Monday, August 8, 2011

Harvesting Honey from Top Bar Hives

I am a beekeeper. I have two top bar hives and one Warre hive. I thought it would be fun to experiment with the Warre  hive this year. Im so happy that I did!  That darling really produced!  While doing a recent hive inspection, I couldnt believe how full.... of honey it was.
 I did a "split"  ( started a new hive) and harvested just two top bars of honey. I got almost 6 qts of honey. For us this is great! We go through about a gallon of honey in a year. My oldest son is Pooh Bear in disguise. When he comes home from classes he doesnt go for the cookie jar. Oh no!  He goes for the Honey Pot!  Now you know why I go through so much honey . Plus I use a wee bit it for baking bread too. But Pooh eats the most. I wasnt planning on harvesting honey until next spring but, things happen, as above. I harvested the honey  on the cheap and easy. No fancy, expensive equipment here. A standard honey extractor can run about $300.00 and go up, waay up from there. Also theres the honey knife $100.00, the holding buckets $20 and  lots and lots of extras $$$$.  I used a kitchen fork and knife ( free) to uncap and cut  the combs and my hands to squeeze out the honey. Ta Da!  How hard was that?  Not at all. I did use a kitchen strainer to filter the honey . Have you ever seen "unfiltered" or "raw filtered" on honey jars? Well, Im thinking it has to be filtered to some extent. Theres some not so nice "stuff" in the "raw" honey. Mine is about as natural as you can get. Its delicious and so beautiful. And it is filtered. Love those bees. If you are considering beekeeping, Id say "Go for it!" Its not hard, very rewardingthe way I do and you'd be helping the environment beyond measure.  And as you can see here. Not so expensive. Id recommend doing a google search on top bar hives. You can make them yourself for under $75. A standard langstroth, the box, on top of a box usually white. Those darlings are about $350 each and your going to need two! Bee suits are another expense, get creative. A loose fitting, light colored jacket, a large brimmed hat and...your not going to believe this! I have used a laundry bag, those netted kinds, as a veil. A pair of leather gloves...your set! So, are ya thinking of beecoming a Bee-keeper yet????

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