Your honey for nuthin’ and your licks for free

We harvested honey this weekend.  We usually seem to pick the hottest day of the year to harvest.  It’s not because we like to do it on the hottest day of the year…it just works out that way.  So, my father-in-law came over on 6:30 am Saturday at my request.  “We’ll start early and beat the heat.”  Of course, it didn’t occur to me that the sun isn’t truly up then.  Bees get pretty testy when they are disturbed before the sun is shining bright in the sky.  It’s also best to give the worker bees time to get out into the field.  Fewer bees in the hive come harvest time is always a good thing.  So, our early start didn’t exactly start how I expected but we still did get going with the harvest.


My father-in-law holding honey in the comb and an edge-on piece of comb

I have previously sworn off smoking the bees and the smoke/no-smoke argument is a religious debate amongst beekeepers.  Personally, smoking bees leaves me with a bad cough and I can never find rolling papers anyhow.  Um, no, actually, smoking bees with a smoker is what I mean.  After last year’s episode, I decided that for the harvest, I would return to using smoke.  As much as I hate to admit it, I am certain that the smoker made our harvest easier.  For most interactions with the bees, I still do not think that using a smoker is necessary, but harvesting is not a typical interaction.



Brood (aka baby bees) on the left, honey on the right.  Don’t confuse them on harvest day!



So, we pulled off all of the honey from the hives and promptly headed off to a soccer-palooza in the heat of the day.  It was fantastic to…uh…have a break in the middle of honey harvest.  After 4 or so hours of  ball kicking, we returned to the honey-house and worked until every drop of honey was extracted, bottled and/or licked from our sticky (but exceedingly clean) fingers.

Click: Honey Flow Video                             Click:  Bees Cleaning Honey Supers

It’s great having bees.  We don’t pay for honey any more, but I am not sure you could say honey is free.  We definitely take our licks and they seem to be free though.  My back is sore and my arms are tired.  All told, we harvested around 150 pounds of honey which is much less than I expected or hoped for but it’s better than none!

Of course, the title to this post is a nod to the awesome Dire Straits Song linked here!  Nothing at all to do with bees unfortunately…

More info about my bees and beekeeping

9 thoughts on “Your honey for nuthin’ and your licks for free

  1. Next you need to process the cappings and wax from any damaged frames. We would melt them, separate the wax from the honey and pour the wax into large blocks which we later used to make beeswax candles which are excellent to burn. Since we didn’t require that many candles, we sold the extra wax for $’s to others to make into candles.

  2. Your bee posts always make me want to have some bees on our property but I don’t want to get stung so I’ll leave that to the experts like you!

  3. I would think 150 pounds would be a huge haul. How much were you expecting? Of course, now I’m craving honey…

  4. varunner7 & Jean – I was hoping for double but it’s still not bad. I have had better years and worse years…

    Angela – if you can’t get bees, you can just buy local honey and support local beekeepers…it’s just as important

  5. GW – I only got two stings this harvest and that was afterwards when I was just messing around without a suit on. A pretty awesome year for sure…and much more like most years are at harvest time!

    YD – It is delicious! Come and get it!

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