Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Harvesting Honey Is Right Around The Corner


Hello everyone! We are David and Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms also known as www.honeybeesonline.com

WINTER-BEE-KINDS are now available online! Orders are pouring in. You In order to get ahead of the game, we have placed our Winter-Bee-Kinds online. PLEASE NOTE, orders will be shipped out starting November 1, in the order they are received. In other words, if you order your WBK this week, yours will ship the first week in November. However, if you order yours on September 1st, there will be hundreds of orders ahead of yours so you may not get your order until  . We do our best to stay caught up but the popularity of our WBKs is overwhelming.  Thank you. To order online go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/feeders/

Rain, rain, rain has been the story here in Illinois. Just when it starts to dry out and the bees start back up gathering nectar, we get more rain. However, bees are doing pretty good around the country, even here with all the rain. Honey supers are getting filled up. Clover is everywhere. There is so much clover, I just can’t bring myself to mow it!  Bees are all over it. One day my bees were enjoying a heavy nectar flow. The front of the hive was very hectic. But I just had to mow the area around the hives because it looked so unkept.  As soon as I finished mowing foraging was greatly reduced. Bees were really working the clover in my yard.

In this lesson, I want to provide some good information on harvesting honey. For some of you who are new beekeepers, you’ve never harvested honey, so we hope this information will be helpful.

Before we start the lesson, let me continue to speak about something that none of us want to talk about…WINTER. You only have less than 90 days to prepare your colonies. Bees rarely die in the spring, summer or fall. All beekeepers are happy campers watching their bees in these warm seasons. However, our disposition changes in the winter. We dread the cold weather our bees will have to endure. If you’ve kept bees for very long, you have suffered losses during the winter. Sign up for our Winter Class by clicking here or going to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/beekeeping-classes/

DANGER: If you wait until October to try to prepare your bees for winter, you’ve waited too late. Many beekeepers don’t think about whether their bees are ready for winter until after the first cold snap or hard frost. Then, they may learn the colony is queenless, or the hive has no stores of honey or pollen for winter. Worse, the beekeeper may not know that their colony is infested with varroa destructor, spreading viruses that will kill their hive in the late winter months.

winterbeekindclick If your hives are healthy but lack resources, consider overwintering your hives with our Winter-Bee-Kinds. They fit on the top of your brood nest area just under the top cover. They contain carbohydrates and protein for the bees, as well as an insulation barrier to reduce upper condensation that often develops just above the bees then drops down on them during the winter. The WBK also has an upper entrance/vent and we have found the bees often use this upper entrance to take winter cleansing flights when they would usually not go down and out the lower entrance. The come in either 8 Frame or 10 Frames sizes. Click here for more information.

Harvest Honey

1. Make sure the frames are 90%+ capped over or sealed. Anything less can result in a higher moisture content in the honey and can cause your honey to ferment and taste bad.

2. You can use several methods to clear the bees out of the frame in your supers. Fume boards, bee escapes placed in inner covers under a super, brushing bees off or blowing them can be effective.

3. Prepare your area. Have a clean extractor, knife, buckets and strainers ready.

4. Most of us use the wood on the frame as a guide for cutting the comb, allowing us not to cut too deeply into the comb as we slice open the wax cappings on the frames.

5. Spin out the honey in your extractor. If you are using all wax foundation (not plastic inserts) be careful not to spin to fast until much of the honey is out. Otherwise it will “blow out” the combs.

6. For small jobs, place a 5 gallon food grade bucket under your extractor gate (valve) and place a strainer on the inside top of your bucket. We use a 400 micron strainer.

7. Make sure your bucket also has a gate on the bottom because you want to let your honey sit a few days before bottling. Bubbles rise to the top of honey, making the lower part very clean and clear.

To assist you further, watch my video below for more detailed information and detailed visualization of the process.

Also, we have several past lessons that talk about different aspects of honey harvest. Here’s a list:

Using A Refractor To Test Moisture Content In Honey

How To Extract Honey From A Hive

How To Make Comb Honey

Thanks for joining us today!
Give us a call for all your beekeeping needs.