As Jackie mentioned in the last post, we were rather chuffed to recently harvest our first batch of honey.
It was quite straightforward to remove the frames, I just had to be careful to brush the bees off the frames and quickly put them in a sealed box to take away. There are nine frames in the top box which contains the honey (the lower box contains the brood – eggs and larvae). For the first harvest I took four full frames and left the rest which were not quite full. We may take two more a bit later but there is no rush. We must remember to leave some honey for the bees to eat over winter.
Here’s a photo of a frame packed with capped honey – about 1.5kgs worth.
It’s accepted that most of the honey should be capped before extraction. The frame below is only about three quarters capped but should be fine. Basically the bees mature the honey and reduce the water content to below 17% before capping it.
Generally beekeepers use a dedicated mechanical extractor to get their honey but for just four frames it wasn’t worth our while so we did it manually. After a bit of messing about and some very sticky fingers it all went surprisingly smoothly. I cut the honeycomb out of the frame and then put it in a sieve to drain out. As it was a particularly hot day the honey was very runny which made it easier. The honey that came through was amazingly clear and wax free which was good and of course, it tasted delicious!