Monday, May 14, 2012

Honey Harvest May 2012

Over the last two and half years I have taken very little honey out of my hive, probably no more than two frames on two occasions.   When Laura and Randy helped me inspect my hive in March, ( there was lots of empty comb but no other problems in the hive.  Within two weeks the hive exploded with many more bees working every day.  With six hive bodies on the hive it was time to explore and harvest some honey so the bees would have plenty of room and not swarm.
Randy showed up again to man the cameras and offer the occasional third hand when I needed it.  Most important is the mental support of having someone else there to offer advise if you need it

Before going in I added a little smoke into the top two supers but the bees were incredibly calm during most of the operation.   The top super #6 had some comb and a few bees, it was set aside quickly

The smoke sent the bees down and we could see the good looking comb on all of the frames in super #5

This hive is a propolis producer in a big way every nook and cranny is always well sealed, sometimes annoying so when I am trying to extract a frame.
Gorgeous. This was the front end frame, things were looking up.  It was set aside on the frame holder to leave space to work the other frames
Frame #2 was just as pretty.  Note the Blue Gloves.   Randy found them at Home Depot.  They are thicker and more sting proof than standard yellow kitchen gloves but have a more tactile feel than the leather bee gloves, thanks Randy

#3 had less honey on the frame, typical for bees.  The honey goes on the outside of the hive and serves as insulation and food stores.

#4 was much the same, for the first pass through I slipped the frames back into the hive in the original order.

#6 had a few drone cells but was mainly honey. That is not a gang sign for bees.  In the video I was signalling that this was frame #7 and that is the last two of seven fingers flashed.

Opposite side of #6

#7 and the full frames of honey were back

I cut out the comb leaving a 1/2 inch or so along the starter strip and placed it back into the hive in the position where it was. I took four or five frames of honey out of super #5

Super #4 had frames that were sealed very tight.  The first frame separated when I was trying to get it out.  Once I got the #2 frame out I was able to remove #1 and then replace it with a new frame.

A couple of the frames had cross comb which came apart with the frame was lifted out.  I cleaned those up some and returned them to the hive.
The bees were still very calm, generally moving to the back of the hive and out of the way.  There was a large mass of bees around the entrance but they stayed there, very little aggressive activity with the hive

After collecting 3-4 frames of honey from super #4, I put the hive back together and hauled my booty off to the garage. I may be able to get it bottled today. 

Randy took some videos too but one was 21 minutes long.  I need to do some editing on the videos and will post them later.  That may take a couple of weeks, my normal net connection does not handle large files easily.  I have a MyFi hot spot that works well but I am close to my data limit for the month so any file transfers will have to wait until the next billing period.

A fine haul of original honey from The Dale with a big assist from Randy.