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Monthly Archives: October 2013

Honey Harvest Day!

(Pretend we posted this in mid-September)

Andy & Lisa contemplating the shake-shake-shake dance of the honey extractor/centrifuge.

Andy & Lisa contemplating the shake-shake-shake dance of the honey extractor/centrifuge.

Andy and Lisa stopped over to check out this whole honey-harvesting-thing and we quickly sucked them into the joys of hot knives and giant centrifuges … and they stayed for the whole crazy day! Yay!

It’s a good year for us as our hives continue to grow. We harvested 140 pounds of honey. If you’re like me, your brain can’t comprehend this measure-honey-by-the-pound concept. I still think about it in terms of gallons. A gallon of honey is about 12 pounds – so, we harvested roughly 12 gallons. I admit – it’s kind of cool to think about having so much honey in your basement that it’s in 5-gallon pails!

Once the honey was off, we started a treatment for mites and started feeding sugar syrup via feeders inside the hive. We’re pretty happy with the amount of honey they’ve stored in the hive bodies thus far, but since starvation is a real threat each winter, we want to help them pack in as much honey as possible. There’s nothing blooming now, so the syrup we are feeding is their one source for supplementing their storehouse.

Apivar mite treatment strips.

Apivar mite treatment strips.

With our new found honey riches, we are undertaking a new adventure – making mead (honey wine). In a future post we’ll provide details on the insanity, which includes buying a fruit press on eBay, spending *days* making homemade cider, and then starting the fermenting process on batches of cyser (apple honey wine) and hard cider.

In other news –

  • If you have 15 minutes, you should watch a 15-minute TED Talk by Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota bee expert, and all around fantastic human being. In simple terms Marla explains bee’s importance, and the reasons behind the pollinator problems. And – – what everyone can do to help the plight of our pollinators.
  • Very soon the Iowa Honey Producers Association will publish a list of all the beginning beekeeper classes scheduled for this winter all around Iowa. And, the first weekend in November Youth Scholarship winners will be determined for 2014. A scholarship means that these lucky teenagers will receive equipment and supplies and bees to start their first hive. And (!) they will be paired with an experienced beekeeper mentor to help them every step of the way. Check out the IHPA website for more information.