Second Harvest!

     A bit less than two weeks ago, I treated hive #2 for mites and checked the progress on the honey in the one remaining super.  Though they had been filling out cells pretty well, few were capped, so I placed it on top of the hive for them to take back into the hive and clean them up.  In hive #1, on which I still had two medium supers, I thought it was a good possibility they might finish capping at least some of the frames, since many had one side capped and at least part of the other.  So I left them. 
    Today, knowing I would be pretty busy this weekend and then leaving early next week, when it is to turn cool and rainy anyway, I decided I had better pull the supers off the hives and treat hive #1 for mites.  I had decided that I might be able to get a few frames to process and the rest I would split between feeding back to the bees and making some mead.
     To our surprise, after we treated the bees and took a look at the two supers on #1, we found all frames were better than 90% full and capped, if not 100%.  I knew the bees had been busy on the buckwheat and goldenrod, but with the higher humidity the past week I didn't really think they would be able to dry it out enough to cap it.  They have been bearding tremendously on that hive, which has just grown hugely in population.  We spun out 17 medium frames, getting what looks to be a solid 4 gallons.  There is still a huge pile of wax from which we will press even more honey before processing the wax. 
     Strangely, even though I put the frames above the inner cover on hive #2, they did not clean any of that up but instead I think continued to fill cells and cap some of it.  My mistake may have been leaving the cutout  on the inner cover in the up position, allowing direct entrance into the super.  I reversed it and left the super on, so maybe they will get the hint and start consuming some of it.
     I had thought the honey might be a bit darker, from the late season flowers, but it seems to be only a bit darker than the summer clover honey.  A side by side comparison may show a greater difference.  At any rate, we were very pleasantly surprised with a second harvest.  This takes us to over 10 gallons for the season from two hives, with the vast majority coming just from hive #1, which was queenless early in the summer.  I guess they more than made up for it.


  1. You mentioned "pressing the wax" (I assume the cappings). How does that work?

  2. Thanks for this post. We have just two hives and I'm glad to know that if the conditions are right, next year we can get quite a bit of honey from just the two hives. Now, I'm off to find out how to press wax...

  3. Hi. Sorry about the confusion with pressing the wax. I should have said "mash" or "squeeze"--basically, just getting the rest of the honey out of the cappings, as Steve suggested. A number of frames were drawn out at least a centimeter from the edge of the frame, so in taking off the cappings we also cut off a fair amount of honey. Robin, good luck next year. We certainly have all the honey we could possibly want from two hives.

  4. OK, then you are probably doing what I (and most people) do - mash up the cappings, and let them drain. I thought there was something different during the "draining" step which involved squeezing or pressing.

    -- Steven


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