Our Native Pohutakawa nicely in bloom for our Christmas and the bees loving it. ( Our bench-hives in the foreground which are currrently empty )
Here she is…
… 5 storeys high but top box is an empty one I use to transfer frame by frame – much easier for me than trying to lift a whole box which, at 5kgs per frame can reach near 50kgs !
(Hive stand means the Beehive is not on the ground which prevents easy-access for pests.)
Girls busy cleaning. They are very calm Bees and the frames are so full of honey, very exciting – time to extract : )
( Notice the very clean frame tops – slightly proud of my work )
All the frames in Box 3 are full of nectar, but as yet, these are not capped.
( very proud of the girls work )
Uncapped Honey frames – I will not extract from these, my view is that they are not ready and with too much water content it can crystalise the honey.
( The nectar is so shiny and looks like gold )
best safety gear eva ! but not recommended ; )
I will go back in two weeks before end of year to check how the cappings are going – if capped I can note the dates on the frames as before 31st December – there is a risk of Tutin toxin – so legally the honey will need testing if I want to give it to others, otherwise if I don’t extract – these can be left for the bees winter food.
So closed up the hive, 4 boxes for the bees and box five my spare empty box, which I use to hold frames as I sort through the hive.
So confirming, these five frames are fully capped so I will extract from them
…any drop, they find it…they are so awesome ~ !
Inspection over …now to the kitchen
The method I used for extracting our honey is “Crush and Strain”.
I go over what hand tools I use for my manual honey extraction, this is a great method for small hobbyist beekeepers and the kids love it.. lots of sticky fingers
- I used two large bowl (23cms or 9″ inches).
- One colander – larger holes – has to fit in bowl.
- One fine sieve – fine mesh – has to hold colander and fit in bowl.
- One potato masher.
- One plastic spatula – good to remove all honey out of the bowl.
- Knife with short blade.
- Plastic honey tray.
- Plus I have a couple of small cotton towels handy – one dry, but the other so its damp to wipe your hands – BUT… always avoid getting any water in your honey
Short bladed knife
I use the plastic white tray to place the frame which captures any honey-runoff.
Then I stack the colander, then the sieve on one of the bowls – also on the white tray.
I start by cutting rectangles using a short bladed knife – sized around 8cm (3″inches) x 4cm (1.5″inches) – starting from the bottom of the frame.
I make sure I don’t cut the wires so I can add new wax-foundation later.
After extracting, I place the frames back in the hive for the girls to clean.
Handy Hint: I place the frames in the “spare” 5th box so easy to place and below that spare box I have a hive-mat with slot so the girls can go up there but does not disturb them too much plus its not too open for a possible robbing event – the hive mat with slot contains that level well.
Using the potato masher I then pressed down on the little rectangles of cut-comb
The colander holds the larger wax-comb pieces and then the sieve underneath captures any smaller wax bits n’ bobs.
Then I move the colander and sieve to the other large bowl and then I pour out the liquid gold into jars, just one jar at a time.
…raw, unadulterated Waitakere Bethells bush honey – in it there will be pollen, wax and absolute health in a jar.
(No starter honey was used as you can see.)
So we hope you crushed it this Christmas too – this is an easy way to extract honey without using a centrifugal extractor and truth is, its so tactile with lots of sticky fun.
I cut some comb into squares – this is what some folks like – the wax comb is chewey and a bit like a chewing-gum. the rest are pure honey.
All ready for the Christmas table and gifts.
Many Thanks to our wonderful friend Lisa M for the beautiful wax wraps… paying it forward.
love our girls, look what they have created.. beautiful rich raw honey from the comb
So I crushed it !
The honey is straight from the comb. No starter honey was used – often starter honey is used to draw out the extracted honey and is believed to prevent crystalisaion ( it is also referred to as creaming ).
Creaming honey versus liquid honey from Peace River Honey Canada Northern Alberta –Did You Know That Our Liquid and Creamed Honey are Made with 100% Pure Canadian Honey? Then Why Do They Seem so Different?
I think that the raw honey is so much richer and tastier than creamed honey.
Interestingly, Some of our UK friends find it a bit strong as they are used to clover type honeys.
Lucky here in New Zealand we have lots of native trees specific to our country so creates some of the best tasting honey in the world.
To keep your honey from getting chilled you can store in a warm place, do not put on a concrete floor nor allow it be placed in a cold environment – it is the sudden change in temperature that csues crystalisation – do not put in the fridge it will store on a shelf for years.
One of our beekeeper friends uses a converted frridge ( ie removed electrics ) then they placed an electric blanket in which can be switched to a consistent temperature.
Handy Hint: The colander is used to trap the bulk or bigger pieces of wax. The fine sieve to filter out the rest, there is always some pollen and wax that will be in the honey but not noticed.
We drizzle honey on vanilla ice-cream, the cold from the ice-cream makes the honey like a chewey caramel…yummy.
ready to indulge the taste buds
In the end I extracted only three full-depth Honey frames, ending up with 20 jars of honey. So we feel satisfied that our new girls are awesomeness bananas
This first month of Summer for Bee Season 2021 has produced a great harvest in our back yard… now we wait for the rest of Summer… oh my goodness what will we find ?
…so what do we do with the remaining wax ?
…we place it in our solar-wax-meltor
…so nothing goes to waxte – these blocks can be used/melted for wax-food covers, making candles, waxing furniture or used in skin care products.
Well folks, we hope you enjoyed this BLOG written and produced by Margaret with her own photos.
If you found this artcile hlepful then make a donation to help us carry on this work : https://www.kiwimana.co.nz/shop/help-kiwimana/
All the very Best
…it’s the kiwimana buzz…
Lovely Lisa with Margaret
Bombus Terrestris – the humble Bumble Bee cruising the clover in our apiary