After staying up way too late to watch election returns and getting up really early for an update, I am pushing on with my day. I trust the election process and the folks who are faithfully counting each vote. Thank you to all of you who have participated in this democratic process.
I am switching my attention from democracy to monarchy for the rest of the day and, honestly, for the rest of the week. The queen bees in the apiary have been working hard all season, we've had a few soft frosts and a prolonged hard frost with snow. Now we have a little weather reprieve with sun and temperatures in the 50s and 60s for the next 5 to 7 days. Soooo, it's time to harvest.
Harvesting honey is a process. Here is what's happening:
Tuesday (yesterday): I set up the honey harvesting station in my shed. It includes a long table surface on two saw horses with a good place for uncapping the honey into a lined trash can. I am up cycling the counter top from my bathroom (now under renovation) which has a hole for the sink in it perfect for managing honey frames. The station also includes a heater, to keep the honey flowing as nighttime temperatures dip. Most importantly, the station includes a new centrifuge that handles 15 full beehive frames at a time, spinning out honey from both sides simultaneously. It is electric. It is new. Stay tuned for video updates @xoxofarmgirl on Instagram stories. Previously, I used a three frame manual centrifuge that handled spinning out one side at a time.
Wednesday (today): The plan is to remove all of the supers from the hives. The super is where the bees store extra honey. This is what we harvest. The supers are heavy. They are also heavily guarded by bees. This will involve a smoker, a full beekeeping suit (of armor), several hive tools, an extraction lid sprayed with almond scent, the sun (this is the sunniest day of the week... thank you for your help, Mother Nature), some muscle (the supers are super heavy), my Gator and a leaf blower to help the bees let go of their stores. I will report back on how it goes.
Thursday, Friday: These days will be dedicated to uncapping and spinning out the honey. I have two special tools for uncapping. One is a hot knife that melts of the comb face and the other is an uncapping tool that scrapes them off with sharp knives all lined up. I have cleaned several 5-gallon buckets, where the honey will go after it is spun out. Each bucket gets a strainer on top to weed out any debris, wax and bee parts.
Saturday/Sunday: If all goes well, the honey from the buckets will go into jars over the weekend. The first batch of jars have been through a sanitizing cycle in the dishwasher and the others are due to arrive today. This is a tedious and sticky process.
Monday/Tuesday: Depending on when all the supplies arrive to package the honey for all of the CSB members, the jars will be labeled and packed in boxes and labeled for their new homes.
Any of these times and days could slip a little. I will keep you posted. YOU are welcome and encouraged to stop by to help with any part of this process. It's fun and it's certainly more fun with folks. Today is the most "dangerous" part, i.e., where the bees will be mad and very motivated to sting. I have one extra bee suit. It's yours if you want it. The rest of the days are just labor and should be relatively mad bee free.
More soon. Check instagram.com/xoxofarmgirl on "stories" for live updates.
xoxo The Bee Lady 🐝