Monday, July 25

*Honey, we got honey!


All of us around Erilyn are whooping and hollering! We couldn't be more excited about beekeeping than we were this afternoon upon returning to the house with two frames of delicious honey!  Eric and I have been planning to check our top supra for possible capped honey. Boy, what a delight it was to open the top board and find fully capped honey cells, our gift was finished.

This week we will replace the top supra with new frames for the busy bees. We were really hopeful that the frames would be ready for harvesting, but somewhat doubtful based on the things we have read about young colonies.  Our hive has grown so much since we got it back in the spring.  When we added the second supra, I felt like we had a good chance on honey in our first season.  By the weekend we will likely have 50lbs of dark amber colored honey.


Eric has become the smoke master.  He has not protective gear on because he is not working directly with the bees.  He is usually close by, but not directly involved so he feels safe enough just wearing a long sleeve shirt.  He is also my eyes and my careful guide when I need it.  I have got the moving slow part down really well.  In fact, when I put get all suited up, I switch into a different gear - SLOW. 

Mr. & Mrs. Beekeepers

Just look at that full frame!!!! Maneuvering this heavy frame with the gloves is not as easy as it might look.  I work carefully, and very meticulously all the while the gloves really make the job harder- perhaps safer, but harder. I am trying to work my BRAVE up enough so I can go to the hive under regular maintenance glove less.  If you look in the background you will see a container with pebbles in it as well as water. This container serves as our bees water source, a safe place for them to get water and not drown in the process.  Before we put this out for the bees we were finding numerous honey bees floating in our pool daily.


Momma was there with a clean plastic garbage bag for us to slip the frame into until we were ready to leave the area.  I had to give the frame several hard shakes to get the bees off. Many flew off, but some were more difficult remove.  I had to lightly flick them off the frame in order to rob them of their precious honey. We ended up with two live bees in the bag, which we set free when we got up to the house when we took the frames out of the bag.

Here we are putting the top board back for now. We still need to harvest the other 8 frames in this supra.  I am so glad we only took two the first time around. It was a lot of work. Exciting. Interesting. Joyful too!  We are an awesome team!   NO stings to day at all!

Let me encourage you - if you don't already keep bees, look into starting a colony next spring!  We have no idea what we are doing and we are harvesting our first supra of honey just 4 months after getting our hive started.  Mind you, we are NOT taking the surplus food supply that our sweet bees will need to weather the fall and winter months, but the other supra. The bees are keeping busy these days most likely with the blooms on the many, many Crepe Myrtles all around our neighbors property as well as a few on our property.

When we opened the top board on the hive we found 15 to 20 (visible to us) Hive Beetles.  We saw these little beetles skittering around and had no idea what they were or why they were there. Upon a bit of research, we found that these critters can be little to great harm based on the strength of the hive. Either way I will be paying Mr. Bundrick a visit tomorrow to get something to take care of the beetles that are known to be deadly to Florida bee hives. We don't want to take any chances.

We did harvest the honey in our spacious kitchen, um.... I think every surface in that kitchen was covered with sweet honey and wax.  With this having been our first time in claiming and harvesting honey, we were totally inexperienced in every step even though we had read everything "bee" that we could get our hands on. 


Here momma is helping scrap the honey off of the frame into a pot with as strainer in place. 

We ended up with about 10lbs of honey from two frames!  If the rest of the frames go this well, we will end up with about 50 lbs of honey this year!  This will help balance out the cost of investment made earlier this spring to get us started in keeping bees.


Stay tuned for more updates on our "Erilyn Honey Harvest Summer 2011".  (all photo credits go to my nephew Skyler, he did a great job didn't he!?)

11 comments:

  1. Whoop Whoop! Hooray! I am so excited for you. I am all smiles at my computer this morning. The honey looks awesome, make sure to tell us how it tasted. I have always been intrigued as to how to get different flavors of honey :)

    You rock girl and the Farmer's at Erilyn rock too!

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  2. That's SO EXCITING! The honey jar in the light is truly beautiful. And after getting stung Saturday on the bottom of my foot I have an even more appreciation for your skill!

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  3. What a great job you did- and how exciting! :)
    Heather @Mountain Home Quilts

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  4. WOW!!! The Lord really is blessing your farm!!!
    Trina

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  5. Beautiful honey! I've got beekeeping on my long list of things to do. I am so encouraged by these types of posts. It makes me think I might be able to pull it off. Thanks! Patti

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  6. Wonderful... Your hard work ( and the Bee's too ) paid off! Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing this post on the Farmgirl Friday hop!
    Please update your link to my new blog address : www.deborahjeansdandelionhouse.blogspot.com

    Thanks for reading,
    Deb

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  7. Nice post. Beautiful honey too. Enjoy!

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  8. What a lovely color of honey! My bees had a rough start this summer so I'm holding on to only a slim chance that I'll get any to harvest this year. Enjoy your sweet reward! :)

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  9. What a great story and your nephew is a wonderful photographer. I really enjoyed reading about your adventures in beekeeping. That honey looks heavenly. Congrats on your success and hard work.

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  10. I loved reading this! So exciting and that honey looks delish!

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  11. How exciting!! Thanks for following my little quilt blog. (www.whatahootquilts.blogspot.com) We also are a military family in Florida - near Eglin up on the panhandle. We're not neighbors, are we? That would be wild. :)

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I enjoy your comments. Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts!