My wife was kind enough to bring me an unexpected present on Sunday. I was cleaning up the kitchen after lunch when she came in with a whole frame of capped honey from our bees. She's been having a few problems with one of the hives and needed to move a frame of eggs from one hive to another, which meant she needed to remove a frame. And if you're going to remove a frame, why not remove a frame of honey!
Wasting no time, I opted to get it processed immediately. There are a few ways to extract honey from honeycomb, and if all of the right equipment is available, it can be relatively easy with minor impact to the honeycomb. It takes a lot of energy for bees to make the wax that they store their honey in. I've read several books which state that for every pound of wax the bees make, they are consuming about eight pounds of honey. I like beeswax, but I'd rather have the honey. So ideally, we'd get the honey out of the comb and then return it to the bees with a little note saying, "More Please!"
But we did not have the right equipment, which meant brutalizing the honey comb. And I did. It wasn't pretty; honey on the counter, honey on the floor and my hands shiny with it, from wrist to finger tip. In small amounts, fresh honey is sticky, but in large amounts (really large) its actually slippery, which makes it hard to grab things.
In the end, one full frame of capped honey held 5 pounds of honey, which is between a third and a half of a gallon of honey. The spring honey this year is to die for, light colored, sweet and very floral. Much better than last year's honey whose smell reminded my of freshly trimmed tartarian honeysuckle bushes. I'm hoping we'll have a good harvest this year. It's hard to say how much honey we'll get out of the two hives we have, but an average year should see us net 100 pounds of honey. Ms. Huis may be in this for the bees, but I'm in it for the honey.