April 4, 2019
e94cf964b50b01e084357fffe422307d.jpg

First of the process of extracting honey from the honeycomb is not as simple as someone might think. Surprisingly each processing step from initial extraction to packaging of the final product is the answer to peculiar problems concerning the physio-chemical and biological features of different honeys. The steps in making a commercialized honey product includes initial extraction, dehumidification, liquefaction and mixture, pasteurization crystallization and final packing.

Crystallization

This is the most important physical feature for the characterization of honeys by commercial view point. it involves formation of glucose monohydrate crystals in different quantity, shape and agreement depending on processing conditions. A larger processing time results in more voluminous crystals. Crystallization depends composition. the lower the amount of water content then the higher amount of glucose the therefore the higher tendency to crystallize.

Crystallization is very suspicious to consumers. Extracted honey tends to be made of a lot of various sugars and there fore this tend to be released in the water.

What factors influence crystallization?

  1. Amount of glucose and fructose.
  2. Possible impurities.
  3. Presence of adequate condensation nuclei, including single glucose crystals, dust, pollen grains, air microbubbles.
  4. Speed and type of crystallization influenced by a number of condensation nuclei.
  5. Temperature (5-25c)
  6. Hedonistic preference of target market.

Methods of Crystallization

Method 1

This involves mixing honey with completely crystallized honey in varying proportions depending on temp and viscosity. (9:1). Honey with a lot of moisture content needs to be crystallized after pasteurization at 65C for 5-10min. the optimal temperature is between 24-28C to favour honey without incorporating airbubble. the disadvantage is that there will be a formation of a whitish outcrop of the surface because of water evaporation and drying of glucose crystals to appear white. Separate honey crystals and concomitant. Then introduce it into drums and placed it in hot chambers at 28-30 before wrapping. This will solve the problem.

Method 2

Honey is passed in a homogenizer with the aim of separating crystals and introduce it into jars or it is passed from hot rooms to the packing step.

Types of honey crystallization

Bad crystallization

Long processing time produces angular, rough or sharp crystals.

Compact crystallization

A result of a very quick process, especially with honey of a high glucose/water ratio. It presents as stains retractions, namely white veins on the walls of vessels in correspondence to air bubbles. avoid this by heating honey at 30C for 24-48hrs.

Burden Crystallization

Occurs in honey with high humidity degree or with those kept at high temperatures in storage for long. Crystals precipitate at the bottom, while a solid surface is obtained instead of a liquid one.


April 1, 2019
fe5a35d1b01a43f9525af9df1ab47ccd.jpg

Honey bees are able to fly as far as 5Km to get water. Though this is a show of some amazing fly power, they prefer to have access to water at closer distances.Bees need the water to dilute the crystalline and thin honey that has become thick and viscous. They also like to use the water to cool off when the weather gets too hot. They spread droplets of water along the edges of brood comb, and then fan the comb with their wings. The rapid fanning sets up air currents that evaporate the water and cools the nest to the right temperature for raising baby bees.Honey bees make an average of 50 to 100 trips a day for water during hot weather so you have to give them as much assistance as possible during such times. The best distance for an apiary should be one that is about 300 feet within the vicinity of a natural water source such as a pond or creek.

It’s best if you help the bees find the water source easily. Bees find their water sources through scent and not through sight; at least thats what most biologists believe. Adding a bit of unscented chlorine or salt to the water source you are creating goes a long way because the bees are more attracted to it. When you create the water source remember to put up floats for the bees, so as to prevent them from drowning. The bees just need a little of the water,  but if they lean in too far they might fall in and drown or get wet. The thing about getting wet is that the bees could easily freeze to death. Placing a PVC float in your water source is a good way of protecting your bees from drowning. Obviously the float remains on top of the surface of the water, but it also has a wire mesh where the bees can rest on top. For a more economic and cost effective solution, aside from a PVC float one can also cut up sizeable pieces of sponge and allow then to float on top of the water source as a landing point for the bees too. The only problem with this is that the sponges get saturated with water and sink to the bottom. Another cost effective method is to go right into your kitchen and get those flat saucer plates, fill them with small rocks and add water to it. the rocks will act as landing points for the bees.

