Beekeeping is an investment.
We started with two hives. They died after the first winter. We ordered more bees and started over. The bees arrived late and we missed most of the spring honey flow. One hive had six frames of capped honey, and given the investment we’ve made, and the fact that we’ve waited two years – we decided to extract so we could get SOME honey.
Chris took one honey super off the top of our 1st hive. He used our leaf blower to blow any bees that were in the super (and between the frames) back towards the hive. We set up our “extracting station.” First we set up the uncapping bin. We balanced a frame on the pin, used the uncapping knife and the capping scraper and took the top layer of wax off the frames.
The frames then went into our four frame electric extractor. This contraption is a centrifuge. The frames go in, opposite each other to keep it balanced. It’s important to start the extractor slow, and then gradually increase the speed. The honey flies out of the comb, hits the inside wall of the extractor tank and slides down to the bottom of the tank where it is drained off through a spigot. It’s all very ingenious.
We did some serious scraping with a rubber spatula to make sure we got every last golden drop before putting the extractor outside for the bees to clean it out. That is the ultimate in recycling. They take their own honey back to the hive and put it back into a frame – nothing goes to waste! When they were finished cleaning it out, we did use hot soapy water – because honey is – sticky!
Are six frames worth the effort and dirty-ing up the equipment? Six pounds later (8 – 12 oz. jars) – we had our precious gold-colored honey. But is it really as precious as gold? If you add up all of the expenses – the bee hives, the bees, the extracting equipment, the jars and the labels and divide it by six measly pounds – it’s a LOT per pound. But a pound of gold currently costs $17,927. I guess our honey isn’t that precious after all.