Oh those silly bees! As much as you think you've figured them out, they will pull a fast one and surprise you. Case in point, I put honey supers on two of the hives a good while back. One hive went right to work drawing comb on the frames, and the other took its sweet time. I sort of figured that the slow response may have been because of swarm season and a changing of monarchs, and I figured they would get around to it. And they did. Just not in the way I thought they would.
While checking the hives on Saturday, I did as I always do and looked for brood. And while I found quite a bit of brood, I noticed something else too. In the upper deep chamber, I found that the ladies were packing the nest with honey. I found four frames in one hive jammed packed with honey, and another frame was mixed with brood and honey. Deciding that I needed to lighten the load and avoid a honey-bound hive, I pulled the frames that held nothing but honey and decided to extract it. While I got a brand new extractor for Christmas, I decided that it wouldn't be worth it for a few frames, so I decided to do the "crush and strain" method. After scraping all of the honey and wax off the frames into a strainer, gravity made all the golden honey drip into the five-gallon bucket below.
After all the honey dripped out of the wax, I strained it through mesh and then bottled it. The four frames yielded almost two gallons, and between all my neigbors and family, it went rather fast. I still have quite a bit left over and I have even more honey waiting in the hives. And with the honey that I'll be getting from the supers on the two hives, that means I'll have to make the trip to Walmart to buy even more jars. And I wondered whether I would be getting much honey this year!
As you can see, the honey is a beautiful dark amber color. It has a heavier taste compared to last year's harvest, but a delicious taste. I'm wondering if it came from crimson clover.
But the ultimate compliment came from my neighbor. She told me that her grandsons have already dived into the honey and loved it with hot, fresh biscuits and butter. And while that truly made my day, I can't take the credit. The bees did all the hard work. I just provide the house they live in.