Devon SSSI nature reserve and eco lodges - Maggie's Blog
Just a taste of honey...
About a week ago we harvested some honey - just a taste. We should have done it earlier really - because the bees had already started taking stores back down into the brood chamber. So - just 4 frames, so as to leave the rest of the 'super' for the bees over winter. But considering the dire straits the colony was in this spring, that's not at all bad.
But not enough really to take up to the honey extractor at the Instrumented Hive Project. So we had to do it ourselves. First, Ian tried slicing the capped cells and letting the honey drip out so as to save the comb - a techique he found in a book. But it didn't really work. Rashid, the Hollocombe beekeeper, recommended cutting the wax right off the frame (seems such a shame, it's such a beautiful construction) and putting a weight on top. That worked a little better.
We did it in the evening. Apparently extracting honey in your kitchen can get pretty gooey, and the sweet sticky messy attracts unwelcome visitors like wasps.
So, eventually, about two and a half jars...and it really does taste good.
Next step is Apiguard to treat the varroa mite, and extra sugar feed to boost the new colony, bought as a nucleus in the spring in June.
Next year we hope for more jars - Rashid, who has 4 healthy and well managed hives, has harvested 120lb of honey!