Saturday, July 19, 2008

We have honey!

Well, we didn't do it last year but this year it was clear there was a lot of honey mountain up in hive #1 so we took the plunge and decided to harvest. First step was getting the honey off, this didn't seem like too much of a challenge after all I already had a bee escape - easy right? Well it seems not, I added the bee escape (a board that sits below the honey supers and acts as a one-way door so bees can go down below but not back up) but they seemed the just come and go as before so both boxes still had plenty of girls in. I got the top box off by brushing the bees off the frames one by one and putting them into a big plastic box. The hive is an 8-frame setup and the box yielded about 6 complete frames. 

Next was extracting the honey, I rented the Chatham County Beekeepers extractor last week and set to work. The whole process is reasonably easy but very messy (and the uncapping knife is lethal!). The first box yielded about 1.5-2 gallons and really nice. Feeling flushed with this success I got a fume board and Bee Go from Busy Bee Apiaries and set to work getting off the second box. This stuff worked really well but it's reputation for smelling foul is well justified - I would run from it if I were a bee. The total harvest ended up just about 3 gallons and we spent a few evenings filling a mix of nice 8oz squeezy honey bottles (like the ones you get from the supermarket) and some 1/2 pint and pint Mason jars. 

All-in-all we had some fun but now have more than enough to keep us going and give to friends, and I guess there will be more in the fall to look forward to.