Friday, October 22, 2010

How sweet it is!

Finally the big day arrived. I had given up on helping someone so I could learn how to extract and decided to do it myself. I reckoned that it was not rocket science but whatever it was, I would make several mistakes anyway. So I looked on the Internet and watched a video or three and started getting everything ready.
Naturally, whenever I either get ready or start to do things, there are untold interruptions. I dealt with those and got my jars ready to boil. That only took about three times longer than it would a normal person. I boiled jars until they all screamed in surrender. I boiled jars until they all screamed in surrender.
I had taken the supers off the two hives and had checked them earlier. I sat them on flat boards with plywood covering the top so whatever bees were buzzing around couldn't get in. I had covered and placed newspapers on & under before placing the wood on/under them.
After boiling the jars I went back out and discovered one of the super boxes was not flat and bees were coming and going just like normal. Now having bees in your extracting area fighting you for the honey is not my idea of a grand ol' time so i fixed that and went back in the house.  I tried to get everything in the garage setup so I would be ready when the bees were cleared from the frames in the supers.

I took my leaf blower and blew out bees from the pink hive super frames. It worked fairly well altho the bees could hold on even in a 200 MPH wind. But... I did get most of them gone.
Lo! and BEHOLD! lightning started flashing and it was getting one towards dark. The two supers from the ..old hive were still full of bees. I was less successful on getting rid of them than the pink hive. So- I decided to wait.
I arranged a place to put the frames until I could start the extraction. Then it started raining and I knew that if I chased the bees out in the rain they would probably die. I had to wait until the next morning so I made a space between the hives so the bees could escape and go home.
That must have worked as the next morning there were almost no bees in any of the supers. I brushed them away with the bee brush very early the next morning while they were still yawning.
Then I made an unnecessary trip for jar lids, as it turned out, and had everything ready. There are some people, or maybe at least one person, in the world who is more messy than me. That is possible but not entirely true.
I cut the tops off and honey ran all over everything - or so it seemed. I had to scrape the knife constantly to get off the wax & honey. I kept the knife in hot water while not using it so it would cut through the wax better.
The pink hive frames were not as full as the old (west) hive's frames so cutting them was a major pain. I worked until quite late and gave up for the evening. I started again early the next morning getting the hives outside checked to make sure they were in the proper configuration and everything was fine. Then I started again.
I cut the "caps" off both sides of the frames of honey, doing two frames and then placed them in the extractor. It is a large, galvanized cylinder that has a wire basket inside. A handle is placed on the top cross bar on the gears. You spin the basket with the frames in it so as to force out the honey. After about the tenth frame it becomes a little harder as it is hard to get started. After about two minutes of spinning it starts to become easier as the honey is thrown out. Then you turn the frames around with the other side out and start spinning again. This takes time.     Lots of it. Next year I will have a much better idea of what to do and possibly what not to do.
Wednesday morning I started to fill containers. I had much more honey than I thought I would which is a YAHOOO thing. I won't have enough to sell this year but it looks promising for next year. If all three hives produce we should have a little left over for selling.
No, I think I will split one hive and buy another. That would be two hives producing honey and three hives to grow. Then the next year there would be five hives to produce honey.
Unless I decide to split another hive.
How sweet it is!