After all the extraction and bottling I was dreading cleaning up a sticky, gooey mess. What I didn’t know was that those cute little bees clean up after themselves. If only I could train my children to do that…sigh. The photo on the left shows the sticky, honey mess table when we first put it outside. The photo on the right shows the table about five minutes later- after the memo went out that there is a free honey lunch available for all bees. Three hours later the table was completely clean and dry. They did not even leave behind one drop of honey. Very cool!
Archives for September 2014
Uncapped frames are loaded into the extractor. The extractor spins like a centrifuge and the honey is spun out the frames. The honey lands on the side of the barrel and then drips to the bottom of the extractor. Empty frames are put back into the hive where the bees will do some repair work on the comb and refill the comb with nectar. This was a really fun day!
The next step in the extraction process is to uncap the honey. When bees put nectar (which becomes the honey) into the honeycomb it is too dilute. Bees fan the honeycomb with their wings to drive off the extra water. (This is the same principle that is used when making maple syrup and the sap is boiled down.) When the moisture content reaches 18% or less the bees will put a wax cap over the honey to store it. Before you can extract the honey you have to cut off the wax caps to release the honey. This is a sticky, drippy mess. You can see me really getting into this with my big knife. The wax capping’s and honey that drips out at this point will be saved and filtered to separate the wax from the honey. Uncapped frames are then loaded into the extractor and the remaining honey (there is still lots in there after you uncap) is spun out.