This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Honey, To be or not to be that is the question (click pic to enlarge)

Thermometer adjustment scale

We all produce honey. The important thing to realize is honey has to be the proper moisture content.
U.S. Grade A honey has to taste like honey and have a moisture level of 18.6% and below. Moisture levels above this threshold will ferment and is not considered honey.
To test the honey I use a refractometer. This instrument takes a small amount of honey placed on a glass lens. Holding the instrument to your eye, a scale is visible. Reading the scale, then take it away from the eye.
On the bottom of this type of refractometer is a thermometer. The thermometer has a scale to adjust for temperature change that affects the viscosity of the honey. By adding or subtracting this scale, will give the proper moisture content.
Example, a sample reads 18.2% on the eye piece scale and the thermometer adjustment is minus .5. I take 5 tenths off 18.2% and the final moisture content is 17.7%
There are many refractometers out there. Beekeepers use the ones that specify for honey. Prices range from about $75 - $350.
If someone wants their honey tested I will do this for free. To bring a small sample to be tested, the container should be full. A partially filled sample container will absorb any moisuture in the container and not reflect accurately of what the honey moisture truly is.