Thursday, October 19, 2017

Honey Harvest

After all the challenges we had with our bees this year we sure didn't expect to have any honey. Literally all six of our hives were new; one was purchased this year, one was a swarm capture this year, and the other four swarmed. Of the hives that swarmed three had to produce new queens and one was re-hived into a failing hive. We couldn't imagine that any of the hives would have the time to produce any excess honey. 

As summer transitions into fall beekeepers start preparing their hives for winter. Among other tasks, the beekeeper will remove any honey supers (those are the hive boxes where bees can store excess honey) and start concentrating the colony down into the lower hive boxes. The "beek" will check the hive's resources to make sure they have plenty of stored honey and pollen to feed themselves during the winter months and either add frames of resources or make plans to provide food in the form of sugar and pollen patties. 

Don was stunned to discover that the two newest hives had not only filled their main resource hive boxes but had also filled their honey supers. We knew it had been a very good summer for pollen and nectar because of the amazing wildflower season but we didn't realize just how good. 

Last week we started the exciting and very sticky job of harvesting the honey. The old cabin became the "honey house", another of her many uses. When we were done we had six gallons of the beautiful golden stuff. 
Ready, set, go!
Removing the wax caps from the honey cells

Loading the un-capped frames into
the extractor

And out flows the raw honey

Putting the extracted frames out
for the bees to cleanup

Pantry full of six gallons of honey!
The cabin is cleaned up and ready for the next project - wool processing! (Yes, I know - I said I was going to send it out but changed my mind.)

From Fleur Creek Farm