We've been extracting and processing honey as of late. I haven't done a grand tally yet, but I got perhaps 110 pounds this year. Less than I'd hoped for, but I'm back down to two hives from four after splitting two into four last May. I had queen issues, as did some other beekeepers I know. The mysteries of the hive!
Here's Gordon scraping the wax cappings off a frame of honey. He is doing it over our uncapping tank, which has a filter over the bottom container. The filter catches the wax, and the honey drains through.
It's hard not to smile when you're surrounded by sweet stuff!
After the frames of honey are uncapped, they go into the extractor. The honey will be thrown out of the frames by centrifugal force. This sucker is bolted to the concrete floor, to stop it from walking its way across the garage when it's switched on!
The white frame fell out of its tracks and had to be adjusted. No harm done.
As you can see...
...I am not good at following instructions!
Precautions schmecautions! But I swear I just lifted the lid for a quick pic or two, and I didn't put any body parts anywhere near the interior of the drum. Nobody wants bits of fingers in their jar of honey!
Spin spin spin!
Next the beautiful golden goodness came out of the honey gate at the bottom of the extractor and flowed into a bucket. Later, I strained the honey through a filter to get out any wax bits and bee body parts.
I didn't get a photo of it, but at one point a honeybee got into the garage and headed straight for the draining honey. She sat next to it, frantically licking up honey from the stream! No doubt she thought she'd found honey heaven. I removed her to the outside world before she could fall in the bucket and meet a sticky end.
After the honey is strained, it goes into jars:
Here we have two different batches. The bottom one came from the first super (shallow hive box in which you place the frames in which you want the bees to store honey.) The top one came from the second super I extracted from. Last year, the lightest honey (with lots of basswood nectar) came from the first box. This year, I don't know what's going on but it all tastes awfully good!
Hopefully my two hives will make it through the coming winter and we will try to expand the hives again next spring. For now, I'm enjoying fresh honey with my morning fruit and yogurt!
Poor Gordon got stung on the foot yesterday in a freak bee accident. One was drowing in the duck pool, and when Gordon emptied the duck pool to put in fresh water, some old water and the unfortunate bee sloshed into Gordon's rubber boot. Said bee then took her stinger to Gordon's foot! Ouch!
Beehive yourselves out there! Ho ho ho.