Weather this year has been quite unusual. Typically we harvest honey on the absolute hottest day of the year. I don’t know that we usually plan it exactly like that, but it certainly seems to work out that way. It’s always been a bit of the tradition that the honey harvest is miserable because of the heat. You see, honey is extremely heavy on the hive and the heavy bee suits trap heat like crazy. It is significantly hotter in a bee suit than not. So, couple the hot bee suit with heavy honey and tens of thousands of bees that aren’t always thrilled that I am in harvesting their hard work and you end up with a tough day.
This year, the weather was pleasant on harvest day. We might have gotten into the 80s but it was the low 80s at best. I was in a better mood…the bees were in a better mood. All in all, it was a delightful experience!
I burned aspen shavings from the pet bedding department which made a great smoke. The bees were active as one would expect but not bad. Carrying honey was heavy but not terrible. We pulled every frame I own off of the hives and they were nicely filled out. The bees looked as healthy as they ever have and every hive had nice looking brood, pollen and honey patterns in the nest (the center part where the bee raising happens…not in the honey area up above where I harvest the honey). We didn’t extract the honey (spin it out of the combs) yet so I don’t know exactly how much honey we have this year but we should finish that up this week sometime. I think we may try to avoid the hottest day of the year when we harvest next year. I may be a slow learner but I think this message made itself apparent, loud and clear!
One thought on “Honey Harvest 2013”
My dad used to harvest honey with just the head net and a t-shirt for covering. For some reason, his odor didn’t seem to attract the angry bees and his hide must have been thicker than mine. When I tried to do something like that they would just sting the crap out of me. So I always wore full coveralls and sweated my butt off hauling all the honey back to the trailer since I was the muscle of the operation. I remember weighing myself one morning and after a full day of hauling honey, drinking gallons of water plus eating like a horse, I still lost ten pounds by days end. I called it the honey harvesting diet!
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