Sunday, September 8, 2013

Harvesting the Honey


Just robbed the bees of some of their honey.  The thievery went quite a bit smoother than last year, when I was on a very painful learning curve.  The key to not getting stung seems to be to use a smoker, bang the bees off each frame in front of the hive (by striking the corner of the frame sharply against a rock or something else solid), tidy up the last stragglers with a bee brush, and have a bee-proof container standing right by to place honey-filled frames into - in my case an ancient Coleman ice chest that I borrowed from my Dad and never gave back.  It may also have helped that I did one hive on Saturday and one on Sunday, so only one was riled up at a time.

This time no stings, and for the most part I was working in a cloud of confused, milling bees rather than angry, hostile bees.

The harvest seems about the same as last year -- maybe a bit lighter.  But still something over 50 pounds of honey taken from two first-year hives.  One of my hives never even filled the first super, so I let them be.

Tomorrow I'll put the wet comb back on top of the hives for them to clean up and depending on how heavy the remaining boxes feel (with their winter stores of honey), I'll start feeding them a bit and check for mites.
The task now is to help them get prepared to survive the winter . . .