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Posts Tagged ‘Harvesting honey’

Went out yesterday to see how much honey the bees had produced and how much I could take from the hive.  Both hives had built up 13 combs… a little less than half of a full hive.  I inspected the bars from the far end first.  The first two combs were incomplete and filled with pollen and uncapped honey.  The next  four were completely full of capped honey. Just beautiful!   Then came the brood comb…with honey at the top and larvae below.  Finally ( at the entrance) there were  two fully capped comb.   I left them there as it not only provides insulation over winter, it’s a natural place for bees to feed from. I took one of the full combs out from each of the hives and placed them on a cookie sheet, as I didn’t want to break up the comb. I didn’t want to take any more, as I wanted them to have a good supply of honey for the winter.   They are continuing to make honey, so I will take one last look next month to see if they have replaced the one I took….maybe I can get in a second harvest.

Honeycombs

I had purchased jars and plastic boxes from Dadant and Sons, so I got them out, took the combs into the kitchen , and cut out 4″ x 4″ squares to put into the plastic boxes, then threw all the remaining comb and honey into a strainer, broke it up with a wooden spoon and let it strain out into a bowl.

Straining the honey

A few hours later, I poured the honey into small hex jars ( 9  1/2 oz size).  And that was it.  When I weighed the amount of honey, it totaled almost 9 pounds!  Amazing.

9 pounds of honey

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Honey Harvest

When I got my bees this Spring, I had no plans to take any honey from this hive in the fall.  I only started out with 4 bars and the summer drought didn’t offer them a lot of forage. I had to feed them a lot of sugar water ( 1:1)  But then the late summer rains came.  Chamisa, asters, sunflowers, daisies, salvias and a host of other fall blooming plants provided a real smorgasbord of pollen and nectar.  We haven’t had a killing frost yet, so the bees are still busy storing up food for the winter.  Each week I open the hive to check on them and give them another half gallon of sugar water.  I saw 8 full bars…. the bees had doubled the size of the hive, with three full bars of capped honey.  I figured that it would be OK to cut off a small chunk of honeycomb.  After I smoked the entrance I opened up the hive and took out one of the full bars.  I could tell the bees were a bit agitated from the sound they made, but I brushed them off the comb and they didn’t get angry.  With a sharp knife, I cut off one corner and put the bar back in the hive.  And that was that!   It was golden and delicious!   They will have plenty left to feed on to get them through the winter, and I hope they will be strong and healthy next Spring.  Success!

Selecting the comb with the most capped honey

Brushing off the bees

Cutting off a piece of the comb

 

Fresh honey!

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