Apart from my newly collected swarm, I do have another colony of bees. They are a young colony and because of the wet summer we have experienced in England, only 4 frames on honey were produced.
The blog takes the reader through the journey from the uncapping of the frames to screwing the lid on the jar containing the honey.
The jars you want to use need sterilising. I wash the jars and lids before placing them to an oven which has been pre-headed to 100 degrees celsius. I leave them in the oven for 10 minutes before taking them out to cool to room temperature. As a rule of thumb, 4 frames of honey is about 4 jars (1 lb jars) of honey.
I use an uncapping fork to take of the surface wax off of the frames to open-up the honey. I do this over a sieve to catch the wax and to let the excess honey drip into a bucket underneath the sieve.
It is an art to ensure that all the cappings have been opened.
Once each frame is uncapped it goes into the honey extractor. This is a machine which whizzes the frames around at high speed. Through centrifugal force, the honey is extracted from the frames. The honey flies-off the comb and onto the internal walls of the extractor. The honey dribbles down to the floor of the extractor. There is a valve at the bottom of the extractor to remove the honey.
Help is needed to prevent the extractor moving across the floor when the handle is being vigorously cranked!
The honey is poured from the extractor into a settling tank. The honey is left for 24 hours to let air bubbles in the honey rise to the surface. Ideally, it would have been better if I had sieved the honey at this stage rather than doing it at the bottling stage.
After 24 hours the honey is ready to bottle.
All a bit Heath-Robinson with the settling tank above the sieve, and the sieve above a funnel and the funnel above the jar. It kinda worked!
So you probably get the idea. The value on the settling tank is opened. The honey falls through the sieve and any particles like wax, are caught by the sieve. The honey in caught by the funnel which guides it into a jar.
The knack is knowing when to close the valve on the settling tank so the jar does not over-flow. There is a time delay between the opening/closing of the valve and the honey reaching the jar.
The final product. I got 6 jars from the four frames which I am very pleased about!