Some hard workin’ women!
On this cold, rainy day it sure seems like it was ages ago when we pulled a couple of honey supers off of our bee hives at the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program.  Actually it was only a few weeks back and it was actually very warm and sunny that day!
We are still pretty new to beekeeping at BDVP and this was our first time extracting honey from our own hive.  We have been playing around with beekeeping for the ast few years but, this was our first year to try it on our own.  Last year we had some wonderful volunteers who maintained our hives and harvested honey for us.  Well, this year the same, lovely volunteer helped us extract honey on our own!
Checking the frames.

We began by examining the hive and pulled out 2 full honey supers. We encouraged the bees to move down into the hive by using a very stinky bee repellent.  This way we were able to remove the full supers and frames without bringing too many bees with them.  Mary, a crisis counselor at our facility has been wanting to get into the hive this whole year but, we hadn’t been able to sync up our schedules to make it happen.  She was finally able to come out and get into the bees when we pulled the honey.  I have to tell you that this woman is fearless! It was awesome.  In the past, we have had plenty of residents and staff members who enjoy walking down and watching Susun (our allstar volunteer) and myself work with the bees.  They (understandably) tend to prefer observing us from afar.  Mary, on the other hand, was right up in there with us!  This lady is a natural. In fact, she’s the one that got all of these great close shots of the hive.  Thanks so much, Mary!

Susun, our ever faithful beekeeping mentor… Thanks!!!!

In order to extract the honey we had to borrow an extractor from a local beekeeper.  We met up the next morning to get going on spinning out our honey.  We had lots of help!  Our faithful beekeeping mentor, Susun was back to show us how it’s done.  We also had a number of staff, volunteers, and clients participating.

Dean is getting really psyched about using the extractor!

Frame ready for the extractor

  We started out by pulling the frames out one at a time and cutting the cappings off with a hot knife.  This opened up the comb so we could then put 2 frames in the extractor at a time and start spinning.  You “spin” out the honey by spinning the extractor one way for awhile, then flipping the frames over and spinning it again…then finally one more flip, some hard cranking…..spin and pull them out.

Go Mary!

Crankin it!

Keep on crankin’…..

After all of this hard work, you open up the spout on the extractor and let the honey flow! It’s just like magic….
We got about 5 gallons of honey this year and a whole bunch of wax cappings.  We recently made some more of our healing salve with some of the beeswax and we are planning on making some more lip balm in the coming weeks…. We’ll keep you posted on how it turns out. 

Sweet Honey!

 *This blog was brought to you by the letter Beeeeeeee……… 🙂