Bee careful, harvesting honey

I recently helped a friend out with harvesting honey from his bee hives. Having never been near a hive nor stung I had no natural fear of bees at all, nor did I know if I was allergic. Well, armed with pink dish washing gloves and window screening tied over a hat I was ready for action (I wish I had a picture too).

I hope you pardon my lack of correct terminology as I, again, am not a bee keeper. We proceeded to unseal the boxes where the bees were making the sweet honey. They seal the lids with wax so as to protect themselves from predators entering and stealing their bounty. Exactly what we meant to do.

 

smoking bees
smoking bees, makes them easier to work with

So you do this and start “smoking” them. Now this is not a bee splif, ok? You have this little box which has an accordion and a spout attached (I know, see picture) that is filled with lit wood chips and as you “play” this ” accordion” it releases smoke. This makes the bees go into survival mode which makes them fear for their little lives and stay put in the box, i.e., not attack.

 

removing the honey comb, harvesting honey
removing the honey comb

After smoking the bees we proceed to take out the frames that contain honeycombs. These are filled with a combination of either honey or baby bees or more correctly termed larvae. We are after the honeycombs with mostly honey as I don’t condone eating babies.

 

Bee box frame
Bee box frame

Now we gently brush the poor frightened bees off of the frame and, with a knife, separate the combs from the frame.

 

"fruits" of their labor, harvesting honey
“fruits” of their labor

This drops onto our fine true value bucket in the background and quickly gets covered so as to not attract the bees to it.

After several of these, we noticed the bees buzzing getting kinda loud. This alerted us to the possibility that they had noticed their food being taken and were quickly becoming upset. Needless to say, we promptly closed shop.

 

the cost of a good thing, a bee sting
the cost of a good thing

The bucket in the back is where you smash the honey filled combs. It has a mesh that lets the honey slowly drip and leaves the beeswax behind. Later you can pour the sweetness from the built in spout… A word of warning. After you remove your protective gear you should be done with the project and cleaned of all honey residue. The little guys will be out looking for blood. Guess what? They found it in the form of my ring finger. Lucky for the squeamish amongst you, this last picture was focused on the bucket and not on my first bee sting. As an aside, I’m not allergic.