Suzie's First Honey/Wax Harvest

April 18, 2022 4 Comments

Suzie's First Honey/Wax Harvest

Bad news first.  My bees did not survive the winter.  Good news second.  I got to harvest the honey/wax and order some more bees.  My new package of bees arrived a couple of weeks ago, and they (like so many of us) are ready for some warmer weather! 

I had never harvested honey or beeswax before so I thought maybe my quilting friends would enjoy a sneak peek into the messy process.

Here is my hive.  The bottom blue part is where the queen resides and all of the action happens.  The top green one is just for honey storage.

 

This is a frame full of capped honey.  I'm a little biased, but I think it's pretty beautiful and remarkable.

Once you scrape the cap away, look at what comes pouring out.  Sweet, golden deliciousness!

Then, we put it in the double strainer and wait and wait and wait.  (This is a good time to begin cleaning up some of the stickiness.)

After much patience and sticky everything, this is how much honey I ended up with.  These bees were new last spring, so they did an awesome job!  They say that to produce 1 pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited.  Busy bees indeed!

Then, time to jar it up for friends and family.

Pretty cool, huh?  That was the easy part!  Many of you know that Marcia has been getting into making soap.  She "NEEDS" beeswax.  OK, I think to myself...shouldn't be too much trouble.  One day dawn until dusk, 3 changes of clothes, and one super sticky kitchen later, and she has her precious beeswax.  Here's how that went.

You start with collecting all the honeycomb...the good, bad, and the ugly.  I had a 5 gallon bucket full.

Add water and melt it down in a double boiler.  

As it cools, the wax rises to the top, and the yuck and guck to the bottom.  Three times I went through this process of melting and cooling to end up with this measly cake of wax for Marcia's soap-making.

The honey harvest was pretty fun, cool, and enjoyable.  The wax...not sure if she is worth it.  What do you guys think?  I guess we will see how the soap turns out!  

Stay tuned for more adventures in beekeeping.

Piece out,

Suzie

 




4 Responses

Lois
Lois

April 26, 2022

Thanks for sharing! Honey harvesting is quite a process and I sure hope your mom appreciates the wax!!!

Carol Niewinski
Carol Niewinski

April 26, 2022

Thanks for sharing. Very interesting. I have thought of keeping bees but I’m deadly allergic to bees so think not.

Barbara Yoder
Barbara Yoder

April 26, 2022

Both my then husband and now my oldest son had bees. It’s funny that my son decided to raise bees, but he has always loved the outdoors and was a science teacher now working in a lab. He was stung by a honey bee when he was little and sat on his swing where a honey bee was sitting first. We enjoyed honey all the time my kids were growing up and honeycomb on toast was a favorite. We had a honey extractor and a designated honey shed where the extracting and uncapping was done so I didn’t have much mess in the house. Gallons of honey rebottled into quarts and pints for family and friends. We didn’t do wax like you did. Your mom will put high value on that wax you did for her. It was not uncommon to lose bees during our Iowa winters, particularly when we’d have a spring thaw followed by bitter cold. He was the on-call person in our surrounding area to come and capture swarms. He added those swarms in separate hives for many years. He has decided his life has gotten crazy enough that he needs to give beekeeping up for a bit.

I hope you continue to keep bees. They are so necessary for our environment and food supply. It is also a great hobby with sweet rewards! :-)

Kay Reis
Kay Reis

April 26, 2022

Our grandkids ordered Bees for a 4-H project. Thanks for sharing the process and all the hard work that goes into capturing the honey, beeswax and the messiness of Bee Farming.

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