Being a negligent bee keeper has its rewards. I harvested about 30 pounds of honey from one of the two hives that did not make it into February. The second hive with last summer’s captured swarm had not capped off any honey. I wonder how the bees made it to January.
Taking honey from a dead hive allows the beekeeper to skip the worst step of honey extraction — fumigating the frames with stinky stuff so the bees fly away for a breather. There’s another advantage to working on a dead hive; there are not as many bees trying to get on the porch to watch. The job is still strenuous and, of course, sticky. My extractor holds 2 frames. I am the motor.
Frames of capped honey are heavy. Spinning them entails sitting on the extractor so it doesn’t wobble too much and a long bouts of cranking the handle. Then I strain the honey through paint filters to remove the wax caps and other debris. It takes about a week to get all the bits of stray honey off the counters, door knobs, hand rails and floor after the process is over.
This honey is dark no doubt because much of it started as goldenrod. It’s also thinner than usual as though the wax caps the bees made could not compete with the condition’s of this winter. Still, a honey harvest is compensation for a lost hive.