- ”You will not have enough extra honey to harvest your first year.”
- “Just know that the first year the bees are so busy building up their hive that you won’t see any excess honey to harvest.“
- “Best case scenario you will have a jar of honey when you get through your first year.”
I heard them all….over and over again. So when we started this fun venture we knew not to expect any deliciousness of our own this first year. And we were ok with that. A lot of times you see a slow start to a new venture. Now with that being said….holy honey!
We have harvested for our second time this year and we will need to harvest again before winter. If you’ll remember, our first harvest was 42 lbs. It was a beautiful sight to behold. And I was okay if that was all we saw this first year. I’ve even been able to sell about 20 lbs of it so yay me! But it became very clear in our last inspection that the 42 lbs was just the beginning.
We had two honey supers on the three strong hives. And those six boxes were darn close to being full. We were not ready to harvest but knowing that we were going to be gone and it would be two weeks before we were able to inspect again we went ahead and added a third box to each.
When we made it home from vacation our first task was to get in and inspect the ladies. First and most important was Hive 4’s queen (see “Farewell to the Queen” and “Passing the Torch”). But almost as important was seeing how filled out these honey supers were. Out of the three hives which is 6 supers and 60 frames we had to pull 24 frames of fully capped honey. On top of that the remaining 36 frames are probably 50-60% full.
So I spent most of the next day extracting honey and getting ready for bottling again. As I made my way from frame to frame I watched the honey buckets filling up. And filling up some more. That first harvest we did only filled about 3/4 of a 5 gallon bucket. When all was said and done I had three (yes three!) 5 gallon buckets filled with honey.
Now we prepare to bottle…..shoot, do I have enough bottles?!