Monday, August 11, 2014

update on the Bees and Honey

Here is an update on our bees :)

We had our first official honey harvest this past june and now are ready for another ... and another. Of course we could just leave the full honey supers on the hive but I think we are all too excited to do that!

We got nearly 3 gallons from the first harvest and are hoping to have at least that much this time (the frames are in our living room ready to be extracted). Corban tried making a home-made spinner ... however his test-run was not so successful and time did not allow for adjustments. We thought of just extracting the honey again by hand like we did with the honey someone gave us however time did not allow for that either.

We decided to borrow our 'bee mentor's' electric extractor. It only holds 2 frames and is kind of big and clunky, but it worked great! Here are a few photos of that process ... for your curiosity and for our memories.

First they used this little handy gadget to puncture the caps. Since we were saving the comb for one more use, we thought this would be the easiest way to uncap the honey.
uncapping roller

uncapping the honey
Next the frames are put into the machine - the frame holders (?) pivot 90* so both sides get exposed.

Now turn the machine on and hold on! It seemed the slightest bit would make it off balance, but that could have been our crooked floors :) I was quite noisy. 
The process is continued till all are spun. We used a few rubber scrapers to clean out the barrel.
Honey comes out the bottom :) YUM!

The stars of the show. Our hive is doing very well. We should have split it in the spring but now we might just do it in the fall. We'll see what our bee mentor says.

I prefer to store things in glass ... but once it's all said and done we'll have several gallons of honey and that's a lot of glass. If you have bees, how do you store your honey?


Min said...

Hi Joanne, recently I learned about solitary mason bees. I am putting up a house and I planted some (more) native flowers. I can't wait! They don't make honey, but they are super pollinators! And even better, no equipment or special clothes (except the bee house)! Anything to keep the bee population going.

MaryLu said...

Hi Joanne, It's Mary!
We don't have bees, but when we got honey from my cousin, I stored the gallon we had in wide mouth pint jars. I love being able to just open the jar we need. With three gallons of honey, I might go with a wide mouth quart jar, so that's only about 12 jars. I'm with you, I store in glass when possible.
BTW, we did move. We have a small farm in Pocatello, Idaho. My hubby is the pastor of a small Lutheran church in the area. We love being back home!

Joanne said...

Well hello Mary :) Nice to hear from you. You know, I still think of you nearly every time I can. I pray all the children are doing well? I'm sure they are getting BIG!! Maybe you have a new family photo you can share? If so, joannesmith6819 at gmail

Our solution to the problem: I am ordering NEW glass gallon jugs from Azure Standard. They come 4 in a box, divided nicely by sturdy cardboard. I will just SAVE THE BOX (dah!) and store the jugs of honey in the boxes. I am not sure why I did not think of that before.

But, for anyone reading this, a sister at church suggested this site: it seems they have nice containers for a good price. I will certainly keep that in mind for future reference.

Min - I have never heard of keeping solitary mason bees. Why not?!