Last week we talked about Preparing The Hive For Harvest. And in my Beginning Beekeeper’s Series we’ve talked about everything from becoming NewBEES, obtaining your bees, caring for them and more. Links to all of those articles are below for your convenience.
But now? Oh now we’re going to take that sweet honey from frame to bottle!
We have several hives in our small apiary. Here in NE Texas, we typically harvest our honey around the first week of July. It’s hot, sticky work that’s for sure. But there’s much more to getting that honey harvest than just strolling out to the hives.
Spring is an exciting time in beekeeping. The bees are finally able to get out of the hive & forage from the blooming plants. The hives grow by leaps and bounds this time of year too. It’s a good time to split the hives to keep them from becoming too crowded.
But spring is also a time when some hives will swarm. Sometimes when we capture a swarm we put the bees into an empty deep hive box with frames and let them get busy. But sometimes so many swarms are caught that we don’t have a deep hive box available. Let’s make some 5-frame nuc boxes for temporary housing for them. They’re super quick to put together & you can build four nuc boxes with a single sheet of plywood!
RancherMan & I have a small apiary. The bees are fascinating creatures & invaluable in making sure my garden gets pollinated. Plus they offer up that sweet delight during our summer honey harvest as well. In our area of NE Texas the honey harvest is usually done the first week in July.
But we don’t simply decap the honeycomb to get to the honey. We go ahead & scrape the frames down. After we extract the honey we turn our attention to that gorgeous natural beeswax!
Around the end of March RancherMan & I start thinking about splitting our beehives. Splitting a hive accomplishes 2 things – it expands the number of hives in your apiary. (yea!) But it also gives the bees a little elbow room by putting empty frames in each hive allowing for expansion.
You see, if the bees get to thinking things are too cramped, they’ll swarm looking for more space. And that’s something no beekeeper wants since there’s been lots of time & effort into managing their apiary. We did our splits by swapping empty frames for full ones. It was easy!
Sunflowers & honeybees – Two of my favorite things in one shot!
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