Not much in this world can be done without some prep. In my experience, preparing for the first time you try a new activity takes an unreasonable amount of effort. Then, with practice, it all gets easier and easier. So I’m not too bothered that harvesting our first batch of honey is a multi-day event.
Step 1: Buy some basic beekeeping equipment (defining “basic” is a bit tricky)- tick
Step 2: Procure bees (beware the sting) – tick
Step 3: Let bees settle down and then check to see that there is honey to be harvested (all this requires is a few days plus a fun look-see in the hives) – tick
Step 4: Get those “basic” bits and pieces you now know you need to complete your beekeeping paraphernalia (a couple of hours and a lot of money is all this step requires) – tick
Step 5: Borrow actual honey harvesting equipment from your beekeeping club (or spend thousands buying your own) – tick
Step 6: Get all the final bits put together (build a box to hold the honey-laden frames, assemble a new top to replace the ratty one with a chicken’s help if you can arrange it, collect and wash a bunch of jars and buckets) – tick
Step 7: Arrange perfect weather so that the maximum number of bees are out foraging rather than hanging out on the honey comb (blue skies and hot is best; wind, rain and/or low temps makes honey harvesting a mugs game) – ummm, not yet.
The weather is coolish right now (10 AM) and overcast. The forecast is for highs of 20 (marginal temp) and clearing clouds. Tomorrow looks better, Tuesday even better, Wednesday we’re going out of town so the harvesting gear has to be returned by Tuesday.
All I can do is watch the heavens and wait…
And don’t forget the bit about getting really messy and sticky and honey on the floor and everywhere else too. Have fun!!
Oh lordy – you have no idea. The frames in the first hive didn’t have any foundation so the bees built their comb randomly. We’re still in the middle of hive 1 and terrified to think what’s in hive 2. I’ll have an enlightening post about it all soon. And yes, I’m still having fun (because I’m certifiable).
The bees built their comb randomly?! Would love to see a pic of the formation!
Have a look at the photos in this post and the lid in this one to see what comb looks like when it’s not in nice rows. I’m sure the bees see a pattern but I sure don’t.
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