Honey!

We harvested honey from our two hives yesterday! Let me just say, we harvested a lot more honey than we did last year. Granted, we did get to harvest from both hives this year instead of just one, but there was a huge difference in harvests. Now we realize just what a bad year it was for honey last year.

There is nothing quite like harvesting your own honey. Nothing.

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Capped (sealed) comb filled with honey.

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Before putting the frames into the extractor, we scrape the wax caps off of the comb to release the honey.

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Our small “economy” hand-crank extractor can spin two frames at a time. The extractor uses centrifugal force to pull the honey our of the comb, one side at a time. It takes about 1 minute of spinning per side to extract the honey, then the frames are taken out and flipped to extract the other side.

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It’s really hard not to lay under the flood gate to let the honey pour straight into your mouth. You know, like the drunkards in old cartoons. Really hard not to…

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An example of a full frame laying on top of an empty frame. (The empty frame appears white because the wax was built on a white plastic foundation.)

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Once all of the frames are extracted, we put them out near the hives so that the bees can clean any remaining honey off of the wax. Then we will use the extra wax for lotions and candles.

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Ready for the numbers?

Last year, August 2012, we harvested a total of: 11.14 pounds of honey.
This year, August 2013, we harvested a total of:

43.35 pounds (or 3.56 gallons) of honey

.

Yeah baby! We ran out of honey pretty quickly last year, so we plan to save as much as we possibly can this year. Only a few close friends and family will be purchasing honey this year. A few people have asked me why we don’t sell more honey. The answer is simple, we don’t produce that much and the honey that we do produce, we eat. We started this micro-farm for the very selfish reason of becoming self-reliant… not really to become a small business. So to put it plainly, we want to eat our honey.

6 thoughts on “Honey!

  1. Now you have me interested in beekeeping. Do you get a lot of wax for making stuff? This sounds like a win-win…and what do you think about beekeeping for someone who is allergic? Is it very dangerous?

    • We keep most of the wax foundation intact so that the bees get a head start on honey production for the next year. But we do harvest the extra wax and wax cappings. It turns out to be a few ounces from each hive… about enough for a few candles or to use in crafts. If we were to use all the wax the bees build through the year, it would be enough for a few dozen candles!

      Ruby Blume, author and urban homesteader in Oakland, keeps bees and is allergic! So I would have to say that it is possible as long as you take precautions (such as have medication on hand) and know your limits. We have kept bees for 3 years now and I have only been stung twice (once I accidentally stepped on a bee in flip-flops and the second time I got my face a little to close to the hive) and both times were simply because I was not being careful.

      Sure, there are noticeably more bees around the yard, but none of them are aggressive. Trevor is our resident beekeeper and has only been stung maybe 4 times in the last 3 years. Look up “www.iuhoakland.com” and email Ruby for advice.

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