We have kept bees for several years now, and we have had two hives for the past several years. We have had to deal with swarming, disease, and wintering. Some winters our bees make it through fine and some they don’t because we live where the winters are harsh and unpredictable, and it is difficult to know how best to help our little honey making friends survive.
Last year, our bees did not survive. Sadly, we had both hives die out. They had done a great job of making enough honey to survive, though. So since they wouldn’t be using their stores of honey, we decided to harvest it. This was not the honey set apart for us to take, but it was the honey that we left for them to eat over the winter.
When the bees had started to outgrow their single hive body, we added a second box. However, due to time constraints and forgetfulness, I never got around to putting the frames in the second box. This small oversight did not bother the bees at all. They simply built their own maze of comb and started packing it with honey!
We have a large extractor that works great for frames of honey. We tried to put some of the larger chunks of unframed honey in there, and we instantly realized that was a huge mistake. So we had to find an alternate way of extracting this delicious honey before the kids and grandkids ate it all right in the comb.
Some scouring of the internet led to a few different ideas that didn’t pan out. We finally settled on pressing the honey out. We were going to use a potato ricer, but when our kids saw the size of it they changed their mind. We are not a family that likes to do things small. We are more of the “go big or go home” mindset. So our son-in-law saw our Whizbang apple cider press sitting in the dining room and suggested we give that a shot. This was a genius idea and took care of the honey more quickly and easily that anything else we could have tried.