Way behind with updating the blog and not helped with a laptop break down with a long repair and eventually the manufacturas admitting defeat and refunding me my money. So with new laptop it’s time to catch up on back posts.
The honey harvest is a strange time of year for me as I don’t enjoy it one bit and once I get to the point of removing supers I start to feel as I could dislike beekeeping and often think honey gets in the way of a good hobby. It’s also not a good time to ask me for a beekeeping favour as I could be a bit short tempered. But there’s that deep seated male competitive gene that also has me trying to increase the crop each year without compromising the bees that only makes this time of year more difficult.
So regarding my honey crop this year my bees have performed well and supplied me with a similar surplus to last year and unlike last year where I was very slow to extract this year with my new 2nd hand shiny nine frame radial extractor I made a big effort to get it all extracted earlier and either jarred or stored in honey buckets for later sales.
I like to separate my honey from various apiaries so it requires a bit of organisation keeping supers stacked in groups depending on apiary and after extracting marking the buckets to specific apiaries. This way I can adjust each label showing a more precise location to the hives and sell as local as you can get to that apiary.
So after extracting and calculating I have extracted 630 lbs of honey from 11 honey producing hives at an averaged af approx approx 57 lbs per hive. I had a few of hives that produced approx 125 lbs and obviously others less.
It’s important to me to only try and take a surplus of honey but as we do this towards the end of the year judging the best time can be a gamble and weather can play a big part. Get the timing wrong and take the honey to late with a turndown in the weather and you will have to feed or give back some of the honey. Take the honey to early and the weather and forage is good you could run the risk of cramping the hive for space and risking a late swarm. Thankfully I only had to feed two hives but the goal is zero. I may have to give some hives some fondant in the new year but will only know closer to the time.
Overall very pleased with this year and quantities are not the best way to judge a season as there are so much more enjoyable parts to beekeeping and a big highlight for me this season was the queen rearing and watching the virgin queens on orientation flights and very much looking forward to building on the success next year.
Another late highlight the bees from Northfield Avenue allotments produced an award winning honey with a third place at the National Honey Show Middlesex class for two jars of medium honey and with luck the bees may improve on that next year.
Ok following MerryBee and Emily’s request to see my other “Highly Commended” award for a practical invention related to bees or beekeeping at the National Honey Show I have added it to this post.
It’s not strictly speaking an invention but then it’s hard to think of anything that can be invented that is new in beekeeping.
So basically its a jig to help attach labels to various sized jars all level and in the same position. It is designed to accommodate six of the most popular sized jars with the three different levels on the jig. The first and raised section for the 8oz hexagonal, 8oz square and the 8oz traditional honey jar The middle section for 12oz hexagonal and 12oz square jars. Finally the recessed section for the standard 1lb honey jar.
The perspex straight edge is first set to the correct height from the bottom of the jar to the bottom of the label and then the selected jar depending on size is positioned in one of the three areas so the jar is sitting just behind the perspex straight edge and you simply align the label along the straight edge and stick it to the jar. To centralise the label I simply go by eye but it is very easy to put some marks on the straight so as to position the jar and edge of label so they will be perfectly central.
Without doubt it speeded up my fitting of labels to jars and turned a fiddly awkward time consuming job into something enjoyable and an ability to daydream and think of other things also nothing more rewarding than seeing a whole line of jars and labels all the same and level.