Thursday, July 12, 2007

Honey Collection [L,F]

July 3rd.

Damn That was cool! For a brief recap: Dani and her friend Lori started to keep Bee's in '05. They started with 2 hives. The main source of pollen in that area is Tulip trees - which bloom May-June. It takes at least a year before you can harvest honey. If all goes well. Bee Keeping ain't so easy. They've lost hives to "swarming" and winter warm ups.

Swarming - The hive, for a few reasons, to leave. A winter warm up - the hive uses up resources. temps drop again and the hive starves.

This summer was the first time they've been able to collect honey. You can only collect honey from a healthy, robust, 1+yr old hive. And so they had one. I didn't have my camera with me. Dammit. Got some later photos with Lori's camera. But basically they remove a frame from the hive, brush the bees off and move it to a secure location. We took six frames and moved them indoors. They were heavy but it didn't seem like much. While inside a bee had discovered a way in. The bee had to be "taken care of". Otherwise it would have gone back to the hive and we would have been swarmed. We also noticed bees congregating by an open, screened, window so we had to close it an suffer through the heat.

They are an amazing animal.

First you have to cut the wax sealant of the honeycomb with an electrically heated knife:

Then We put the frames in an Extractor and crank an arm - the honey comes out through centrifugal force.. I looked in the extractor after we cranked. didn't seem like much honey. The frames were incredibly light compared to when we put them in but it still didn't seem like much. Then we opened the valve and let all the liquid gold pour out:

Four frikken gallons from 6 frames! It was one of the neatest things I've ever been a part of. I wonder if maybe I could do it for a living. Or a partial living. Maybe. Full Bee album:


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