In early August, we decided it was time for another annual Honey Harvest.
(Did it in August too, in 2017)
They have been busy buzzing but have not swarmed so we felt they, or I should say ‘the queen’, is contented with the location of the hive*.
(There’s a reason why we were watching that factor, keep reading.)
The honey harvest was scheduled, weather permitted so we got going.
The smoking began
Each bar was carefully inspected when removed.
The bees were gently brushed off.
Combs were cut off into a bucket which got immediately covered thereafter.
Oh, they knew …
We made sure we only harvested a small fraction of what was there. They will have time to make more for their needs in winter but why take more than we will use in a year?
As is, from the 6 bars that were “harvested” we ended up with 11 lbs of pure Honey.
Aren’t they just beautiful?
The Honey Harvest worked as planned but …
They (the Honey Bees) are going strong. The hive is densely populated. It’s still summer and they have time to accumulate more pollen and nectar, regurgitate them over and over until a substance called Honey is produced.
On Wednesday, we felt it was a good time to harvest some honey and out of over 20 bars in our top-bar hive, 3 bars of honey-filled combs were all we would be taking. They deserve to keep the rest for themselves.
Apart from just harvesting honey, an inspection was needed to ensure that there wasn’t an invasion of beetles or mites.
After watching step-by-step videos (many of them) on YouTube, we decided to give the process of extracting clean honey a try. Fortunately we have tools from our home beer-brewing kit that can be used. The honey comb ‘salvaged’ from our Big Bee Move was placed in fully sterilized container and very gently hand crushed. The sticky mixture was then put in fine sieve to slow drip into a sterilized bucket with a tap. Yes, we were forewarned that the drip procedure might take 3 days so we left it slooowly dripping, safely covered by a mesh, for 4 days ~ just in case.
hand crushed comb in the sieve
And today, we actually saw clean pure honey dripping from the tap into our prepared bottles. We ended up with 2 bottles which caught us by surprise ~ a nice surprise!
Clean raw honey