Sticky Acres

Honey Harvest! The Speaker Bees Give Us 40 Pounds Of Honey!

My friend Laura came over last friday to help me harvest the honey out of the Speaker Bee Hive. In preparation for this event, last week I’d separated the fourteen frames of capped honeycomb from the brood comb by putting the honeycomb into the top two boxes on the hive, and adding an escape board, which is a big one way exit, between the honeycomb and the rest of the hive. (Once the house bees leave the pantry area of the hive, there is no reentry.)

Earlier this month I’d helped fellow beekeeper Sue harvest her honey and was really impressed with how effective the escape board had been. Instead of having to shake thousands of bees off each frame to harvest the honey right in front of the hive, which by the way, really pisses off the bees, we just carried the honeycomb-filled (but emptied of bees) supers across the yard and harvested all ten frames really quickly.

When Laura and I pulled the top two levels off the hive, we discovered that the Speaker Bees are a lot more tenacious than Sue’s bees. There were still hundreds of bees in each super, but it was so much better than facing the 15,000 bees that would have been working that comb had we not used an escape board. After Laura brushed the remaining bees off each frame with a bee brush, I cut the honeycomb out of each frame into a five gallon bucket. Laura then put the wet frames back into the supers. Once we’d cut the comb out of all fourteen frames, we removed the escape board and stacked the now empty, but dripping with honey, supers back onto the hive. For good measure, we added a sixth super to the very top of the hive before putting the lid back on.

Using an angled paint scraper that we’d screwed onto a tool handle, Laura mashed the honeycomb into a slurry which almost filled the five gallon bucket.

We then poured the honey (ooph!) through a paint strainer into a another five gallon bucket outfitted with a honey gate. Then came the painful wait, while gravity did its work.

Over the last four days we’ve harvested FORTY POUNDS OF HONEY and two pounds of wax! That’s all from one hive. Wow! I can’t wait until all our hives are as productive as the Speaker Bees.

The honey is fairly clear and has almost a green cast to it. It’s super pretty. Mr. Foxypants has already sold thirty jars of it at work. Maybe in three years I’ll finally break even with this hobby.

Here’s a great how-to video that shows the honey harvesting process (without an escape board) from start to finish starring the Master Backwards Beekeeper, Kirk:

One Comment

  1. Ginny
    Posted June 23, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Awesome!!! Bring some of that honey over to Jon Shestack Productions!

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