Field Trip to A Honey Harvest
July 26, 2008
This is our field trip to Joseph's honey house. He was about to harvest the honey he took from his hives on our property. We now have 59 hives and there are several "supers" from each hive to be harvested. First the frames are "decapped" by shearing the face off each frame, both sides. Then they are placed vertically into an extractor that is basically a carousel that spins the frames at a speed that makes the honey flow out of the cells in the honeycomb. It is collected in the bottom and flows through pipes to a storage container that lets the honey stand for a few days to let the bubbles rise to the top, so that the honey is crystal clear. A spigot is at the bottom of that stainless steel tank and that is where the bottling takes place.
Joseph only sells his honey wholesale in 55 gallon drums to bakeries, etc. He has over hundreds of hives spread over several counties to maximize honey production. He grows his own bees and queens and increases the amount of hives from within. Beekeeping is a valuable industry that affects the human diet by providing pollination of crops such as almonds, watermelons, berries and other plants that require bees to propagate the plants.
boxes called supers full of frames of honey
the extractor/centrifuge that hold full frames of honeycomb
"supers" stacked up waiting for the next honey flow
supers will be placed on top, so bees will fill them with honey
Billy and Joseph
frames loaded and ready for spinning
this is an incubator to make more queen bees
close-up of the individual queen cells
close-up of frame with "our" palmetto honey still in the comb
close-up of the frames after decapping
the grafting area where Joseph collects eggs to become queens