Thursday, September 13, 2012

Honey, Phacelia and the dearth!

Hi, Well I have completed my honey harvest in the first week of September and sorry for not posting sooner but I have been just so busy of an evening.
The harvest was very small but it is of excellent quality.

I harvested 6 honey supers, but none of them were full and ended up with 33 pots of honey.Thats just over 16 kilos.
It may sound a lot but after you have given a pot of honey to everyone who called you to collect a swarm in their garden, or friends who had swarm traps in their gardens, you don`t have a lot left, but the quality of the honey this year is extremely good. I dont have a moisture meter but I think it is borderline on the high water content and it is very runny, but it tastes soooo good!

I have some pictures of the extraction method.

Decapping: This is the slicing off of the top wax cap of the honey comb to reveal the honey beneath.

Please excuse this old picture, during my first honey harvest.

The wax capings then are left to be washed at a later date, with the water from the washings fed back to the bees. The wax of course is of excellent quality and reasonably pure and needless to say has endless uses. 

Next the frames are loaded in to the extractor. Depending on the size of your extractor, then the more frames you can spin at once.

 This is an electric radial spinner, so the frames don`t need to be moved around and spun each side, they are still spun in both directions.

Short Video of the machine in operation.

 Hey presto, Honey comes out of the bottom. It goes directly through 2 grades of sieves and in to a bucket for collection. From there it goes in to a maturator or settling tank, where all the tiny bubbles come to the surface over a few days and then its finally ready for jarring or bottling up.
This years honey should stay as a liquid for a long time before it finally starts to crystalize towards next spring.

 The late summer dearth has arrived.

The summer dearth has arrived, with only a very few flowers around. We have had a few, very dry weeks since it stopped raining in mid july and subsequently the gound is like concrete.
Fortunately, the phacelia I sowed at the end of the rains, came up quickly and is now in full flower.
My bees love it and its a joy to watch this blue swath alive with bees of all kinds, not just honey bees.

The ivy should start to flower in earnest around the end of next week so my bees will have had a good  food source, just when they needed it. After the ivy has finished the bees start to rely on the reserves they have got stored away, because theres not a lot  around until the hazel  and willow start flowering in february. Autumn is starting to draw its golden blanket and things are starting to loose their summer colours,

Bees On Phacelia

Tomorrow I am off to try some Bee lining , and ancient method of finding wild bee nests. I only want to find them so I can place my traps at the right distance from them next year, in the hope of optimising my swarm catching chances.