Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Cleaning Up the Honey Harvest
I got all the honey bottled up today and started working on the overall cleanup and putting stuff away for Winter.
This is the first year I was able to fill all my larger volume orders of two gallons or more and a couple who wanted a gallon and a half. I ended up with about 17 gallons of honey total so not quite the 20 gallons I estimated from the pull.
Not a bad Fall harvest when you consider I only took late honey off four or five hives and the Orchard hives didn't produce much for some reason.
I even remembered to hold enough back for Christmas presents again.
After the bottling was complete it was time to start cleaning up the equipment that will need to be stored.
I had a couple of surplus supers that the bees didn't quite get to this year due to the drought hitting the last part of Summer. Each frame in the supers were of course covered with burr comb on the bottom which has to be scraped off before storing.
Same with all the regular inner covers and the like.
All the while as I am scraping and digging at hard bits of burr comb and propolis I have to watch out for bees.
This task is usually when I get stung the most all year. I am not near the hives usually while doing this but the smell of the honey remains and scraped comb brings bees from all over and not just Honey Bees but wasps, bumble bees and other flying critters. You have to look at everything carefully before you grab it or you are liable to put your hand on a bee.
I guess I could wear gloves while doing this task but well I don't like to.
Besides getting the stored equipment mostly clean and also level for when it is placed back on the hives next year (those gaps are a pain) I also get a large amount of burr comb from this cleaning and scraping.
At the moment burr comb is not worth much. I don't usually produce enough from my 20 or so hives to ship off large quantities and private sales of it are rare. However my guess is that in a collapse situation burr comb would be worth as much or more than the honey pound for pound. It's probably the most useful stuff I get from the hive. It can be used for lotions, lip balm, candles, dental work, reloading and shooting applications, casting..... Well the list goes on forever. Most people these days though don't use it at all but in a collapse situation bees wax would replace many synthetic materials we take for granted today.
It's really remarkable stuff.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!!!!