Thursday, August 4

*abundant harvest over flowing

I have said this before and I will say it again, we NEVER thought we would have honey to harvest this year.  God has really blessed our hive to literal over flowing! Even the local bee master, Mr. Bundrick is surprised that we got 50lbs of honey from our hive that we started the second week of May.  He had a nuc prepared for us the weekend of Easter, but Henry and I flew out to North Carolina to help pack up the rest of our things and finish our move.  Upon returning we were exhausted for several weeks, as you might imagine!  We finally followed through with a call and Mr. Bundrick came out to set up our hive mid May of this year!

We were supposed to finishing taking the honey this weekend but some of my family members were here visiting, so we put it off until Tuesday.  Henry and I went out on Tuesday morning, smoker in hand, with full gear on, ready to finish the job we started last week.  We took 10 frames full of honey, stirred up the bees and worked the rest of the afternoon away processing honey. Henry's help during this whole process was invaluable.  Eric usually helps with all the hive operations, but you have to work a hive in the middle of the day and Eric would not be off again until Saturday.  Hence, we have no pictures while working the hive.  I do wish we had a picture of when Henry had to leave the area because a single bee got after him. I assure you he did NOT look as silly as I must have looked the day I ran crazily away from several bees that were chasing me.  No stings again today! WOOT!

We have to do just a few things as regular maintenance on the hive this weekend.  Once these precautionary measure have been put in place, we will not make any changes on the hive until Spring 2012.

Henry is starting the extraction process. Mr. Bundrick has two extractors he lends out to his customers when harvest time arrives.  

Surely you can see that harvest time has arrived!  I would take each frame from the hive, give it a hard shake up and down to dispel any bees that were on the frame working when I pulled it from the box.  Any bees that were still on the frame had to be gently flicked off.  When you have the frame bee free, success has been reached.  The next step is to get that frame into a container or a clean plastic garbage bag.  

You can see the comb that the bees attached to the bottom of this frame. I had removed one of the frames in the box below the top one to give the more room (because I had read to do this.. don't do it!!) The bees made a beautiful comb but it cause chaos in your hive.  

Henry looked pained as he tasted the honey, but he really was enjoying it. He later told me he ate way too much honey and that he felt sick. 

Inside the rim of the home made extractor you see the delectable honey spinning out of the frames. 

Again, a good view of the honey being pulled out by force of the centrifugal extraction device. 

Like I said before, Henry's help was indispensable to me on this day.  We both took turns working the extractor. It was my turn to work the camera.  

Here Henry opens the spout for the first jar to be filled.  Oh what a day! 

The wax from this extraction was minimal, but what we are able to clean out will be used for lip balms.  We have made lip balms in the past with some success, but we hope to make a far superior product with the wax that our young bees have provided. 

Ah, I gotcha! Proof that you were eating wax filled honey since it is on your chin.  He looks a little intoxicated doesn't he. It is the honey, I'm telling you.  He had way too much. 

We will not have comb to put in our jars of honey as a general rule, but since I had created that mess in the hive by removing that frame, we used what we harvested in a few jars. I think having a bit of the intricately designed honey comb in the jars makes them simply beautiful.  A work of art! 

This particular jar reminds me of the honey we used to see at my grandpa's and grandma's when we would visit. Momma told me that Granddaddy used to rob the bees in the wild and this is what their jars of honey looked like. 

I visited the hive the evening after we took the honey.  This is normal activity if the hive is full and they are trying to keep the queen cooled. I am a bit concerned that I may need to put a supra back on for the bees but Mr. Bundrick told us when we harvested the honey to go ahead and take the supra off until Spring.  What you see here is now their hive. We are going to give the supra (the smaller box on top)  to the queen as well so she can use it for brood or whatever she desires.  We will remove the queen extractor (the silver sliver) this weekend, which currently sits between the hive box (larger bottom one) and the supra (above it)

We set the extracted frames (and the supra box) about 100 feet from the hive so the bees will be drawn to it and clean it up. Once they have cleaned it up we will store it inside the barn until next spring. Then we will do it all over again!

Sharing over at Deborah Jean's Dandelion's blog hop.


  1. Mary & I enjoyed these pics so much. She learned a lot too from your post. She especially liked the part about the lip balm making.Those were some hard working bees, you & Henry did a great job. Tell Hen love the glasses. Mary said it looked like Henry had man hands. When I told her he had glasses she jumped up to see his pic saying "I haven't seen my bubby in so long."

  2. Amazing. Made me want to go get some honey...

  3. No, Heidi - Go get a hive of bees!!! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Thanks so much for this post. We are planning to get our hives this winter and bees next spring, so we are trying now to learn all we can about them. We just got Storey's Guide to Beekeeping...would you recommend any other books or sites? Also, we plan to meet with our local beekeeping club next month. I'm sure we'll learn more from local people than what we can read in books, anyway. Thanks again for this informative's going in my beekeeping bookmarks! - Amy

  5. Amy, thanks for stopping by! I would recommend this one book: First Lessons in Beekeeping by Keith Delaplane. It is wonderfully written and has been very helpful to us. Mother Earth News also puts out a lot of great info on beekeeping as well. You will find that some advise to do this.. and some that.. you will have to experiment and find out what works best for you as you travel down this road. Oh, one other site or forum that has been very helpful (and its free!) ! Love this site! I look forward to reading your adventures in bee"keeping" too!

  6. that is absoluetly amazing! love this post and all the photos. i always wondered how you extract honey and your pictures educated me well! thanks! I am your newest follower btw :0)

  7. I've always admired your ability to stay "busy as a bee." So far away yet still you teach me, dear friend.

  8. Georgia thanks for following! We extracted honey from two of the frames a week prior to this with the scrap and separate method. I did write a post on that as well, I think it is entitled Honey, we got honey! Check it out. I would say that both are equally messy, and both equally get the job done. With the extractor you can use your frames again and give the bees some what of a head start with the wax mostly in place with some repair needed.. but they don't need our help in this.. they produce the wax so .. either way they are set.

    Trish! So nice to see you "here". Thanks for stopping by. And we have been busy as a bee. My life prior to living here was nothing (as far as busyness goes). I am enjoying each moment of it! Miss all my NC friends! Love to each of you!

  9. Love the honeycomb pieces in the jar of honey. It is beautiful!


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