Monday, September 1, 2008

Oh Honey!

I robbed the bees Saturday afternoon. I really didn't expect much. I had checked on them in the spring and there didn't seem to be all that many bees. I had worried that the queen was probably dead and even made a call to see if I could get one shipped asap. They wouldn't ship one until May 5. By that time, the bees would either be going strong or dead so I decided to just wait it out. I checked on them in June and expected they would be out of room if they were still alive. I had driven by them several times in the field and saw bees flying around but it's impossible to know what's going on INSIDE there without looking. The more I look, the worse they do so I just moved along and let them be.
In June, I did go out to put another super on just in case they needed it. They didn't. They hadn't even drawn out the comb on the first super I had put on in the spring. What the heck were they doing all day? I figured they were probably done for but Saturday when I finally went out to make another check they had one whole super full of honey for me and another super with a few frames filled up and there were A LOT of BEES! Oh my gosh were there a lot of bees. I get pretty anxious when there are THAT MANY BEES flying around me and angry. I was very, very thankful for my suit and my smoker. I set the super full of honey aside and took frame after frame out brushing off the bees with my bee brush. I finally got most of them off and there were probably a thousand bees flying around and they were NOT happy. I can't believe I didn't get stung. I thought once I might have gotten stung in the back but it was just a brief pinch so maybe it was a glancing blow but nothing lasting.
I plopped the heavy super on the tailgate and drove back to the house. A few lingering bees crawled up out of the frames and I took it into the house dripping all the way. Pooh could have easily found his way to my kitchen Saturday.
I dug out my home made extractor that I found the plans for on the internet years ago and cleaned it up in preparation for the job ahead.
It took a while to cut out all the frames and stuff them into the top bucket. I usually use a paint strainer bag and had to make a trip into town to Wal-Mart for one. Of course they didn't have one so I figured I could make due with cheese cloth. The cheese cloth was not a very good substitute. I had to strain it twice to get it really clear. I let it set until today and I spent about three hours straining it and bottling it up. I got just over 2 gallons of honey off that one super. I took the rest of the comb and put it all back together with MORE cheesecloth layers this time so I think I'll get a few more jars if I let it sit and drain a few more days. Hopefully I won't have to strain it twice this time. This method tears up my comb but since I only want one bee hive I figure it's okay.
The bees still have two more supers of honey to get through the winter so we'll see what next year brings.
Sweet success!

1 comment:

  1. Those jars are so gorgeous it almost hurts me to look at them! I'll try not to be jealous. Thanks for telling me about this post, I was really interested to read about how you collected it.

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