This week was a busy one. We had a bit of traveling planned, and since I was away the prior week, before we could leave we had to tend the bees. It was time to extract the honey. I like to do this when we have a few good days of weather coming. Then I can put the wet (freshly extracted) frames out for the bees to clean up.
When it comes time to extract, we at Harnden Hollow, take a bit more time than a bigger non-raw operation. We start by pulling the honey boxes and the method we use is a fume board. Basically we place a stinky lid on the hive and it pushes the bees lower until most are removed. Once the box is removed it is checked. We make sure it has no brood, and is 75% capped honey or better. When this is determined we bring the box to the truck and blow off the remaining bees with a leaf blower. This works well for us.
One key point when pulling the honey boxes is leaving enough for the hive. We like to winter in two deeps and a medium. So as we pull the boxes we make sure to leave them the extra. Some places that are a bit warmer and have a shorter winter can do just the two deeps and be fine.
Once we get the boxes back to the extraction site we make sure the room is HOT! This will make the honey flow better and quicken the process but does not ever get above the temp on a warm day in the hive. The down point to this is any bees on the boxes will get pretty active and tend to remind you that you’re stealing a bit of honey! Lol
We choose to use a uncapping plane. This is compact and just seems to give us the best result. We like the Maxant extractors but I’m sure there are a thousand different ways that work just as well. Once we extract we store the honey in sterilized food grade pails
This extraction day was exceptionally great. The smallest bee keeper found his love for the honey and was first in line to taste the goodness. We also had some great neighbors stop over to enjoy the process! We look forward to helping them with a hive next year.
This was one of those days you realize the work is hard and the day was long but the reward of seeing friends and family enjoy the process just leaves you feeling like it was all worth it!