It’s been about three months since our little winged friends moved in and they’ve been really busy! Our Top Bar Hive is about 80% filled and with the recent rains and resulting vegetation, it doesn’t look like they’re going to have to stop production anytime soon. Since their stores were so plentiful, we thought it would be safe to harvest a couple of bars of honey.
Since we weren’t planning on harvesting until next year (I tell you, the bees have been super busy!), we were a bit unprepared with the proper tools. Luckily Jim found a great video tutorial on using a paint strainer from OutOfABlueSky on YouTube. I didn’t even know these little mesh bags used to strain particles out of paint existed but they’re great for honey purification. Our honey was new so it was easy to break down the comb with just our potato masher. We even mashed some of it with our hands. Perfect excuse to lick the honey off our fingers! Don’t worry, we made sure to remove any accidental bee casualties before dipping our hands in. Don’t forget that bees can still sting after they’ve died!
Of course, the kids couldn’t resist taste-testing and since we knew exactly what was in our honey, we were more than ok with it! (For more info, read Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn’t Honey, Food Safety News, Nov. 7, 2011)
After letting the honey steep through the strainer into the bottom bucket for a few days, we opened it to find wonderful, pure, raw honey! Sure, this method doesn’t strain out as much as other commercial options but we had a great time doing this as a family and all the extra pollen that was to small to strain will help with our allergies!
Stay tuned for the next update where we will probably talk about getting the hive ready for winter by knitting 30 thousand little hats and scarves. :D