First Honey Harvest

I decided it was time to try harvesting a little honey.  I’m so excited!!  I’ve been trying to find out how much honey is okay to take from the bees, and I’m getting conflicting information.  Some say, “You will get very little honey your first year.”  Others say, “Harvest what you want from them as long as you leave a couple frames of honey for the bees and then feed them sugar syrup during the winter.”  Still others say, “Your bees will likely not survive the winter, so you should plan to buy new bees every spring” — in which case I could take all of the honey.

We are bound and determined to help our bees survive the winter.  I’m not sure how much control we truly have over this, but we will do our best.  In the video, I said I was only taking honey from one frame, but I will be checking on the hives as we enter September to see if there is enough extra honey for us to comfortably harvest more.

Our honey has a very colorful flavor.  I’m not sure how else to describe it because it is quite different than what you can buy in the generic labeled honey jars at the grocery store.  Our honey tastes like it has many combined flower flavors, yet it’s still light.  I’ve had it on toast, in tea, on sandwiches, and in a couple of things I’ve baked.  It’s so nice to use “homemade” honey!

As you’ll see in the video, I do not have a honey extractor (yet) so I had to let the frame sit and drip for a day and a half to get the honey out.  It is a painfully slow process and not recommended if you are in any kind of hurry to get the frame empty.  We also had to put the wax cappings in a strainer to let the honey fully drain from them, which was also slow but worked fine.  After all of the honey was drained from the frame, we poured it through a strainer to get the extra little pieces of wax out.

This beekeeping adventure sure is fun, and I am excited about the possibility of getting a couple more hives for next spring.  I’d like to be able to harvest more honey to sell and share, and of course more for our family to eat and use for cooking.  If you have any questions about getting started with beekeeping, send me an email and I will let you know how we’ve done things and point you in the direction of some very helpful resources.  Have a great Labor Day weekend!