Record Breaking Honey Harvest
Beekeeping has always been an interesting hobby for us. We never had any intentions of making loads of honey and selling it for a profit. A good job really as Ynyslas isn’t the best place to keep bees and our honey harvest rarely produces much honey. If it were a money-making scheme we would have failed miserably! Some years we get no honey at all, other years we’ll get just enough to keep us going and maybe a few jars to give or sell to friends and family.
This year though has been our best year yet!
Usually the hives don’t have any honey in their supers until September time. We then sometimes get a hive or two that has a little surplus. This year, our largest colony (in a hive we call Leri) was doing well and by the middle of June had a super full of uncapped honey and had plenty of stores in their brood box too. They were on a brood and a half configuration so there was plenty of room in the lower brood-super as well. I added a second super and this was soon full. They had also started to cap the honey. A third super was added in early July. Next time I checked this super was over half full and the two lower supers were now fully capped. I added a fourth super and decided it was time to extract the honey from the two lower supers.
We borrowed the associations extractor for the weekend and set to work. On Friday evening Morgan and I reversed the supers so that the two full ones were at the top of the hive. We placed a clearer board under them and left the bees with the two 3/4 full supers. The following day the top two supers were pretty much clear of bees so we lifted them into the kitchen where Anna was ready with the extractor.
In the past any supers that we have harvested have had around 4-7 frames of honey in them. We’ve never had one that has all 10 frames full of honey. Usually the individual frames are only 50-80% full as well. This time, all 10 frames in the super were completely and utterly full of honey. There was no room for another drop in the entire super. And that was the case for both of the supers as well.
Needless to say the extraction took a little longer than usual and we had to buy more jars. ‘Real’ beekeepers will laugh at this because in comparison to most it was still only a tiny harvest. For a start it was only a single hive and despite the fact that it was a record breaking harvest for us, two supers isn’t really that much. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bees continue to fill the supers and we’ll be harvesting again come September. This might not be the last of the honey harvest for 2022.
Honey for Sale
With the honey harvested and in various containers it was then time to fill the jars. We managed to get 54lb of honey in total. Obviously we can’t eat all of that ourselves so we’re just waiting for some labels to arrive and then we’ll have the very rare commodity of Ynyslas Honey for sale!
It’s interesting to see how much it varies in colour. Anna extracted from four frames at a time and then decanted that into large bowls. Rather than mixing the honey all into one large container there were several large bowls full of honey. These were then poured into jars. What this means is that some jars contain honey from one part of one of the supers and others from another area of the super. Some of this honey would have been made and stored earlier in the year and some of it a little later. The flowers that the bees were foraging on would have varied throughout the year so the honey varies too.
As you can see, there’s quite a difference, despite the fact that this all came from the same hive – It all tastes delicious though!