Spring Honey Collecting
The weather has been kind this Spring and the bee colonies are strong so we have got a bumper “best ever” Spring crop to collect.
Today we went to collect spring honey from one of our apiaries. The honey that is collected at this time of year is primarily from the tree blossoms; mostly blackthorn, hawthorn, sycamoore, and fruit blossom.
Ceri had put clearer boards on yesterday; these are a one way bee valve to encourage the bees from the supers which hold the excess stores of honey. The bees return to the nest box then can’t get back up to the supers. We fill any small holes or cracks in the super boxes with grass to ensure the bees can’t get in to the honey, however they can get in and out to their nest through the normal entrance.
This makes it easier to collect the honey the next day and stops any ‘robbing’ from neighbouring colonies.
We know that the honey is ready to harvest because the hexagonal cells filled with processed nectar have also been capped off with pale yellow/white beeswax.
Some of our hives had 3 or more supers ( box full of frames) packed with capped off honey. Others not so much, but over the course of the next few weeks we will harvest the spring honey from all of the sites and replace the full supers with empty supers in the hope we will get a Summer flow as well.
It’s a very exciting moment when we crack the crown board off to see how much honey has been collected.
This is not the end of the work. Ceri then has to work through the night to extract the honey and get it safely into food grade buckets.
Then there is filtering, potting and labelling before the honey is ready to sell.