Friday, August 11, 2006

Extracting Honey!!

Well, I was about 3 weeks late in getting the honey out of my hive. It was just one of those things where I couldn't get organized enough to get it done. Cindy finally picked up some containers and I finally found a few hours to try to get the job done!

The first step in extracting our honey was to get the bees out of the way! What I do is take the boxes (supers) full of honey and bees and set them aside and on their sides. When the 'hive' is re-orientated on its side and exposed to the light and open air, they will vacate. At the same time, I replace the full supers with empty ones to give the bees room to start filling comb again. After I take the full boxes off and tip them on their sides, I simply wait for a couple hours to let the residents get out of the way!

The next step was to actually take the honey from the comb. This is the fun part. The frames are taken out of the supers one at a time and I cut the cappings off. The cappings are simply the "corks" that the bees put over the honey to let it cure and keep it safe for later. Once I have the cappings removed with a long knife, I can place the frames into the old extractor.

Once all four frames are placed into the extractor I just spin the handle for a few seconds. It doesn't take more than 30 seconds or so of spinning to get all the honey out. Once one side is extracted, I flip the frames over and spin them again to empty the other side.

Last night I only managed to get one super extracted. It was cold and rainy...about 15 degrees celcius. The honey wouldn't flow very well at that temperature and it took a long time to have it go through the sieve and into the large buckets. I need to put the raw honey into disinfected buckets to let it settle out any foreign particles and impurities. The air bubbles rise to the top and the particles fall to the bottom. In a few days, the honey will be ready to bottle.

It is amazing honey...when it is fresh you can still smell the flowers! It tastes wonderful that I can tell you!

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