Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to get honey from a hive

Fitzpatrick farm wildflower honey.  Its so delicious!!  How do I ever seperate the bees from the honeycomb?  You're about to find out.

First I smoke the hive to calm down the bees.  Smoke does a couple of things.  Bees communicate with pheremones so the smoke coveres all that up.  Also when smoke enters a hive bees have an instinct to eat some honey, just in case they may need to abandon their hive because of a fire.  So with communication of the alarm signal down and full bees, I have an easier time working them.  That stick is there for an enterance.  I do middle enterances for the bees to get in and out sometimes.

Put a little smoke under the cover.

Smoke sends them down into the box.

I put this in between the box with the honey and the rest of the hive.  They call it a bee escape.  Bees can go one way but they cant go back.  This is a chemical free way of seperating the bees.  Many beekeepers use chemicals that force bees out of their boxes.  Some use leaf blowers to blow them out.

To get the bee escape in I need to loosen up the boxes.  On th ebottom is my tool.  Bees stick the boxes together with tree sap and other sticky stuff. 
Bee escape is on.  The other side is just a hole.  At night when it gets cooler the bees will leave the box and go down to the rest of the hive.  I'll get the honey super the next day.
Honey super put back on and hive is together.

The next day I take off the top and look.  I think there were five bees in the box.
I put this one sideways.  You can see right through with no bees.
Hmm somebody wants to come back in.

Yep difinitly want to get back to that honey super.
The prize.  Delicious all natural chemical free honey.  The bees build all of it in the frame without the wax sheet that most beekeepers use.
I use a food grade plastic bucket, cheesecloth, and a spigot on the bottom.  To get the honey I crush and strain it through.
Oh makes your skin so soft.
Hmmm somehow this comb got some holes in it.
If you want to see me extract honey on youtube click the following links.

Baby Bear asked me to open the gate again so he could get another taste so I took some pictures :)

Here's the money shot!  Sandwich fair.  First place honey. First place comb.  This year they have a category for light and dark so I could win 4 first places. 

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