Becoming a Beekeeper

2008 - the year that I finally became a Honey Baron

Finally, my dreams come true. A mild winter, a warm and rainy spring, and healthy bees. I waited until August to harvest honey and here's what I did.

beecart-1 honey cart

I have just finished taking off the honey supers and putting them on the cart. Each box on the cart yielded about two gallons.


After resting in the outbuilding for almost three years, the honey extractor and tools are brought to the garage. I hope you can see the excitement on my face. NOT!! The last time I extracted, I used a hand crank extractor and I worked my guts out to extract one box of honey. Now I have nine boxes and an electric extractor that I have never used. I'm still concerned that honey harvesting may be the event that ends my beekeeping days.


Here is the setup to process the honey. Honey boxes on the right, uncapping in the middle, extracting and then placing the extracted frames in the boxes on the floor on the left. If you look closely at the white spigot at the bottom of the extractor, you can see the first of the honey running out into the white food grade plastic five gallon pail.


An action photo of me with a big sharp knife cutting the caps off the honey comb. This allows the extractor to sling the honey out of the comb. Isn't it pitiful how cumbersome it looks when a lefty handles a knife?

Each box has eight frames that have to be uncapped on both sides, nine boxes gave me 144 chances to cut my arm off and I didn't get a scratch!

Things I learned: bees can smell honey for miles. Bees will come for miles to get at honey they smell. Short of sealing the house in a plastic bag, many, many bees WILL get to the honey extraction operation. Those bees are a constant irritation. Next year the extraction will be done at night to solve the bee problem.

The results of the bees and my labor. From left to right: a one pound bottle, a five pound bottle, and a one and a half pound bottle. What's that you say? You don't know what a pound measurement is? Well, for reasons known only to the ancients, honey is measured in pounds, sort of like oil is measured in barrels. The five pound jug is about the size of a half gallon milk jug. So, what you see is seven and a half pounds of the 180 pounds I have to bottle. At least bottling can be done in the kitchen that is air conditioned.

honey jars