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