Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March Extraction.

March 2014 and I have had the first proper extraction from hive number 1.  Husband says I need to number them so that when I have lots a few more it will be easier to know what needs doing with which hive.  So, Hive number 1 was extracted.

Here it is amongst the bushes, easier to get to now after I cut them back a bit and cleared the long grass.  It has a bigger bottom box, the Brood Box.  It is where the Queen lives and lays her brood and we will not extract this box.  We have an excluder on this box so the Queen cannot get up into the top boxes and that saves having to keep an eye out for her whenever we remove any frames.

This is me, the empty box is to put the frames from the top-box into.  I will not be able to lift the box off, I will need to transfer frames one at a time into here then wheelbarrow it back to where I will extract.  Husband is home and has agreed to *help* me.

OK, I have puffed smoke around the entrance and over the top and taken the lid off.  I need to use the hive-tool to loosen and lift each frame out.   They are stuck together with honey, the bees are cranky,

 Pull a frame out, give it a good shake to get the bees off...

I managed to do 2 frames, they're heavy and it's hard to shake hard enough to quickly get the bees off and they are cranky... I asked him to take over...Notice he doesn't wear gloves.

This is the next box down, it will need extracting next week but we took it off to check the box of foundation that husband put on last week.

It looks OK, the bees have started *drawing it out* which means they are building it up with wax ready to fill with honey.

 And here it is all put back together.

And nice husband pushes the box of frames filled with honey and the now empty top-box back into the yard for me.  Thanks Hun...Hun, honey... Ha!  I make myself laugh...

I know it looks like there weren't very many bees buzzing around my head trying to get to me but there were heaps more than these...maybe the million others were camera shy...

Then after all the selfies were taken it was back to work.   These frames are old and not very clean looking but underneath the honey is fine.  Husband cuts off the capped wax so the honey can be released from the frames. 

The extractor we have holds 3 frames and is turned manually.  It doesn't take long before the honey is spun from the frames and settles in the bottom of the can.

We can then open the gate/tap and let it drain into the bucket.  I mucked up here though as I forgot to put the strainer and mesh over the bucket so now I have to strain it all into another bucket then back into this one.  I want it back in this bucket because it has a tap at the bottom to make it easier to fill jars.

This is the crate that we scrape the uncappings into.   Later on I will scoop it up and mash it and drain the honey off and add it to the bucket.

I thought I'd be clever and put the uncappings into a mesh bag and spin it to get the honey out.  It kinda worked but not as well as I thought it would.

Husband says that I have around 15 -16 kilos of honey from this one box and next week when I/we/he do the other box we should end up with the same.  I will weigh it up as I put it into jars but I am happy with this.  Next time I/we extract, in 3 -4 weeks time, there will only be  the 1 box to extract but if I get 15 kilo of honey each time it won't be long before I have enough to have a stall at the local Farmers Market.  That will be cool.


  1. Barb,
    I loved this post and all the pictures. Thanks. It's good the husband is willing to help out. I think I will go right now and buy the honey from my beekeeper friends in the country. I really want bees but the city said "NO!" I already have illegal chickens, so I will just lie low for a while. I like these updates on doings around your place.

    How much will you ask for a quart of pint of jelly?

    1. Thanks Linda. It's not easy but very rewarding once the honey is in the jar and you know you did it yourself. Yes, with help but still...Quart of pint??? Ummm, around $10 for a kilo but that is on the low side from what I see others doing so may change when I get more into it.


    2. "Quart or pint of honey", not what I wrote. I forgot that honey is sold by the pound even though it is in quart and pint jars. I have forgotten how many ounces are in the jars, even though Carolyn told me.

      I didn't mean to take anything away from your accomplishment by mentioning your husband helped. Yes, I do consider it your accomplishment. He just has bigger muscles, more muscles, and uses them for you.

    3. Honestly, it wouldn't have got done without his help but I still reckon I did good and believe you think so too. Smiley face...The honey is really nice, not as nice as Jarrah but good enough.

  2. Woooooo I am so impressed! Actual real genuine honey from your own hives! And so much! Okay, keeping bees is going on my ToDo List...