We've been thinking about getting a couple bee hives of our own, but it feels like such a big undertaking. One of our friends invited us to come and watch as he harvested the honey from his hives so we could see how it was done.
I thought it would be scary, but it was actually a lot of fun!
There were sure a lot of bees, but no one got stung, not even our friend who didn't wear a bee suit. She said that the bees smell fear and if you're not afraid they would sting you. I guess she was right.
Me, my dad and my brother got bee suits. It was so cool to be THAT close to the bees.
Inside each of the bee boxes there are slats called frames and the bees build their honeycomb onto these frames. We took out the frames that were covered and put in empty ones. After we had gathered all of the full frames we took them to the barn.
In the barn, our friends let us try the honeycomb. It's a lot like gum. You peal off a piece of the wax and chew it until all of the honey is sucked off and it looses it's flavor, then you spit out the wax and do it again. It was a neat way to sample the honey.
To get the honey out of the wax we had to melt the wax caps off of the comb and then put it in an extractor. In the picture above, I'm using a heated knife to cut away the wax caps. I had to do it fast because we didn't wan the honey ripping out of the comb and into the sink before we put it into the extractor.
The extractor spins with the frames inside it so that the honey is forced out of the comb. After it spins we remove the empty wax and our friend keeps it in the fridge to make beeswax candles later.
Then we open the extractor and strain the honey as it drains into a bucket like liquid gold. We got to take a little jar of it home. What a fun day!