Elbows deep in the sweet stickyness of honey in a hot honeyhouse in October is right where I want to be. I was called and asked to come and put in a few days of hard work at Sweetacre Apiaries and I was happy to be able to make the time! Bill Stagg is an wonderful friend and mentor in beekeeping for me, and I am always happy to help him and his beautiful family anytime that I can! Here are some pictures and descriptions of how the honey harvest works in a commercial beekeeping honeyhouse!
1. Bill brings the honey boxes in from his bee yards in to the honey house, which is heated to keep the honey liquid.
2. The honey frames are over 80% capped to ensure that the moisture content of the honey harvested is between 14-20% so that is wont ferment.
3. This is a hot knife, it is used to slice off the cappings on the honey frames. The cappings fall in to the whirldry below (a spinning chamber that runs all day and allows for the honey in the cappings to fly off and drain, leaving dry wax for candle making).3b. Bill using the uncapping machine!
4. The uncapped frames, the glossy honey dripping in to the honey bin.
5. After the frames are uncapped, they are placed in to the radial extractor (10 frames each) for 20 minutes at a time. The honey is pulled out and the combs are emptied and are able to be used for the following beekeeping season.
6. As, you can kindof see, there is a water jacketed gravity clarifyer which pumps honey in to the holding tank at the back of the image.
What fun it was to work in the honey house, and I came home with lots and lots of cappings wax for the coming Wax Rendering and Candle Making workshop on November 22,2012. Register here: www.backyardbees.ca/courses. For more information about Bill Stagg, go to www.sweetacreapiaries.ca.