this time, with some finesse…
Before leaving for summer holidays, we planned to do one last bee inspection, potentially harvest some more honey and clean up the broken comb that we had caused in the first honey harvest. There were a few new combs that had been built, filled with nectar and already capped for honey. The bees had obviously spent a fair bit of time fixing up their home after our first harvest and sturdily reinforced the broken comb along the bottom of the hive. We wanted to remove the comb sections that were sitting in the bottom of the hive in the hopes that the bees would go back to building their comb from the top bars.
Luckily, the comb hadn’t been built right to the bottom of the hive and was very easy to pull out in sections. A lot of the comb that was sitting on the bottom was filled with nectar and much of it was capped as well. As we planned to take one fully capped comb in addition to the bottom comb, we figured that the overall water content would be suitable for honey to be stored.
We had a bit more finesse during our second attempts at pulling a comb out and managed to get one beautiful comb without disturbing very many bees. We cut the comb into our bucket system for honey extracting and put the hive back together without leaving anything too sticky. We’ve made this video showing some clips of the harvest.
With the 1.5 L from our first harvest and 3.5 L from this harvest, we’ve ended up with about 5 L of honey! We also have melted the wax down and have two small bricks to try making some beeswax products with.
WIth honey on the brains, we left for our summer holidays on Vancouver Island. It’s harvest time in British Columbia and farmer’s markets popped up in almost all stops on our route. At one stop in Sorrento, a farmer’s market had honey from Sweetacre Apiaries – the very spot that our bees came from originally! Honey from the Shuswaps was a wildflower variety and much darker than the honey we have from our bees.
Next, we stumbled upon a village fair in Chemainus on Vancouver Island and found some wildflower honey from Clegg Apiaries close by in Ladysmith. The lovely woman from Clegg Apiaries now has 7 hives and is just getting into beekeeping and has harvested hundreds of pounds of honey from her hives in their second season. They were lucky enough to catch some swarms this year and expand their hives.
Finally, we picked up some fireweed honey from Simply Divine Farm at a farmer’s market in Comox which had the nice, light colour that was closer to the colour of our own honey from Calgary.
There may not be an official occupation to become a sommelier of honey, but it really is quite remarkable how every honey has a unique colour and taste. Bees tend to stick with one particular flower to gather nectar from for day or weeks at a time, so beekeepers can pull different flavours/flowers of honey from a single hive at different times of the year. We’ll have to do a little more research to figure out the flavours that predominate in our innercityhoney. Perhaps as our honey collection grows, we’ll have to have to plan to host some tastings!