Harvest 2011

We knew it was going to be a better harvest than last year.  We bottled two gallons in 2010 from 7 frames.  This year, we had just over 3 gallons from 10 frames.  They were really gorgeous frames this year, very full and heavy.
Of the 10 frames, 4 were frames I had prepared with a starter strip, so the bees drew out the comb in the frame.  We wanted to try some comb honey, and we ended up with a nice supply for our friends and relatives who would like to try honey is this form.  Below, you see Kathy holding one of the frames of comb honey.  It worked well, except these 4 frames had to be cut apart since the bees had built according to their blueprints, not ours.  Still, we recovered some very nice comb honey to cut into squares.  What didn't survive went into the mix with the regular honey.
Kathy used an electric knife this time to uncap the cells.  She liked the way it worked, though she might try reversing the knife blades next year since it really does help the cappings fall off if you cut from bottom to top.

The old A.I. Root Co. extractor worked well again.  Thanks again to our friends, the Petersons, Jim and Beth, for letting us use this.  The JB Weld work I did on the pouring valve worked well and created a good seal, since a crack along the original weld had developed.
It has a 1:4 turn ratio, and will keep spinning fast for some time after you let go of the handle.  I spin 50 cranks one direction, rotate the two baskets of frames, then crank again 50 spins.
It was a cool day, only about 70 degrees, so I had to use an electric heater to get the honey to flow down the sides of the extractor after we were finished and used a rubber scraper to get as much off the sides as possible.
We still may get some honey, though if last year is an indication there won't be much of an autumn honey flow.  I will likely just save out the frames for feeding late fall and in the spring.
A square of our comb honey
One final note:  this year, we left the bee escape I made last season on for 48 hours and it really made a difference.  There was a grand total of 5 bees still in that honey super.  I was happy to see that work better this year.


  1. What is a starter strip? Does it encourage bees to draw out the frames in the honey super?

  2. Hi, Michelle. Yes, that's what it's for. I just took a piece of foundation for my medium frames, cut it lengthwise into 5 long strips and held them in place in the top of the frames with thin little strips of wood. Some just cut little strips of wood to wedge in the groove then coat that with beeswax. I'd probably do that instead next time. Anyway, it seemed to work well and I'll try some more in the future as long as there are friends who enjoy the honeycomb.


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