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.


Anonymous said...

Yikes! I'm glad you've got lots of honey but I'm sorry about all the stings! That sounds very scary to me, though you are probably used to it.

Nell Dixon said...

Ouch, Michelle! I winced at the thought of a couple of stings but all those others as well really made me wince.

Donna Alward said...

The thought of going too quickly? Yes, I understand that very well. It's when I go crazy and write and write and write that I end up....rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. Slow and steady is definitely my best method.

I suddenly have a craving for toast and honey....

Anonymous said...

Ow on the stings. And this is spooky... before I read your blog this morning, I was thinking about bees (and you) - all because of a castle I visted yesterday which used to keep its bees in straw skips during the summer, and had special wintering holes built into the castle for the winter. I wonder how they persauded the bees to move?

Anonymous said...

Ow, ow, ow and ow again for the stings. My Mum was stung, I think, a couple of weeks ago but didn't feel a thing. Her arm came up with a red spot with red all around it and it swelled up and it's only now that it's gone right down because she was advised by the pharmacist to take antihistamine tablets which she did. If a bee stings you, can you not feel it or do you? I know if a wasp stings, you do because I've been stung a few times and it flipping hurt.

Emma Sanders said...

Honey sounds good, but youch! What you have to go through to get it, LOL. Glad you're not allergic.

Now I'm hungry. I love those chipotle flavored tortillas with honey.

Anonymous said...

Yow on the stings. I am allergic, unfortunately. I could never tend hives! Glad you got lots of honey, though.