There is so much to say about honey, that I needed to write a second blog about it.
I get asked this same question, over and over and over. "Oh, you make honey?" and I always answer...
"No, I do not ......My Bees do."
So many people do not think about, or maybe do not know, all that goes into that bottle of honey that they have in their cupboard. Most people do not know that the bees make the honey from different nectars that they get from different flowers.
Yes, that's right! They collect nectar from flowers and bring it back to their hive. They fan the nectar with their wings to dry it and add special enzymes to make it into honey.
When you look at honey in the hive, it is stored in six sided cells and then capped over with wax. The drying and the capping is what makes honey last FOREVER!!
TIME TO SHARE IN THE BOUNTY!!
By keeping a check on the Supers, the beekeeper knows when the nectar flow has stopped. The frames are just not being filled up anymore. Instead, the bees are going about the task of drying the honey and cappping it off with a coating of wax. The bees also make this wax.
When the honey is all covered with wax caps, it is time for the beekeeper to determine how much of that honey he/she can take. A beekeeper never wants to take all the honey that the bees gather. If they do, the bee would starve from lack of food. A responsible beekeeper always leaves plenty of honey for the bees. After all, they are the ones that worked so diligently, day after day to make it. The bees are gracious enough to share that bounty with me....the Beekeeper.
TAKING HONEY OFF OF THE HIVES
I chose a sunny day to take the Supers of honey off of the hives. I want many of the bees to be out foraging.
I also chose a day when my husband can help me. The Supers are very heavy. Each one can be 20-30 pounds and taking them off of a hive that might have 4 or 5 Supers on it, I need someone with strength to lift them.
The Supers are also full of bees. I use a product that does not harm the bees to push them down out of the Super and into the main hive. This product smells like almonds. I think it smells great, but the bees do not like the smell and retreat to lower parts of the hive. I use what is called a "Fume Board" It is a board that has a cloth towel or an absorbent material attached to it. I spray the "almond smelling" solution on the material and place it on the top Super. I wait about 10 minutes and remove the super from the hive. I place the fume board back on the next Super, to continue the process. If there are any bees left in the Super that I just removed, I blow them out with a leaf blower. It doesn't hurt the bees. I then use something to cover the Super that I just removed so that bees do not go back into the Super. They are always very curious about where their honey is going!
I continue this process until all the Supers that I am going to harvest are safely on my truck bed. The Supers then go immediately into my kitchen where I start the extraction process.
Above is a picture of my extractor. I must remove the wax capping from the honey frames in order to spin the honey out with centrifugal force.
AS PURE AS IT GETS!!!
After the honey is spun out of the frames, it flows through a very tight filter that removes all the unwanted things (pieces of wax, bee parts, etc.) and into a honey holding tank. My extractor has all of these things so that I can bottle it directly from the holding tank.
Honey that is processed in this manner is pure honey. You never want pasteurized honey, as heat is used in that process and destroys all the good things in honey
BOTTLING AND LABELING
From the holding tank, I pour the just extracted honey into the bottles. I like the squeeze, drip proof bottles and so do my customers.