When people discover you are a beekeeper they inevitably ask the question ‘do you have any honey?’ last year the answer was no. The expression on their faces was always one of disappointment and pity, a bit like telling someone you knew a Beatle and then later they find out it was Ringo
This year, however, I will look that person in the eye and proudly say “yes, yes I do” for this my friends is the year I harvest a crop of honey from my bees.
It’s all rather exciting.
My wife wasn’t so excited, she had visions of honey dripping from the walls and sticking to the carpets; so careful was the theme of the day. I’ve bought myself a four frame tangential extractor, filters, jars and a bucket to store my haul in.
An uncapping knife looked a messy business, which is why a heat gun seemed a good idea. It worked remarkable well. After switching the gun on you let it get hot enough then run it briskly over the frame. The cappings just dissolve away, it’s very clean and simple. A word of warning here; this method isn’t suitable for all frames. I kept a bread knife close by for the odd patches of wax that needed to be sliced off.
Extraction was a surprisingly magical experience. Spinning the frames in the opaque bucket which slowly becomes darker as the honey is thrown from the cells onto the wall of the extractor. If I had more than three or four hives I think a radial extractor would probably be more efficient as it doesn’t require you to turn the frames to extract from the other side; but this one was perfect for my 20 frames.
Pouring the honey into the settling tank was a beautiful sight as the amber honey flowed from the extractor through the filter that was catching the bee bits and wax – okay that wasn’t so beautiful. The following morning I filled up 30 jars which I’m sure won’t last long.
Gosh! I almost feel like a proper beekeeper.