This spring brings to a close or first year of keeping bees on the farm… and I turned out to be a pretty poor bee keeper. Our hive made it through the majority of the winter, but sometime in the last year, our entire hive died. We are sure what happened – we didn’t have a particularly bad cold spell and they had plenty of honey left.
I had decided to not collect honey from the bees last fall, that way I would not have to feed the bees sugar water all winter. Because we hadn’t harvested in the fall, there was so much honey left in the hive!
To harvest the honey, we removed the combs from the hive and set up a double boiler on the stove with a strainer covered by a pot lid set over a stainless steel bowl. We took pieces of the comb and crushed them in the strainer, letting the honey drip into the bowl over a pot of boiling water. Using a pot lid over the strainer let the comb warm up more easily, warm honey dripped quicker and made separating the honey from the comb easier.
I haven’t finished my research to figure out what we will do with the comb, but I’m hoping to make some fun candles or balm out of bees wax!
We have only harvested half of our hive and have TEN pints of honey! And since we don’t really eat sugar regularly (I wanted bees for a hobby, not necessarily for the honey), everyone we know will be getting honey from us this spring!