Hive #1 has been getting pretty full up with honey, so my mom and I went in and took out a few frames this weekend.
This is what the hive looks like on the inside.
Each box is full of frames where the bees build honeycomb, and then either they fill the comb with honey (or pollen, sometimes), or the queen bee lays eggs inside the comb and then there are new baby bees!
Here are some of the tools we use when we take the frames from the hive.
You use this to grab the frame out of the hive:
Now, bees are actually quite friendly. They land on me all the time and I’ve never been stung. But they do get a little bit annoyed when you take out honey or otherwise disrupt the hive, and the best way to get them to calm down is to put a little smoke in the hive.
It always reminds me a little of the Tin Man.
Anyway, here’s what a full frame of honey looks like:
When bees are done putting honey into comb, they cap it up, like this is, and that’s how you know it’s full.
So then the first thing you need to do is cut the caps off:
Then, you put all the frames in a honey extractor:
An extractor is basically a big metal tub, sort of like an old fashioned ice cream maker, and it has a crank which you use to spin the frames really really really fast:
And by the power of centripetal force, the honey all spins out!
The extractor has a spigot on the bottom, which you use to collect the honey into a bucket:
Or what you will. Theoretically you could collect it into a hat, or straight into your mouth.
Now, the cool thing is, you can give the empty frames right back to the bees, and they will just go fill them right back up!
Meanwhile, the honey has little bits of max and bee dirt in it, so it gets strained:
That’s the honey being poured through the strainer. We pour it through three different meshes before it’s ready.
You can tell it’s ready when it’s clarified, and when your hands are completely sticky:
We only took out four frames out of forty in our hive, and we got six POUNDS of honey. Eeee, so exciting. It’s really cool, because this honey tastes completely different from the honey we collected last fall. That honey is really rich and dark and mostly goldenrod. This honey is really light and clear and tastes like chamomile and strawberries. They’re both amazing, but in different ways.
Mirrored from Antagonia.net.