If you’d like the bees to have a water source in the hives you can place a division board feeder with a cap and ladder system filled with water inside the hive. This method is a good idea especially if you happen to have animals on your farm. Most farmers face an issue with bees dominating the water troughs they have placed for their animals to drink from. This can be particularly frustrating for your animals which could get stung in the process, try to escape and end up injuring themselves in the frenzy. These methods will definitely make your bees happier and they’ll be sure to thank you for it.

 


March 18, 2019
tumblr_plaq16IDj31tseit3_540.gif

In the previous article we talked about what robbing is and how to prevent it from  happening to your colonies. Acting like it’s not going to happen to you is probably not a good idea. At Huchi capital we recommend a good dose of anti-robbing techniques. This can help you identify and curb it before it starts. Down below are a few strategies that might be effective, take a look!

  • Always be vigilant on the type of bees you keep. The Italian bees rob more often than other subspecies so you should keep a watchful eye for them.
  • Hives that are queenless are vulnerable and more prone to being robbed. Try as much as you can to have your hives queenright as the dry season approaches/robbing season. This can also be in the summer.
  • Because small or weak hives are prime targets for robbing and therefore vulnerable, you should consider combining your small hives before a nectar dearth (shortage of nectar).
  • Robbing screens allow the resident bees to get in and out while discouraging the robbers. These are  especially valuable for use on weaker hives that you do not want to combine.
  • When you start to notice signs of less nectar it is time to reduce size of entrances. This allows bees to be able to successfully defend their hive especially if they have a large enough population and a small enough entrance
  • The Boardman honey bee feeder is a quick and easy entrance feeder for both wooden and Beemax hives. However, entrance feeders promote robbing more than other feeders. This could be because the food source is so near the hive opening.

March 18, 2019
giphy.gif

Robbing is when the bees, especially foraging bees invade and steal honey/nectar from other colonies or sugar/corn syrup from feeders used to deliver syrup to other colonies. A robbing frenzy is when multiple colonies “rob” simultaneously. It is common during a robbing frenzy to see colonies robbing other colonies and being robbed at the same time. Stopping robbing has got to be one of the most hectic beekeeping activities that every bee keeper has to undergo. These are some of the methods you can use to prevent and control a robbing frenzy.

How to prevent Robbing.

  • Remove any excess supers or honey that the bees in colony are unable to protect.Equalize colonies (i.e. take steps to make them similar in strength).
  • Move weaker colonies to another location.
  • Avoid dripping syrup, nectar, or honey on the outside surfaces of or the ground around hives.
  • Work with your colonies later in the day to reduce the amount of daylight hours bees have to rob. They have a curfew.
  • When feeding colonies, always keep external feeder surfaces free of syrup and clean up any syrup spills. This is so as not to attract the bees.
  • Do not leave wax, honey debris, or combs exposed in the apiary.

Controlling a “Robbery” in the act.

There so many better decisions that we as farmers can make when we realize that a robbing is happening to our bees. Using chemical repellents at the entrance of a hive to keep robbing bees away is not one of them. Though the robbing bees may be repelled, bees living in the hive may as well be forced to leave their homes; your hives your… I think we can all see where this is going.

  • Smoking causes cancer and definitely does not stop robbing, but it can buy you some time to close up the hive.  So grab that smoker, and smoke those bees! This should slow down activity around the hive.
  • You can place a water saturated towel over the hive to confuse the robbers. They’ll think its time bath time.  Just kidding. However, the residents of the hive will not be confused by this blanket and can come and go from underneath the towel as they please. Also the evaporation from the towel will keep the hive cool.
  • Eliminate the stimulus. Bees are attracted to sticky, sugary substances. Remove easy-to-access honey, sugar syrup, refuse combs, etc.
  • To reduce entrances into the hive, you can stuff them with grass. This will block the robbers from accessing the honey stores as well as allow some air flow. you can also close the hive completely for as many as days as you can so that the robbers can give up. Just be sure to provide necessities to the bees such as feed, pollen, water, and ventilation for the confined colony.
  • As a concerned beekeeper you can install a robbing screen. The screen directs the in house bees to use an alternative entrance while the robbing bees by following the scent from the hive, will continue run into the screen.
  • Intense essential oils from plants such as camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol mask the hive odor and confuse the robber bees.
  • When a frenzy occurs, it is also advised to remove the lids from all the hives in the apiary. The theory is that the bees become so busy defending their own hives that they stop robbing other hives. This however might not work if the robber bees are not from your own apiary. This is not a good strategy however for  new beekeepers because it involves defending your hives from other predators as well.