Monday, 5 October 2015

Honey Honey Honey


I took a small harvest this year, the new swarm produced enough for a small harvest and plenty to see them through the winter. We lost two hives to wasps, the two top bar hives I have only taken a small amount again, I did plan to go back to hives last week and take some more from the top bars but time ran away with me.
First up was the frames 
 Take off the wax capping's from each side of the frame

 The capping's don't go to waste
 Spin the frames, turn the frames around and spin again, the frames and comb are given back to the bees, they will clean them up of any residue honey repair any damaged cells on the comb and then re-fill them with honey.
 once the frames are spun its open the tap and let the honey drain through a coarse sieve through a fine sieve into the collecting bucket
 The comb from the top bar hives is a bit different as there is no frames just comb, I could just cut it into slabs and put it in tubs, or do the following
 squish it all down with my hands, once squished down yes its a sticky job, it gets left to drain through the sieves.
The honey is then poured into jars and admired, 
All the wax capping's and wax comb from the top bars will be melted down and turned into beeswax blocks, there will also be another small batch of honey from that process but as it is heat extracted I will keep that just for cooking with. I will do all that in a separate post.
All our honey harvest is spoken for, Martin will be taking it to Milton Keynes to customers there, that will be another bit of money to put away, we will keep some back for our own use.
Over the next few years I would like to increase our apiary up to 12 hives.
Earlier this year at the plant fair, I got talking to a woman about the bees and she said we would never get a honey harvest up here, she said she had surveyed the area and there is very little for the bees to feed on, I did point out we have a whole mountain top of Heather and the pine trees and lots and lots of gorse, she was adamant that the bees would not feed on that, they would starve and we would not get any honey, I wish I could remember her name :-) 


22 comments:

  1. There's always someone ready to put the kibosh on people's plans, I'm glad you've proved her wrong, just a shame she doesn't know. That honey looks wonderful.

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    1. After a chat with her I did think if the bees are struggling I would arrange to move them to lower ground, we didnt do any honey harvest last year as we moved just before harvesting time and I wanted them to settle first :-)

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  2. Ha! I bet the woman doesn't even keep Bees! fantasy know it all! Whereas I'm a fantasy Bee keeper!

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    1. No she dosent keep bees she is some sort of plant guru only sh got it wrong about what wild plants there are up here :-)

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  3. There is a bee hive near one of the surgeries I work in and I love spending a few minutes watching them go in and out. Fascinating creatures and a tasty bonus of honey as well :)

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    1. They are fascinating to watch all that coming and going :-)

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  4. My friends have hives. Lastyear they harvested eighty seven pounds of honey - this year just five jars. Very disappointing.

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    1. Thats disappointing it has been a wet summer hopefully next year things will pick up again :-)

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  5. You proved that woman wrong for sure!!! I've heard heather honey is beautiful. Shame you lost some, hope the selling goes well re the crafts and you get the cage and more hives.xxx

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    1. The bees proved her wrong, I am well on the way to getting a fruit cage :-)

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  6. There is very little that can stand up to good honey, the stuff from the shops is a poor imitation.

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    1. The honey from the supermarkets is mainly heat extracted, and a lot of commercial bees are fed on sugar fondant the honey there fore isnt as good as local honeys :-)

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  7. Well I think that you proved that your bees have found plenty of food. I have often heard of heather honey, so surely that is a common and well known food for bees? Perhaps the lady thought that you lived somewhere else and was confused! Your bees certainly weren't! xx

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    1. She knew were we lived perhaps I should have told the bees :-)

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  8. You don't use a de-capping knife but just the pick?

    Bees will range as far as 15 miles to forage. I can;t imagine any place you couldn't keep bees short of the arctic. They even keep em in Alaska.

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    1. Me and knives just dont get on I am safer with the comb I find it fairly easy to use although I still managed to stab my finger :-)

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  9. An interesting post, as I know very little about extracting honey etc (or keeping bees in general). I bet you wish you could remember that woman's name so you could say yah, boo, sucks to her!

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    1. I so wanted to give her a jar of honey :-)

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  10. Aren't you glad you didn't listen to that advice! Honey is truly the food of the gods. It has such healing properties. I have taken it for my hayfever which can be debilitating at times.

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    1. I was concerned having brought the bees all that way with us, honey is a great versatile product :-)

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  11. Looks amazing Dawn, so glad you proved the woman wrong and your bees are happy :) Hope the wasps stay away next year!

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