Honey Harvest Followup
I bottled my honey last night. I can’t quite express the thrill of my first harvest.
It took a couple days to let the crushed honey drip through the strainer. The weather was not nearly as warm as the ideal, but my oven’s bread proofing setting came to rescue again. This setting keeps the oven temperature at 100F. To help it along, I moved the straining honey into the oven and periodically turned the oven on for a while, then off. It worked out well.
So what was the final yield? The bees made me 5 quarts of honey. Honey is usually reported in weight, so that’s about 13 pounds, almost half the full capacity of a honey super. I just usedcanning jars because that’s what I had on hand. The final step is to make a pretty label for my jars. I still have to do that.
One more thing, a few people asked what the bees do now. As the weather gets colder, and the frost and cold ends this season’s life cycle for the plants, there isn’t anything new for them to eat. They have packed the hive with honey to sustain them. In addition, from now until Thanksgiving, I’ll feed them a thick sugar syrup, which they can convert to winter honey to fill in any empty spaces in the hive. When the weather gets too cold for them to leave the hive, they will cluster inside the hive, keeping it around 95F. It’s not hibernating, but it’s slower pace than summer. In the spring, they will start all over again.