Sunday, September 25, 2011

Harvesting Honey

This is the second year that Ethan has kept bees, but the first time he could harvest honey. It was exciting!

First, he and his dad put on all of the special bee keeping gear, being careful to seal up any place a bee could get access to skin, even through thin or knit material (like socks). Next, they smoke out the bees. Most go into a very relaxed state.

They collect the honey comb frames from the upper box, leaving the combs in the lower boxes for the bees to feed on during the cold season.

.These bees were very happy and productive, making a lot of honey this summer.

The honey combs are placed in a centrifuge machine that spins the honey out without hurting the wax comb. It only takes about a minute to do this part. The machine was a gift from a good friend who pasted away recently.

Ethan takes the honey, cleans it up a bit and put it into containers. I believe he got 4 quart jars and eight honey bears full of honey. When he came home he was anxious to have some of it so it went on toast and into tea.

He has the option of putting together one more tower of boxes which he is thinking he will try. It is mostly a matter of getting a queen which can be purchased through the mail or, if you are lucky, caught. The other two boxes you see in the photos were dormant this summer as there had been a bee disease in them and leaving them empty for a season gets rid of the problem.

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