Saturday, September 5, 2009

Extracting Honey

Had quite a time getting the bees out of the supers (boxes). I made a mistake the previous night of taking the supers off and setting them on top of the hives, hoping that the bees would leave and go back in the hives. Unfortunately the morning was very warm and humid and by the time I got to the hives there were more bees in the supers than there had been the night before. There were more bees in the air than I'd ever seen in my beeyard. I had the bright idea of loading the supers onto my truck and taking a ride with the tailgate down to lose the bees, but as soon as I got back home they were swarming into the truck again. I wound up smoking the bees heavily and then rushing the supers into our basement. Fortunately the remaining bees congregated on the window of the basement door.

A frame of capped honey. A full super weighs about 60 pounds.

Uncapping the honey before putting the frame into the extractor.

David and Jonathn provided the manpower to turn the crank. As the cage spins, the honey flies off onto the walls of the tank. The boys worked very hard. Fortunately it was cool in the basement. We could never have done this outside because we would have been mobbed by bees.

We got about 12-13 gallons of honey. I got 4 stings in all, one one each hand while pulling out frames the night before, one on the foot while going out to inspect the supers after dark ( a bee in the grass) and finally, after all the work was done, while stepping into our pond for a swim - I got stung on the big toe. The bees frequent the edges of the pond to gather water for their hives. Bee stings hurt, but I suspect they confer some benefit as well.

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