Saturday, July 27, 2013

Extracting Day!!

As I had mentioned before, the bees in the Brown Hive had been collecting honey for a while now. I decided with the good weather it was time to do some extracting.

In our Church we have missionaries who serve in our congregations. The two Elders in our Ward heard that I had bees and was going to extract some honey, so they asked if they could come over and see / help. Some of these pictures were taken by them.

I have a basic way of removing the frames of honey from the hive. I don't use a bee escape (too lazy to get one) and I don't use any Bee Quick repellent-type liquid. What I do is I remove the super of frames, and set it on the ground near/behind the hive. Then I remove one frame at a time, shake/brush off the bees back into the hive, and walk the frame across my yard (maybe 30 feet) to where I have an empty super on a table. I have a towel over the super to keep the bees out - that is where I put frame after frame.

It isn't the quickest way, but it works for the few frames I have. I only had 1 bee make it into the house when I brought in the frames!

Here's a (blurry - sorry) picture of one of the frames - nicely capped with a pale honey!

Last week I was worried if this hive had swarmed. As I was removing the frames of honey, I found a few frames in the center which looked like this:

The empty part was bone dry - not like it would be if the bees had not yet finished capping it. It was as if they had removed it. Either the hive was in need of food, or they took some of the honey with them when they swarmed.

I didn't take the time to inspect the hive - I'll do that later, and look for a queen.

So it's down to the basement and bring up the extractor!

I have a nice hive stand for permanent mounting on some kind of a base, but I still haven't gotten around to doing anything with it. Some day...

Uncapping was accomplished with my simple little serrated bread knife - no heat involved. It works just fine.

I ended up with about 13 frames (some partial) to extract. The honey was not evenly distributed, so the extractor bounced around a lot (another reason to build the stand - I can mount it to a baseboard and stand on it, providing better stability).

Here's the first of the honey!

The only filtering I do is to pass it through a coarse (600 micron) and fine (400 micron) filter, to get rid of the bits of honey and other bee bits. I also have a 200 micron filter, but when I tried that the honey took forever to pass through it!

I had the missionaries put their finger in the stream and taste the honey. They were amazed that this honey was in a functioning beehive just an hour earlier!
It looks like I got a little less than 4 gallons. I didn't weigh the bucket empty, so I don't know the total at this point.

(notice the newspaper - I learned early that leaving sticky honey on the dining room floor does not endear you to the Mrs.!)

Here's the haul. Based on the jars filled, I got about 38 lbs. Not bad for just one hive, in the summer!

What we noticed was that this honey is very light. Here's a jar from last year (left) vs. this year (right). You can see how much darker last year's honey was:

That's about it! I'm going to enter this honey into both the Spencer Fair and the Woodstock Fair - wish me luck!

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