This weekend Kerry and I (with the help of Jude and Holly) spun off and bottled about 85lbs of honey – yes you heard that right 85lbs of honey!
I checked the bees last Thursday and realised there were 4 full supers of capped honey. Two of these supers were in the fabulous hive 1. Hive 3 also had a full super and angry hive 5 did as well.
I should mention that every time I have spun off honey I have learnt a new and interesting way how not to do it ….. on Saturday we came across a new way.
The porter bee escapes had done their job and the supers were largely cleared of bees. I have learnt not to spin honey in the bee shed (with the door open). We decided to spin off the honey in our front garden – I have learnt that doing it in reception on a busy campsite day isn’t the wisest decision.
The few bees that were still on the frames were happy and easy going – we started spinning. It was going well.
By the time we got to the second frame, things were changing. It appeared that the bees had gone back to the hive and mentioned that there was a lot of honey in the front garden …. they brought their friends. The bees mobbed the spinner and the strainers … they were everywhere – but good-natured.
We carried on spinning and straining amidst a veritable buzz of bees trying to get the honey. I now know why the spinner comes with a lid – not to stop honey spinning out but to stop bees going in. I also know why beekeepers spin honey into honey buckets and put a lid on it and then strain it later. Trying to strain honey, outside with the company of thousands of bees isn’t fun.
Later that day we bottled the honey – 45lbs from two supers.
On the Sunday Kerry and I worked out that spinning honey in the bee shed, with the door shut might be the best solution. We then took the honey back to the house and I strained it in the kitchen and bottled it on Monday. We got 21 lbs of honey from this super.
We left the super from angry hive 5 until last – one bee had stung me when I tried to take the super and my hand reacted badly. Anyway, I finally succeeded and it is currently waiting to be bottled.
Basically this is a long-winded way of saying we now have delicious, pure, raw honey for sale made from bees who live and forage on and about the smallholding/campsite. It is strained, but not heat treated and it is yummy.
N.B. Holly took most of these cool pictures. I kind of wish I had taken more of the process, but it was really quite full-on so we opted to get the job done rather than document it.
Thank you Kerry, Holly and Jude for your help in making this happen 🙂