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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a!
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Bee Movie with Gina and Linda

Every year the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association holds a short course in January. We are always trying to improve the course. This year we are adding a movie on how to harvest honey two ways - extracting (Gina) and crush and strain (me). We are so lucky that we have in our club a beekeeper named Allen Facemire who is an Emmy-nominated film-maker and director. He offered to make a movie for us about extracting.

Here is Gina getting all miked-up before the filming begins.


Allen comes with amazing equipment - microphones, cameras, and lots and lots of expertise!



The first part of the movie is to film taking honey off of the hive without using any chemicals like Bee Quik or Bee Go. As followers of this blog know, I don't advocate the use of any poisons, so I just shake the bees off and carry the frames away from the hive.



Allen is filming me putting the harvested frames into a nuc box to carry inside. The nuc is at my feet covered with a towel to keep interested bees from exploring the honey I am harvesting.



We took two frames in from Gina's hives.  I had brought three frames of my honey from home.  Here is one of the frames before a hard shake to get the bees off.
















This is our last snapshot.  We then got deeply involved in the bee movie.  Gina showed how to use an extractor and then I did crush and strain.  We bottled a couple of bottles of honey.  I thought my honey was awfully thin.

I took my honey bucket home to bottle the rest.  I kept thinking the honey was really thin.  I decided to put a drop on the refractometer.  This was fully capped honey and I have not been feeding my bees sugar syrup this entire season.  To my horror, the moisture level was 20.2.  Honey is too moist above 18.6 so this was honey with way too much moisture.

I've always relied on taking fully capped honey, believing that the bees don't cap honey that is so moist that it will ferment.  Well, not so this time.  I called Cindy Bee who told me to put the bucket with a dehumidifier and maybe it could be de-moisturized enough.  I posted on Beemaster to find out what people thought was behind this.  One theory was that we are in a heavily humid area and maybe the bees just quit before they evaporated the moisture because it has been humid and rainy.  Who knows?

Maybe I should make mead.......that way the inevitable fermenting is invited!
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4 comments:

  1. "Bee"ing that this is my second go at the first season keeping bees (total loss last year) I'm happy to learn that you harvest honey without chemicals! Even though I have no intention of harvesting this year I'm glad to know that it's possible. I was going to suggest making mead - it's wonderful, especially with light honey! I made a batch from what my beek mentor suspected was "capped sugar water" aka Nector™

    P.S. Yaoh! Gina's hawt!

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  2. Like you I've always thought the bees only cap honey when it is at the correct moisture level. This is news to me and a little disturbing that you can't count on capped honey being safe. Wow, I don't have one of those instruments you mentioned to measure moisture. Will be aware when I harvest this year if the honey seems thin. Thank you again for valuable info.

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  3. I'd be very interested to see the movie that was made.

    Is it available for distribution or online somewhere?

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  4. We made it to show at the beekeeping short course that our club offers in January in Atlanta. What we covered in terms of crush and strain you can see on my homemade video on the right sidebar.

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