A shorter version of this post (without the photos) was published in the August 2019 newsletter.

Fifteen members helped with the Association’s annual honey extraction. Quite a few attendees came specifically to learn about extraction – some members before extracting their own honey, for the first time. One lesson they won’t forget is: get your clearer boards on in good time… and NOT the night before!

A misunderstanding meant clearer boards were not put on midweek as planned.  When Peter and Evan turned up to remove honey supers, free of bees, on the Friday night, they discovered clearer boards were not in place.  When placing them on (early evening by this time) they were swamped by angry bees.

By the following morning there were still bees on the honey frames.  Tony L documented the process followed to clear them.  Here is his guide to clearing supers of bees, you’ll see you need a lot of people:

  • Person 1 uses hive tool to remove frame.
  • Person 2 removes it and checks for drips, he hands it to Person 3.
  • Person 3 walks about 10m brushing bees off and hands to Person 4.
  • Person 4 continues to brush bees off (while many of the bees return with Person 3) and walks another 10m to Person 5 who is at the wheelbarrow.
  • Person 5 lifts a white sheet off a super in barrow so Person 4 can slot the frame in with as few bees as possible. Sheet replaced quickly.
  • When super is full (preferably with frames, not bees) Persons 4 and 5 wheel the barrow to the Extraction Unit.
  • Many other persons in said Portakabin yell: “not another”, “shut the door” and “get those b*****y bees out of here”.

Yes, a lot of fun was had by all!

Different uncapping methods were tried: uncapping knife, bread knife, hot air gun and spiked uncapping roller. There was no consensus of opinion as to what was best, though the largest vote was for the hot air gun…  I would say that of course, as it was mine (says the author). Cake was consumed (thank you Felicity); wasps were swatted; we sweated buckets and thirteen buckets of honey were collected… plus one of cappings

We started at 10am, worked hard and everyone was off the premises by 2pm: leaving the Portakabin shipshape and the extractor ‘pressure-washer-clean’ (thanks to the aforementioned Tony L).

Click on a picture to open the gallery and to see the whole picture.