After the first unsuccessful attempt at harvesting honey this year, we decided to give it another go last weekend. I had removed about half of the honey from the hives the weekend prior (before things went south). I suited up again this Saturday to finish removing the honey on the remaining hives…not one single sting while I was removing the rest. Not one! That’s the way it is supposed to work! I am not sure I would recommend it, but if one has normal freakin’ bees and works slowly and deliberately, one could almost work the bees buck naked.
Anyhow, I pulled the rest of the honey and we extracted on Sunday (with the help of my family!) I nearly fainted as Isaac and Abigail both actually helped with the process. Typically they swoop in and swipe bits of honey, then retreat to unknown locations planning their next attack. But this weekend, they actually stuck it out for an hour or so!
Some years we get different colors of honey. Different nectar sources produce different colors of honey. This year, all of the honey was the same color. That doesn’t mean that all of the honey came from a single type of flower…just that all the types of flowers they worked happened to make the same color of honey.
We have converted our honey frames over to plastic Honey SuperCell frames which I cut to size to fit in the shorter honey boxes. There are many advantages to these type of honey frames but one thing that is both good and bad is that the bees don’t draw out the honeycomb too thick. Really, they don’t draw it out beyond the depth of the plastic that is already drawn. That’s good in that I don’t destroy any honey getting the frames out, but bad in that it means it’s harder to cut the cappings off. Rather than using a knife to remove the top caps of the honey comb, we had to try something new this year – a capping scratcher. That’s basically a fork with long thin tines that we drag over the sealed honey cells to break open the honeycomb so it can be extracted. (All that may be confusing…basically, I can’t use a knife any more to open the honey cells…now I need to use a fork)
We spent about 4 hours on Sunday and extracted about 193 pounds of honey this year. I am pretty satisfied with that especially considering I destroyed 25-40 pounds of honey in one of the hives I had to kill. It’s exhausting work but we really enjoy the family time too (right family? right?) Like so much at this time of year (i.e. the garden), I love the build-up and the harvest but even more-so, I love its completion!