We’ve spent the last couple of days processing honey. The bees didn’t give it up willingly. The idea is to put a clearing board under the supers containing the honey. These boards have a bee escape fitted to them which acts like a one way bee-valve. Once the board is in place the bees left on the supers think they’re outside the hive because the queen’s pheromones no longer reach them. They then form a disorderly queue and pour through the bee escapes, heading south. Next day when you lift the lid off the hive you’re faced with nice clean supers which can be easily carried off for processing. (Easily, that is if you’re a rugby forward, weight lifter, or wholesale abuser of steroids.)
Our bees didn’t fancy any of this. When we lifted off the lid we were met by large numbers of workers anxious to hold on to their plentiful supplies. This forced us to use Method (2): brush them off and run like hell carrying the super while hoping you don’t have a heart attack. Over 2 days we took off eight supers. Processing started as soon as we’d recovered. The first job is to uncap the individual frames. A sharp knife dipped in hot water does the job. Once the frames are uncapped they can be loaded into the extractor.You can buy electric extractors which spin these frames at high speed and collect the honey. Or you can borrow a manual extractor which leaks and requires hand cranking and tries to march across the floor despite two of you balancing precariously on top while trying to wind the handle. After this all the honey is sieved, collected in a large stainless steel container, left to stand and then deposited in jars via a honey tap. It’s at about this point it starts to get satisfying.The final figures aren’t in yet. But we’ve certainly taken more than 300 lbs all told. Update to follow.