Saturday, September 17, 2011

Inspection, Removal, and Extraction

On 9/5 I did an inspection of the backyard hives. It is getting late in the season, so I decided to also take whatever honey there was in the honey super and extract it. Last time I checked, there were about 5 frames which could be extracted. Since then there has been a nectar dearth, where there weren't any flowers producing nectar. I wasn't sure if the bees were going to eat any of that honey.

Brown Hive

This was the hive with the honey in the honey super. Look at this nice frame!

Last time I saw a lot of uncapped cells, meaning they hadn't finished evaporating down the nectar to become honey. This time I saw that there were either capped honey or empty cells - not a lick of unfinished honey to be found. My theory is that when they need food, they first eat the unfinished honey before they start uncapping the honey and eating it. That's a good plan - that means that I didn't have any unfinished honey to worry about!

In the brood chamber the queen is doing well also:

There was plenty of young larvae as well:

Pink Hive

The pink hive had absolutely no honey in the honey super - none. Oh well, they must be storing it below.

I saw the queen, and she is doing well:

Green Hive

The green hive also has plenty of bees, although it is only one brood chamber:

I added a second brood chamber with drawn comb, and I am going to feed the heck out of this hive to get it ready for winter.

So here's the take from the backyard hives: about 4 1/2 frames:

I finally got a chance to unbox the new extractor I bought a few months ago!!

Here we are, all ready to extract my impressive 5 frames!!

I use a regular serrated bread knife for uncapping, which seems to work just fine:

My youngest took this picture; he was fascinated by the hexagon pattern in the comb as seen in the cappings.:

The cage on the extractor can theoretically hold all 6 frames (as shown below), but because the frames weren't uniformly filled, it was unbalanced and shook like a sonofagun! Even with doing just 3 frames each time, it was a bucking bronco. But we got them spun out.

Here's part of the take. It was amazing how clear the honey was this time - last time it wasn't as see-through.

Again, I didn't plan ahead enough to purchase actual honey jars. So I did what I've done in the past and used Ball canning jars; half pint (which holds 11 oz. of honey) and full pint (with 22 oz. honey). I put a round label on the lid, as the jar isn't smooth enough to hold a sticker.

I then set all of the equipment (and wet frames) out for the bees to reclaim. They were having a heyday, as you can imagine!

This year's harvest was a meager 12.5 lbs, but it was enough to share with some friends and sell a few jars.

Now it's time to focus on getting the bees ready for the winter...


  1. When you leave the equipment out for the bees have you had any problems where they get into a frenzy and start robbing each others hives?

  2. That is a danger, and it happened to me last year. But I moved the equipment a little way away from the hives to minimize that problem.

  3. It's a little too sad. Don't worry maybe this years grace will cover enough what you've lost for your honey bees. Good luck


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