Sunday, July 26, 2015

Honey Harvest. Yum! Yum!

We checked the hives about ten days ago to see what we would have for the honey harvest. We counted twenty frames of good capped honey, but when we went to collect the frames on Friday (July24) for the harvest on Saturday, some of the frames were not 90% capped and the bees had eaten some. (I guess they're entitled!)

If the uncapped honey cells are opaque and "dry" you can treat it same as capped, but if it is shiny and "wet" looking it can make the honey ferment and spoil it. We picked out 17 good frames for the harvest. One frame got dropped (and then there were sixteen), but even though we couldn't put that frame in the spinner, I salvaged the comb and put it in jars which makes a very pretty addition. And some people really like a bit of comb to chew on like gum. We ended up with 48 pounds of beautiful light honey which was probably primarily from the early spring nectar flow since one box was and capped before mid June. What does that mean? The honey taste and color depends on the nectar flow --- what the bees are working and what kind of honey it makes. Our honey probably came at least partly from the locust trees, one of the earliest to bloom in the Spring. We also have a street nearby lined with Golden Rain Trees which we've seen covered with bees. Also our neighbor attracts bees with his oregano patch and has often commented that our bees are over visiting. So all those are probably crops our bees were working.

At the harvest, it was fun to compare the look of our honey with what came from Gordon's bee yard which is only about two miles away from ours as the crow flies. Very different as you can see from the photo below. What's near Gordon's  I'm not sure, but his bees obviously were working different plants since the honey is very different both in color and taste -- much darker than ours, an amber color. Our light honey, on the left below (the dark at the top is a bit of honeycomb), has a flower-life taste; The honey from Gordon's bee yard is more robust. They are both absolutely delicious. And beautiful too. So stop by for a visit. We'll have tea and toast with butter and honey. Yum!

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