Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Harvesting honey and mistakes made
On Sunday, my dh decided we had had enough of the honey drought. For the first since August 2001, we had been without our own honey. I was supposed to go down and put the porter bee escapes in below one super.
Porter bee escapes allow bees to leave but not return. The theory being that you then go and pick up the honey in the early morning, and there is no need to shake the bees off the individual frames. This is the THEORY. It is not always true in practice as I have discovered in previous years.
However, I wanted honey sooner than four days time, and so I decided to forego the porter bee escapes for the shake the damned bees off the comb method.
I went into the first hive and was astonished to see how much honey -- the top super was overflowing with sealed honey. We had no more supers to put on. There were very few bees in the top layer.
MISTAKE Number 1 I should have just taken the top super away and worried about shaking the bees off, so distance from the hive. In stead I thought to follow my original plan and transfer the super frames to a brood box. Result: bees tried to sting my arms. One or two succeeded. Bees dislike honey robbers.
I got the honey up and in with no more mishaps. It was Rosebay willow herb -- a lovely light straw colour, and wonderfully runny. There were 26 jars worth on the one super. When you consider for the last few years following the 2 brood box method, we have had a total each year of about 50 jars, I was very pleased. There are 9 other super boxes potentially as full of honey.
MISTAKE number 2 Do not attempt to reopen a colony just after you have taken honey off. The bees tend to be a bit aggressive. Particularly do not try this when your smoker has gone out. RESULT: 15 bee stings to my legs. And one hive of v angry bees, rising in a black cloud.
Luckily I am not allergic.
Now all I have to do is check the other bee hive and plot how I am going to get porter bee escapes on.
In other news HVC goes slowly. I have figured out where I made a mistake and more importantly why it is a mistake. It should read better.
If you feel in need of motivation about writing, you should check out margaret Moore's blog. She offers some wonderful pearls of wisdom. With me it is not worrying so much the other writer is writing 15 pages per day, but rather that I am going too quickly, if this makes sense. And yes I know,I would be the one standing, burbling in the corner, if I couldn't write as much as I do.