How we Harvest Honey from our Bee Hives

From the Experts

After reading the last post I’m sure your interest is probably piqued, wondering how in the world we harvest so much organic honey without being stung! First off, I said that I haven’t gotten stung…but that doesn’t mean our beekeeper friend, Derek Abello hasn’t! As I mentioned before, Derek owns and operates a Bee Removal Phoenix AZ company. Living in Arizona, he is around aggressive, africanized bee frequently and he does get stung. Even using the best bee suits on the market are no match for these vicious little guys! They are out to kill! Bee suits, even the best of them, are sting resistant — not sting proof! So stings can and do happen. Typically if you bend the right way and the material gets pulled tight against the skin. Or if the veil gets pressed against the face for some reason. So you do have to be careful. I think we are lucky in that we live in a cooler climate where the winters get extremely cold and the Africanized bees just can’t survive as much. So we really don’t have to worry about them. My bees are Italian and quite docile. But I still wear a suit as a precaution!

When to Harvest

We harvest honey from April-September. As long as there is forage out and the bees are able to get to flowers it is safe to harvest. If it is too cold we must wait. It is more important for the bees to have what they need. This must be a self sustaining operation. In warmer parts of the county, such as where Derek is from, he will harvest honey from Feb-October. Mainly because the weather is warmer. As long as there is enough rainfall (to produce forage) he can harvest even into October.

The how to…

The first step in harvesting honey is to get a bucket with a lid to collect the comb. We practice the method of crush and strain so we take the comb and all the honey. We leave plenty of honey comb for the bees. The lid is important because you don’t want the bees stealing back their honey! And they quickly will. Or other robber bees will. Then once the honey comb is harvested we take it back to the house.

Inside we begin the process of crushing the comb. This just releases it from the cells so it can flow freely. It is then placed in the strainer inside the filter bucket. We got our filter bucket system here We set the bucket system outside, and during the harvest months the weather is plenty warm enough to filter the honey in just a matter of a few days! On a hot summer day it might even filter in just 1 day! And that is it. Simple as that. Totally raw, organic, filtered honey.

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