Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Harvest time

My intention Sunday was to harvest honey from all my hives. After coffee, I suited up. While the bees are fairly docile most of the time they get testy when you start fooling with their honey.

I can't imagine why. It takes 60,000 bees a month to collect a super of honey. OK, just reading the previous sentence makes me feel a little bad...but I digress.

When I put on my coveralls, a long-sleeve shirt, my bee suit and leather gloves I headed in. By the time I popped the top of the first hive, I was pouring perspiration. Did I mention that bees are tidy insects? The only thing they dislike worse than sloth is a beekeeper that's sweaty. They were NOT happy with me.

The suit keeps me safe from stings but I thought I could hear them talking bad about my parents as I worked.

When I lifted the first super from the beehive, I grunted. It was heavy. Setting the super onto my cart, I went about some hivish routines.

I looked inside a second box, but instead of frames of amber honey, these were almost black. I was freaked. I imagined all kinds of disease, locusts, pestilence, and other maladies.

Closing the hive, I knew my internal thermometer was telling me the fun was over.

I pulled the cart back toward the house with hundreds of angry bees buzzing BRING BACK OUR HONEY YOU SCALAWAG.

When I pulled the frames from the super (the box that holds the frames) they were all filled with capped honeycomb. This is a beekeeper's dream.

When I harvested all the frames, I weighed the bucket. The scales showed 30 pounds.

Today, Jilda sterilized all of our jars and I drew six quarts and four pints of honey from the bucket and there is still a gallon left.

When I called the old beekeeper about the black honeycomb, he laughed. He said that all the honeycomb turns that color as it ages. I smiled when I heard those words.

Hopefully, it will be a little cooler this weekend so I can harvest the other hives.

I'ma loving this work.


  1. It won't be long and Jilda will be designing and printing labels and you will be coming to an arrangement with produce stands to sell your honey.

  2. Wow. Well done. Both you and the diligent workers.

  3. Nice honey harvest. It amazes me how much honey bees can produce from flowers nectar.
    Hugs, Julia

  4. That is some beautiful honey. You did the light just right to catch the PURE honey color. We are enjoying a pint from our (NEW) bee keeper in the family, Steve. He got stunk 7-8 times when robbing his a couple weeks ago. My uncle was a bee keeper in the 40's and I do not remember him ever saying he was stung. Then maybe that is just the side pleasures of 60K bees at a time. WOW!
    Sherry & jack

  5. That is a surprisingly large amount of honey in such a short amount of time.

  6. I did not realize that it took that huge number of bees to produce honey. You are doing nature and us humans a great favor by having bee hives and taking care to keep the bees alive and work of bees going. Thanks.

  7. The honey looks delicious. And it will keep forever. I chuckled when I read about the black frames. My uncle raised bees so I knew they were fine.

  8. Dear Rick, a friend in Stillwater, MN, where I lived for 36 years, was a beekeeper and I recognize in this posting the same joy that he felt and the same camaraderie with the bees. What a gift those jars of honey are--they sweeten our lives. Peace.

  9. That's some beautiful honey, honey.


  10. Very nice, and I imagine it is delicious too! Btw, what do you do with the beeswax?

    1. I’m saving it. I watched a video on how to render it down into chunks.
      I’ve read that there is a market for it.
      I’m hoping Jilda will learn how to make scented candles.


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