Honey Harvest

Honey Harvest

Preparation for our first honey harvest was done the weekend before. Mr. Menace had hoped to be able to complete the prep work AND do the harvesting on the same day, but we are old and tire quickly it was just too much, so we put off the harvesting until the next weekend.

PREPARATION:

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

All the equipment had been in storage for years, so it all had to be washed.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

July in Alabama is quite hot and humid, so Mr. Menace doesn’t do anything without a fan nearby. The ladder works great as a table to hold the boxes as they are removed from the hives. And the leaf blower is a great tool for getting the bees off the forms so we can steal their honey.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

That next Saturday dawned cloudy with a forecast of rain, but the sun came out around 9 and we jumped in. It was our first ever harvesting from our own hives. Mr. Menace has participated in a couple of different harvests with other beekeepers in the past year though, so he had some basic knowledge.

REMOVAL FROM THE HIVES:

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

I took a few pictures before I got entirely suited up because I knew I wouldn’t be able to once I got my gloves on. You can see Mr. Menace preparing for harvesting in the above pictures. He is getting his smoker ready and has removed the top box.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

This first box that he removed is a one he had added recently, so there is no honey in it yet and you see very few bees. He just sat it here to get it out of the way so he could get to the next box which was FULL of honey.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

SEPARATION OF HONEY FROM THE COMB:

Here Mr. Menace is removing the frames from this box so that we can get to the honey.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

Here is one of the frames. Inside the frame are the honeycomb cells which are full of honey. Each cell has a wax cap on it. Β Across the bottom, on the outside of the frame is some new honeycomb that is also full of honey, but has not been capped yet.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

The wax caps have to be removed to release the honey. We used a wire scraper.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

Next, the frames were placed into an Extractor which spins the honey out of the cells.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

We harvested approximately 5 gallons.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

The specks you see are honeycomb particles.

STRAINING THE HONEY:

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

After straining.

Beekeeping, Honey Harvest, Apiary,

Pure Gold!

COMPLETION:

The next step will be bottling the honey and labeling it for sale. I have created our labels and ordered them. They should be arriving soon. I can’t wait to show them to you and get your opinion.

Oh, and one important factor! We managed to do this whole harvest without getting stung! However, when we took a break to cool off, we removed our protective gear. I decided I would return a call from my daughter and granddaughters, but I had left my phone out by the hives. I walked out there to get it and one little bee got in my hair which I had pulled up in a clip. He got stuck and couldn’t get out and wiggled his way all the way down to my scalp and in his frustration, stung my head! That thing hurt ALL NIGHT LONG!

Did you see our new apiary?

 

 

 

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14 comments

    • gwingal says:

      Carol, I wondered how many times I could lick my fingers before I got my whole carb count for the day way out of whack! It is delicious! Thanks for visiting. πŸ™‚

    • gwingal says:

      Hi Donna. Typically I am not afraid of bugs, or bees, or of getting stung. However, when you are surrounded by thousands of bees it is a different story! Wearing the beekeepers suit though, gave me total confidence. I am sure it would be a real challenge if you have a phobia of insects though. Hope you find some local honey! πŸ™‚

  1. A Pretty Fix (@aprettyfix) says:

    It occurred to me as I was reading your post that I’d never seen this whole process before – so fascinating, especially the use of the extractor! It looks like a ton of work, but all with a ‘sweet’ ending πŸ˜‰

    • gwingal says:

      haha Good one! It’s not really that much work, but with the summer heat of Alabama, it is just very uncomfortable. Thanks for checking out our honey harvest. πŸ™‚

  2. sizzlesue15 says:

    I find this fascinating and thank you for showing us the process at #overthemoon. The honey looks delicious. Thank you for sharing with us and have a great day!

  3. Grammy Dee says:

    Love it! Curious minds want to know –> How many boxes did it take to get the 5 gallons Did you all harvest more than 5 gallons? And the most important question, are you selling it?

    • gwingal says:

      Haha Grammy Dee! 1.We have two hives. There are 3 or 4 boxes in each hive. 2.No, this is our whole harvest, which was just under 5 gallons. 3.Yes. However, we have not sold publicly yet. We are trying to let family, coworkers, neighbors have first dibs. Thanks for asking! πŸ™‚

    • gwingal says:

      Hi Clearissa. Since we only have two hives, we will not harvest enough to sell except to friends and family. We do hope to add more hives in the future though, so there IS hope! Thanks for visiting. πŸ™‚

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