My Adventures during the Fall 2014
Honey Extraction
by Donald Ray Burger

Once again, it seems like I put off extracting until right before the cold hit. I hope to not wait so long next year.

This year three frames came apart while I was removing them from the mediums. I think the bees built burr comb on the bottom and I used too much force to remove the frames. Maria figured out a way to cut the comb off the foundation so we could have some comb in some of the jars of honey. The broken frames resulted in sticky everything. My gloves had honey. The hive tool was coated. The frame grippers were sticky. The bee brush was clumping. What a mess!

This year we had a lot less bees in the garage during extraction. That made for a more pleasant work environment because you didnít have to constantly look to make sure a bee wasnít on the handle of the extractor or the hot knife.

I used Fisherís Bee Quick on my fume board. I think that the cooler temperatures made it a little slower to work. Or maybe I was just impatient to get the frames into the garage.

I got stung once on the throat while extracting. I was wearing a string veil with my bee suit but I had not made sure it was totally sealed around my neck. It was weird to see that bees were walking on the inside of the veilís mesh while I still had work to do on the frames. Even after my sting, I stubbornly continued my work until I had removed all the frames. Fortunately, by the time I was stung I only had a couple minuteís work left to do and the bees seemed more interested in trying to get out of the veil than to bother me. Thatís what comes from not double checking! Thank goodness they were gentle Buckfast bees.

This year I lost some honey when I tilted the extractor to get the last bit out of the honey gate. Unbeknownst to me, the extractor had walked away from the five-gallon pail and the honey flowed onto the floor. Fortunately, we had purchased a gigantic tarp from Costco and laid it out before we started. It is a lot easier to clean honey from a tarp than it is from the concrete garage floor.

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