Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bees and their honey.

Most beginning beekeepers have one goal in mind when they start beekeeping: producing honey. The delicious golden nectar bees work so hard to make is enjoyed worldwide. J Bees usually make more than they need but the beginner has to learn to judge how much honey to keep in the hive (including winter stores) and how much you can harvest. This is easier said than done. Other decisions that need to be made by the beekeepers are when to remove the honey and how. Last year we removed the little bit of honey I harvested from my hives around November. I only collected seven and a half pounds, but I had some queen and pesticide issues that I feel are all taken care of this year.

Brazillian Pepper comb honey

The how was easy. My bee-man came out and picked the frames he determined would be enough for me but leave plenty for the bees. Then we met at his house where he melted the wax off of the ‘capped’ honey frames. He used this long heated ‘knife’, but it looked kind of like a flat curling iron to me, lol. After the ‘caps’ were off the comb he put the frame vertically into an extractor which spins around very fast and the centrifugal force sprays the honey out of the combs and down into the bucket. Then it goes through the spigot and is strained, and into another smaller bucket where you can strain it one more time as it gets put into bottle and jars. It had to be strained because sometimes there are pieces of wax or there could be a stinger or other bee parts in the honey. It is a neat process to watch and be involved with.

The color of Honey can range from dark amber to an almost clear color. Color will depend on what is blooming at the time they collect the nectar. Some people prefer the lighter honey for the aesthetic qualities. However, the darker honey is said to have a higher proportion of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Honey is used for sore throats & coughs in this house. We also drink a teaspoon of honey with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in some warm water in the mornings (when I can remember). It can also be used as a topical dressing for wounds, burns and other injuries. The daughter of a friend of mine has a disease (Epidermolysis Bullosa) that causes blistering of the skin and has since she was born. The unfortunate thing about this disease is there is no cure. The blisters will pop up somewhere else on her body, but at least for now, the honey helps to ease the pain.

The uses for honey seem to be endless. Honey can be used for beauty treatments also. (I may do a recipe/post on that next). Does the color of honey matter to you? What is your favorite flavor?


  1. Great information, Dollwoods. I've really enjoyed learning more about honey while getting a glimpse of your lives on this great old Tampa property. Thank you for sharing.

    I guess to answer your question; I tend toward lighter honey. It seems like its such a special treat. However, I love the spice and boldness of the darker ones as well. Honey is always yummy to me!

  2. Hi Carrie, I googled Beekeepers Association's for my area and went to the meetings. Everyone is so nice and you get to know who has commercial hives, who rents hives, basically, who does what and where, lol.



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