Saturday, September 28, 2013

My school is having a fundraiser.  I will be their with an Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project selling honey.  My honey will be $6 for a one pound jar and $11 for a two pound jar.  I have both Clover and Wildflower honey for sale.  It is open to everyone. There will be food for purchase and lots of great vendors.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Extracting Honey

On Saturday we spent the day extracting honey.  First we took the supers off the hive and got all the frames we thought were ready to be extracted.  You look for most of the honey to be capped.  The bees know when the moisture level is right.  I think it is 18.6% or lower moisture for Grade A.  Jim from Nature's Nectar tested our honey for us and it was at 15.6%.  The lower the number the better.

We first put down a small sheet of plywood and then put an empty super on it with a screen on top.  Then we pull the good frames of honey and gently brush the bees off the frame.  It helps to do it quick because the bees will fly back onto the frames.  Then we took the screen off the empty super and quickly put the brushed off frame full of honey in and then put the screen back on.  We kept doing that until we were done.  The bees we brushed off ended up on the ground but they eventually flew back to the hive.  Maybe next time we should brush them off over other frames of bees.  They seem to stay on the frames better.

Sunrise at the apiary
Brushing the bees off the honey
Quickly putting the frame without the bees into an empty super with a screen

This is what a frame full of capped honey looks like.  The cells are slightly angled up which helps the bees keep the honey in.
Me and a nearly full frame of capped honey.
We used an uncapper and that was hard to use.  Next year I want to get a hot uncapping knife.  Jim had one at Nature's Nectar and that was easier to use.  It was like cutting butter.  
Uncapping the wax from the frame
Filtering the wax caps from the honey.

Working the bees in the late evening

State Fair Results

Did good at the Minnesota State Fair this year.

Me in front of the Honey display.  Mine is the 3rd from the right.

Junior Division Honey at the State Fair.  I took 1st in the white/light honey.
Thumbs up!
I also entered a picture and got 2nd place for that.

Mom entered a picture and got 2nd place in the adult division for pictures of honey.

Wax Melter

Last weekend we built a Solar Wax Melter.  We built it so we could melt wax that we collect from uncapping and use it for things.  It can be used to make candles, chapstick, and soap. 

Here are 66 more uses for beeswax (from
1) lubricant for very old furniture joints.
2) Smooth movement for doors and windows.
3) Prevents bronze items from tarnishing.
4) Use as a rust prevention.
5) Furniture polish when mixed with linseed oil and mineral spirits in equal parts.
6) Covering cheeses and preservatives to protect from spoilage. 
7) Conditioner for wood bowls and cutting boards.
8) Coat nails and screws to prevent wood from splintering.
9) Used by NASA with an enzyme to mop up oceanic oil spills. - In case you have an ocean and an oil spill
10) Coat reeds for woodwinds to get a tight fit.
11) Egg painting in a Ukraine folk art of Pysanky.
12) An essential ingredient in Indian art of fabric dyeing called Batik printing.
13) Candles that don’t drip and have no smoke.
14) In candy like gummy bears, worms and jelly beans.
15) To water proof leather.
16) Molten beeswax to polish granite counter tops.
17) To make crayons.
18) With palm oil for soap.  The palm oil reduces scars and the wax a natural moisturizer.
19) Mix with palm wax for a natural hair remover. 
20) To reduce bow string friction.
21) on whips to water proof.
22) Wire pulling.
23) Sewing to strengthen the thread and prevent snagging.
24) To fill seams between pieces of slate when setting up a pool table.
25) As a flexible mold for a variety of mediums.
26) Clean your clothes Iron.
27) In glass Etching.
28) To make earplugs.
29) To make Dental floss.
30) For cracked animal hooves.
31) When making cosmetics.
32) When making chocolates.
33) Removing previous waxes.
34) In Blacksmithing.
35) To coat Baking pans for smooth exit of goods.
36) To make balms.
37) Barbeque preparation.
38) When making healing salves, creams and ointments.
39) Use in pharmaceuticals.
40) As a polish for shoes and floors.
41) To unsticking drawers.
42) Keep zippers moving smoothly.
43) To water proof boots and saddles.
44) To coat hand tools to prevent rust.
45) To relief pain, swelling (inflammation)
46) In fragrances in perfumes.
47) To seal documents.
48) Blended with pine rosin to serve as an adhesive.
49) In the embalming process.
50) As a stabilizer in the military explosive Torpex.
51) A natural Air purifier.
52) Glazing of fruits and vegetables.
53) Chewing beeswax can help quit the habit of smoking.
54) In the restoration of pictures.
55) Wax fly fishing lines so they float.
56) To keep saws sharp.
57) Grinding and polishing of optical lenses.
58) To seal and polish smoke fired pottery.
59) Used on snow skies for a good glide.
60) Used for base ring for toilets (in the past).
61) Saturate cardboard with beeswax and use as a fuel for a backpackers fuel for stove.
62) Beeswax candle as emergency heat when trapped in a car or small space.
63) Temporary filling until you can see your dentist.
64) To seal stick matches to stay dry when boating, fishing or skiing.
65) To prevent slippage for belts in vacuums and sewing machines.
66) As a wood filler

We built our melter out of two old screen door windows we had sitting around and some scrap wood.  We also spray painted the inside black to make it heat up faster.  It took most of the weekend to build because it was really hot and humid out.  We also were trying to use plans from the Internet and then we gave up and just started building.

Finished Solar Wax Melter

Wax melting

The wax melts at around 144 degrees F and gets discolored if you go above 185 degrees F.  Beeswax is very flammable.  Here are three one ounce molds we made. 


Last Sunday (August 28th) we applied the last Hopguard treatment.  We used Hopguard to get rid of the Varroa mites.  Reducing the number of mites now will help the bees go into the winter stronger.  The bees don't seem to like Hopguard.  They get cranky when we get out the stuff.

Dad and I putting the last set of Hopguard strips in.