Sunday, July 15, 2012

Second Honey Harvest

Yesterday my friends Ken and Leslie helped me pull 11 frames of honey to be harvested. We all had other things to do with the rest of the day so I placed the honey in a closed tub in the living room. Glad to report ants did not find it.

Early this afternoon Scott who I'm mentoring on beekeeping came over to help uncap and extract the honey. Meg took these photos before heading off.
Yep that is yours truly with a frame of honey from my mother hive. When we harvested the first time we pulled, harvested and replaced a super on the mother hive. There was another super nearly full of honey and 5 frames were ready to pull as you can see. The first removed super was looking pretty full so we felt the bees had plenty of honey.

The April 16th swarm bees down on the farm we pulled 4 frames from them, those bees are my best bees. The other two frames pulled were deep frames on the Hillsborough cutout hive, they have loads of honey.
 This is Scott cutting cappings off a frame full of honey. The box in the back right has the empty frames was already spun in the extractor.
Doesn't that honey look yummy? Best tasting honey thus far IMO and we harvested 3+ gallons of honey today!

Here we are cleaning out the extractor we borrowed from Ursula and David. The bees are pretty good at this, they do not waste a single drop. You know we drained the extractor and let it set for maybe 15 minutes, collected another pound of honey that settled down the walls of the extractor.
So we had maybe 5-6 pounds of wax cappings covered in honey. We drained it for over an hour into the honey bucket. Then I took it out to the bees to clean up. I was out there without protection with 10,000 - 15,000 bees feeding like crazy on honey. Am I crazy, no stings, good bees.
As mentioned we crushed and strained one deep frame of feral honey, here the bees are cleaning it up as well.
I'm sorry I never shared this with you. We did a huge extraction at Ken and Leslie's on June 10th. Here is the hive from inside this empty old house on their property. We ended up taking a split from this hive, it was too big for just a day job. We found out at the end of the day that this was just 2/3s of the actual hive. All the eggs, larva and the queen were in the stud bay to the left of this cut out.

So now the split at Ken's has a laying queen and the hive inside the old house is covered in plexiglass and draped so they can observe the bees when they want to. Leslie crushed and strained about 25 pound of feral honey, she gave me about 10 pounds, man is it tasty.

Here's a report from yesterday hive inspections:

Mother hive is doing great we pulled 5 frames of honey and replaced them after extracting.

Lindsey hive has more bees on their porch than all the hives combined. Had an accident while inspecting. New cross comb was cut free and fell into the hive. Recused a block of brood about 4" x5" and gave the rest of the comb with nectar back the the bees.

Mother's Split hive is in trouble. No queen for the second time this year. Small Hive Beetles at least 100 seen with many killed. Just drone brood and what looked like a big queen cell, we hope that works. One frame side was covered with drones, 6 frames total covered in bees in the brood chamber, lots of black older bees, not good. I'll check them in a week or so to see if there is sign of a queen. Placed a beetle trap under the hive.

Hillsborough Cut Out hive pulled 2 deep frames of honey, the hive has 2 deeps full of honey. These bees are very active and I did not look into them very much as the home made frames are hard to pull out being so full of honey and burr comb.

Home Sweet Home TBH a few beetles, they are moving slowly and have a nice brood pattern.

Farm Bees we pulled 4 frames of honey and they are looking strong.


Andrea said...

Am glad to see you Randy at last! I've seen maybe most of what you're doing, butterflies, houses, gardening, bees, carpentry jobs, I am one of your fans, i certainly am awed with your work. I still remember when you are still starting on the bees, and now you are reaping the 'honey' from your labor. Great, i am envious.

I like honey very much, but somehow i feel a certain sadness after learning that bees before stocking the nectar in the hives have to transfer the nectar to the other bees, mouth to mouth, and it is this bee after letting the nectar be processed in its body, stock them in the hive. I feel for them. Imagine after those tedious hours, people will just get them! I am torn between concern and want for honey!

Indie said...

Fascinating! I love watching the videos. No stings, but did any bees accidentally run into you with so many bees in the air?

That is an awesome looking gigantic hive in that empty house!

Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms said...

Wow! That looks great. Pretty cool about the wild bees. We haven't harvested any honey from our hive. I'm just the landowner, the beekeeper watches the hives. I've extracted honey before. It is sticky work. I love all of the videos you made. It sure makes it clearer on how it should be done. Thanks for sharing.

Rohrerbot said...

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing your experience here. It's amazing to have so many bees and not get stung:) You have the magic touch. The extraction process is neat. I only wish I could do something like this. Maybe down the road. For now, I'll keep reading your posts:)

Jen said...

wow, that is a LOT of honey. What on earth are you going to do with it all?

Mil said...

That capped frame of honey. It's such a beautiful piece of art, I feel, that the bees make.

How does the cold uncapping knife work for you as opposed to a hot knife?

I like the idea of using those plastic tubs. We harvest into a deep hive body which adds weight when we carry it into the house.

sweetbay said...

Very interesting Randy! That honey looks wonderful.

Skeeter said...

Are you brave or just plain crazy to hang with that many bees unprotected? LOL, I find it amazing how the bees seem to work right along side of you while you tend them. They do a wonderful clean up job. I am ever so impressed with these little buzzers.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

You know I really enjoy reading about your bees and now to harvest so much honey! wow. I imagine it is very tasty.
Having those feral bees in the old house is kind of scary....that is one big group of bees!!
Would you believe with all the pollinators I have in my area, not a single honey bee.
thanks as always for the butterfly ID.