We harvested the top boxes from two of our three hives and got a yield of - you'll never believe this - approximately forty kilos (88 pounds) of honey! The bees are thriving and we're proud bee parents!
I've detailed the extraction of honey in a previous post, so I won't share that process again other than to note that it took an entire day to extract the honey from sixteen frames and then another week to strain the honey from the wax!
A frame of capped honey.
We scrape or cut off the cappings before spinning the frame and then put all the cappings in a strainer overnight to get out the honey. The process would have gone much faster I'm sure if we had more than one strainer!
All of the honey doesn't drip out this way and so you have to separate the remaining honey from the wax. We did this by placing the mixture in the microwave (and watching it very carefully) until the wax had just melted. Then we removed the container and let the whole thing cool. Once cooled, you can simply pick up the chunk of wax as it separates and floats to the top. We then heated the wax once again and poured it through a paper towel filter into a container. We decided to turn all of this batch of beeswax into candles by pouring the filtered hot wax into a mold or a glass jar and then hanging a string down from a stick to act as a wick.
The candles smell amazing and the boys enjoyed the excitement of turning off all the lights and watching the candle flicker and dance in the dark.
We are in absolute awe of bees. Their industriousness, their social organization and their ability to produce two of the most fascinating natural substances I can think of, honey and beeswax (in abundance!) is truly remarkable and utterly intriguing.