“The fruit of your own hard work is the sweetest.” –Deepika Padukone, Indian Film Actress
One really can’t take full credit for a honey harvest. I mean the bees do most of the work, I’m really just there to collect. Don’t get me wrong, though. The collection is a good chunk of work in itself, but the reward sure is sweet!
I will admit that I had super high hopes for my hives at the farm this year. There was even a point where I thought I might get a few frames of honey to extract, which isn’t always the case as the first year is usually considered more of a building year than a honey harvest year. Then came my rookie mistake… not paying attention to the signs that my hives were in the midst of a dearth.
I was surprised that my bees could go from making honey to eating honey in less than a couple of weeks and soon the beautiful capped rows of honey in Queen Maude’s super were opened to feed the colony. If I had been more observant I could have supplemented them and maybe squeaked by a small harvest to show for my first year. Instead of a honey harvest, I can at least say I walked away with a lesson learned.
Have no fear, my bees are certainly getting full tummies as they now have access to top feeders instead of supers (those have been pulled). I am currently feeding them Pro Sweet and a heaping of pollen patties. My big concern is that they have enough honey stores for the winter, but that’s a post for another day.
A Bandit Among the Bees
Although I would not be harvesting from my hives, our hives at Mann Lake had plenty honey to harvest so I thought I’d tag along for their extraction journey.
I assisted in pulling the supers from the hives. We used Honey Bandit and a Fume Board to vacate the bees, which worked impressively fast! Then the supers were placed on a cart and hauled out of the beeyard. We were able to store the frames in a crate to avoid bees from stealing the honey as we waited for extraction time!
The Big Event
The bees may have done all the work creating the honey, but now it was our job to get it from comb to jar with all the steps in between. What better way than video to show my first ever uncapping and extraction!
I will admit, I am certainly awkward with that uncapping knife. However, a beekeeper/honey harvester is not made overnight. Overall, the experience was worth all the hard work. Seeing all that sweet golden honey pour out of the extractor’s gate was enough of reward to get me to forget any back pains. A few small taste tests doesn’t hurt either!
Curious about some of the equipment we used? Check out the list below:
Krista’s Extraction Attraction Equipment List:
- 18/9 Frame Motorized Radial Extractor
- Speed King Electric Uncapping Knife
- Uncapping Scratcher
- Plastic Uncapping Tank
- 5 Gallon Pail with Lid & Honey Gate
- Filter Set
- Weathertek Yard Apron