This past week, we have taken off the last of the honey crop for the season. Last year, I think it was all off by the end of August, but this season has been a bit slower due to rain. You can't rush the process, as the honey needs to be at a certain stage before it is ready. In the summer, a honey frame looks like this, with the cells filled with amber liquid.
After the cells are filled, the bees continue to "work" the honey extracting any extra moisture so that it properly cures to the right level for winter storage. Once the bees are satisfied that the honey is ready, they cap it over with a layer of wax to seal it in the comb. Below is a perfectly capped frame of honey ready for extracting. Again, I marvel at these brilliant creatures who instinctively cure their honey without any mechanical gauges or equipment. They just know.
We don't do the extracting ourselves, but take it to a honey house nearby which has a large extractor. The wax cap on the top of the frame is melted off with a hot (electric) capping knife before the frames are put into a big stainless steel drum. The drum spins and the honey is propelled out with the power of centrifugal force.
Sometimes the bees are ornery when we remove the honey, but the weather this past week has been sunny and they have kept busy harvesting more pollen from fall flowers. You can see the little orange sacs on their legs are swollen with their booty.
This is the hive after the top honey supers were removed. These are healthy, happy hives, with a lot of bees in each.
Soon the fun of bottling begins...hubby's domain. :)