Sunday, September 13, 2009

My First Honey Harvest!

Well the weather was gorgeous this weekend and so I got some honey!!! In fact I got about 17 pounds in all!!! Brilliant! I’m letting the honey stand for a couple of days before putting it in jars, so that any air bubbles in it are removed.

I have to offer up a big thank you to Eugene, who also harvested at our house today. He supplied the equipment and, of course, the know-how. In no small way he made sure I got the honey I wanted! The slideshow opposite shows some of what we got up to…

I’m amazed at just how fantastic my girls are and have been, and what they have managed to do since I moved them into their hive only 5 months ago! They really have been as busy as, well bees really! To think that on 18 April 2009 I literally dumped about 10,000 workers (along with a few drones) and a Queen into a single hive box with just 9 frames of foundation and a division board feeder, and here I am a few short months later with a thriving hive of 50,000 bees and what seems like a ton of honey!

All I did was feed them for about 5 weeks and then just sit back and let them do what they do best. In just over 4 weeks I had new bees hatching, in about 8 weeks they had filled two hive boxes with brood and honey and I was able to add 2 supers to the hive. They slowed a little over the summer as most of the significant nectar flow stopped in June but they still managed to put a little something away for me.

Just to shed a little perspective on the whole enterprise, I read that a bee, in its short life, will forage for about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey; that it takes visits to about 2 million flowers to make 1 lb of honey, and the hive (as a whole) must travel in excess of 55,000 miles just to make one pound of honey. The numbers really stack up when you consider a hive can produce 100lbs of honey in a season. Now that’s impressive!

So, what is my honey like? Well it’s quite dark in colour and has quite a floral taste with just a hint of lemons. Well that’s what I think. With any luck some of you will provide me with your own descriptions! I really believe it really does taste superior to any other honey I have tasted – even stuff I have had from other beekeepers. It just goes to show you what blinkered self interest can do to your taste buds!

Bee Lucky

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