Kathy, (aka "Bessie"), and I began our beekeeping experience in the fall of 2008, when we began a year-long course in beekeeping through the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We got our first package of bees in April of 2009. At the suggestion of our daughter, Jessica, we are logging our beekeeping experience. Hope you find it interesting. It has been interesting, rewarding and entertaining for us as well.
It was a nice day for extracting honey. The outside temp was about 83 degrees, but fairly pleasant in the barn with fans on. Warm enough for the honey to flow pretty well. We pulled 18 frames off hive #2, our strong hive. We weighed each frame, and had 86 pounds prior to extraction. There were some very nice looking frames and some not as perfect, but still held a lot of honey.
Extracted, we have 4 gallons drawn off and the wax cappings are still draining with what looks like at least one more gallon. With the weight of a gallon coming in just around 12 pounds, that would give us about 60 pounds extracted.
Here Kathy is putting the wax cappings into the filters. We put the filter pail out into the back of our truck, which has a topper. It's pretty warm in there and we'll draw that off in the morning and then I'll wash off the wax to save for processing later. The honey has great taste but is distinctly darker when compared with last year's honey, even the later from the fall which was darker than our early harvest last year. This honey must be from a whole blend of various sources. The bees right now are all over the clover, so I suspect we'll have a nice second harvest as well.
I checked the bees a week ago and knew then that we'd probably be able to take some honey this weekend. As you can see above, the bees have drawn out a lot of comb, filled it and capped it already. It has been a great honey flow, and probably will still go on for some time with lots of clover. We pulled two boxes (18 frames) from hive #2, but the two hives started from splits have all filled their top box with honey, most of it capped. I have supers on both now. So they will have great stores going into the winter and we may still get another harvest later in the summer.
I pulled the frames out and shook most of the bees off, while Kathy used a soft brush to get the rest of them off then put the frames in the bins behind her. It all went pretty smoothly.
I dumped the bees back in front of the hive As you can see, they made quite a pile. I checked later and they had made their way back up into the hive, thanks to the inner cover I left as a ladder. Tomorrow we'll extract.