Honey Harvest 2013!

015Despite all of the swarming we had in the spring, our hive was productive enough for us to harvest honey! We are very excited to have gotten any this year. In the spring, the population in the hive was incredibly small by the time all four swarms happened, then the queen that was left was very aggressive. We’d be in the backyard several feet away from the hive and have bees buzz our heads trying to get us to move even farther away. An extreme difference from the previous queen, where we could be less then a foot from the hive watching them with no problems. My son was terrified of them when they did this to him, he didn’t want outside at all. We decided that even though it would mean two additional weeks before we would have brood, that the current queen had to go. Amazingly, they pulled through and had enough by the end of September that we were comfortable taking some.

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Delicious honey! My husband is so excited! We set up in the garage because it’s a sticky process and it makes clean up easier for us. The way it works is once you have the frames sans bees, you take a hot capping knife ( a long serrated off set knife) and cut the wax capping off and into a bin. Then the frames go two at a time into a spinner. We rent ours from our bee supply store and got a hand cranked spinner. It uses centrifugal force to get the honey out without destroying the comb. Then when all the frames are empty, we strain it into a bucket and leave the honey supers for the bees to clean. They will get ALL the honey that might be left on the frame and clean it dry. The wax caps get strained through my jelly bag and into a pot so that we don’t waste any of the precious liquid gold. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the wax. Any ideas? The whole process is a lot of work, so we drafted our friend to help us in exchange for a pint.

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We got 1 3/4 gallon this year. Not bad from a hive that was struggling in the spring! The flavor has notes of floral, butter and oak. Last years harvest was more citrus and floral, amazing how it changes year to year!044

Last years is on the left and the new crop on the right. So happy to have a stock of honey again, and just in time for tea season. It’s been raining buckets here and my chamomile tea stash is being rapidly consumed.

Have a great day!

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