Saturday, August 7, 2010

Crush and Strain Method

To get an idea of how I've spent my Friday night, visit Linda's blog and watch her video on the crush and strain method of harvesting honey.

Then remove anything that makes the process convenient, and you'll have a better idea of what I went through.

The Story: Mark is migrating another group of bees. This time they're in Kemper County, and they'd set up housekeeping in a huge metal barn with a camp house built inside, but a "one story" camp house. So in that big inviting space between the plywood ceiling of the camp house and the rest of the barn, the bees built a hive.

From the evidence of queen cells in some of the old, dark brood, this hive may have been growing a new queen. Mark will inspect the hive within a week to see if he needs to buy a new queen quickly to keep the colony together, or if a new queen had hatched out and was busy doing her job.

What he brought home was a cooler full of comb most of which looked old, dark, and brittle, at least what I could see on top. He also brought home a bucket of lighter comb filled with honey (and bees!) and an old Tupperware container, also full of honey comb (but not as many bees). I picked through the best looking comb and trimmed up some chunks to save for eating (photo above).

However, because of the condition of everything else in the containers, we'll use this honey to feed the existing bees, rather than feeding them with sugar water. I'm glad we'll be able to feed this honey to the bees that worked so hard to make it when Mark moves the hive to Bee Hill. They'll be healthier if they're eating honey.

Thankfully, Mark has ordered some equipment that will help with this process, namely a bucket with screen and a honey gate. I ended up with three full quart jars of honey, and when I got up Saturday morning the container holding the remnants of crushed comb had about half an inch of honey in the bottom that had drained out overnight!

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