it for facial masks, wound treatment, and all kinds of things. So all in all, it's been pretty good.