The Beehive: Beekeeping has sweat equity and sweat
Welcome back to the Beehive.
As I mentioned in the last article, the honey harvest of 2011 has begun.
Brenda and I have been very busy collecting the surplus honey from the hives. We have harvested approximately 50 supers and we figure that we are just about half done.
Once we have the supers back at the honey house, we heat the extracting room up to 90 degrees. This makes for a very hot working environment, but it is necessary to heat the honey up, so it flows easily out of the honeycomb while being extracted.
I have included several pictures that will allow you folks to see the entire process from taking the honey from the bees, to watching the honey come out of the extractor. The first picture shows Brenda and me breaking a hive down.
We remove all the surplus supers that have frames of capped honey. Then we shake and brush all the bees off each frame. The frames are then placed back into the empty supers and covered right away to keep the bees from trying to reclaim the honey. The supers are then transported back to our honey house.
Once the supers are approximately 90 degrees, I uncap the frames using an electric hot knife. Once the frame is uncapped, it is placed in the extractor. The extractor I have holds 20 frames at a time.
The extractor is then turned on. The extractor is a centrifuge, which uses centrifugal force to spin the honey out of the comb. The honey then hits the inside wall of the extractor, where it runs down to the bottom, where it comes out of a valve.
The honey is immediately run through a double filter and then into 5 gallon buckets.
Honey's density is heavier than water; a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds. A gallon of honey weighs 12 pounds. Therefore, a 5 gallon bucket full of honey weighs approximately 60 pounds.
Next time we'll talk about bottling the honey and getting it ready for you the customer. We will also talk about how we render the bees wax and what it is used for.
Thanks again for your interest.