Sunday, November 30, 2014

Golden Dues

Guess what we did today?!
I'll give you a clue...
  It was finally time to collect the harvest of our thousands of hard working ladies. 
This is collection day at the hive when we took the honey supers off the hive
It was such a joy to watch that golden delicousness flow
...almost made all of this summers stings worth it!
I'm not sure if it was the pregnancy hormones, lack of care, or switch from Italian to Russian bees, but they were vicious this year;
Honey taxes due date, sorry bees, we're coming to collect
I was only able to make it through one inspection sting-free. Honestly, I shouldn't complain, these ladies were really the ones working their tails off...
the average life of a honey bee during the working season is only 6 weeks
 and she gathers only 1/10th tsp. honey in her lifetime
so, it takes 10,000 bees flying a total distance of more than twice around the world
flowers from the Thomas home
and tapping two million flowers to create one pound of honey. 
We collected over 5 gallons of this labor intensive honey...
Here is a frame with the empty comb just after the honey was spun from it. 
This is last year's neatly capped honey; where it looks white, that's the beeswax capped honey.
  The first step to actually collecting the honey is to remove the capping. 
water-filled crockpot heating knives
We used a few methods this year: cutting it off with a hot knife, and puncturing it with a fork.
Once the capping was removed we swiftly placed the frames into the honey extractor.
 Then you use the help of your strapping young lad (or two) to spin the handle like mad;
the force of the spinning pulls the freshly uncapped honey out of the comb and onto the sides of the extractor where it slides down.
  Eventually you open the valve and let that beautiful golden goodness flow into a series of filters before it's ready for bottling.
Thank you ladies for letting us rob you of your winter stock,
we truly hope we left you enough fruits of your labor to make it through the winter.

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