Saturday, 25 March 2017

Bee keeping and honey production (article 3) honey harvesting and honey quality

Honey will not be ready for harvesting until the comb is filled with capped honey. Remember, you are harvesting the food meant for the bees. You have to make extra preparations to ensure that the bees are made comfortable. The following steps will help you:
1. Get properly dressed for the occasion
2. Get your smoker, brush, knife, hive tool, plastic containers with lid.
3. Load your smoker with appropriate fuel materials, dried pawpaw stem, dried paper pulp, old jute bag, cow dung etc
4. Light your smoker, smoke self and the bee surrounding and entrance
5. Open the lid
6. Use the hive tool to knock the top bars gently to determine the occupied or any empty sides of the hive. Your clue is: empty sides make more noise
7. If your bars are glued together with propolis, use your hive tool to harvest you propolis, first.

8. If your combs are capped, harvest by brushing the bees to the side before harvesting your capped comb.
9. Make sure you leave between one to two centimeters of the honey comb on the top bar to avoid making the bees hungry. This will also serve as a guide for the bees to build upon.
10. Close your hive carefully. All operation under harvesting must be done with swiftness and during the early morning or towards evening.

There are unlimited market opportunities for honey at the local and international level. Some of the reasons for these opportunities are as follows:
7.1 At Local Level
 More and more people are getting to know the usefulness of beekeeping and advantages of honey.
 Apicultural education is improving on daily basis
 What is more important now is to produce what will be enough for our consumption because Africa is still importing honey.

7.2 At International Level
There is a great demand for Africa honey if international standard is followed. The reason for this is that the vegetation and environment are not as polluted as obtained in the developed countries. Another reason is that honey from the tropics has special attractive odor superior to the one from non-tropical regions of the world.
The first step for the sale of any product is to find out what the major and minor buyers are looking for. This may be obtained from standard setting organizations in the country of interest.
8.1.1 Preparing Honey For Market
 All standards must be met in preparing honey for market
 Cleanliness is the key word in setting a standard
 One needs to know the sources of your honey to determine the color, taste, viscosity and aroma.
 There must be relationship between what the consumers want and what type of honey to supply.
 Process honey as soon as possible after harvesting. Honey processing is a sticky operation, in which time and patience are required to achieve the best results.
 Honey is a food and it must therefore be handled hygienically and all the equipments must be perfectly clean.
 Honey is hydroscopic and will absorb moisture, therefore all honey processing equipment must be perfectly dry. Too much water in honey causes it to ferment.
 Be sure you do not harvest unripe honey with ripe honey
 Remove the wax capping from the honey combs with a long sharp knife which has been standing in warm water.

8.1.2 Labels For Your Honey
In addition to attracting customers to your product, the label you put on your honey should give the following information:
1. Content: Pure Honey
2. Source of the honey: e.g. sunflower, mixed blossom tree honey etc.
3. The country and district from where it was produced
4. Your name and address
5. The weight of honey in the container
6. Any additional information

The color, taste, odor or aroma and viscosity of honey are its most important features, but honey is often judged according to its color.
The color of honey depends mainly upon the source of the nectar, plant sap or honey dew that the bees have foraged from. Usually, dark-colored honeys have a strong flavor while pale honeys have a more delicate flavor. The popularity of dark and light colored honey varies from country to country, but generally light colored honey is more highly valued than the dark colored honey. Color can sometime be a useful indicator of quality because honey becomes darker during storage, and heating will also darken honey. However, some perfectly fresh, unheated and uncontaminated honeys can be very dark.
8.2.1 Color
Color of honey is measured using a “Pfund grader” (named after Dr. Pfund who invented it). In this instrument, a sample of the honey is placed in a wedge-shaped glass container. (Only liquid honey can be graded for color, granulated honey must first be liquefied). The sample is viewed through a narrow slit and the “wedge” of honey moved until the density of color visible through the slit matches with a piece
of standard amber-colored glass. A scale on the instrument gives a numerical value for the color of the honey, and using this, the color category of the honey can be determined. Color descriptions range from white through shades of amber to dark.
8.2.2 Water Content
If the water content of honey is greater than 19% then the honey is likely to ferment. A low water contents is therefore most important. Water content can be measured using a honey refractometer, a small instrument which measures the refraction of light as it passes through a glass on which a few drops of honey have been dropped.
8.2.3 HFM
HFM stands for hydroxymethylfurfural. This is a break-down product of fructose (one of the main sugars in honey) formed slowly during the storage of honey, but formed very quickly when honey is heated. The amount of HFM present in honey is therefore used as a guide to the amount of heating which has taken place, the higher the HFM value, the lower the quality of the honey is considered to be. Some countries set an HFM limit for imported honey (sometimes 40mg per kg), and honey with an HFM value higher than this limit will not be accepted. HFM is measured by various laboratory tests.
8.2.4 Enzymes
The levels of enzymes present in honey are sometimes assayed and used as a guide to determine honey quality. Because enzymes are destroyed by heating; a low enzyme level may meant that honey has been heated, but many honey of good quality are naturally low in enzyme content

1 comment:

  1. Great job bro. I guess, since the topic is of three parts, you ought to have interlinked all the parts in each post of the topic.


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