I am a keeper of honey bees–a Beekeeper.
Currently, I have two Top Bar Hives and one Warre hive. A Top Bar Hive is just one method of beekeeping. Basically its a long box where bees draw comb from bars that sit on top of the hive. Top- Bar- Hive.
Top Bar Hive
When I first began my journey into beekeeping, I looked to a local beeclub for information. I was sadly disappointed. The information was inaccurate, and their views were all one sided–Langstroth, the stacked, white boxes people usually think of when beekeeping comes to mind. Not to mention expensive. A typical Langstroth will cost about $300 each and you had better plan on buying two. This just did not fit me nor my budget. I’m frugal to a fault, maybe its my default setting by now.
I set out to do my own research on the web. That’s where I found Top Bar Hives. This method fit me perfectly. I really appreciated the natural and gentle approach. The plans to build your own hive are free online. I printed them off and the family and I set to work on our first hive. It cost us about $50 and was built over a weekend.
Recently, I did a hive inspection and discovered that it was full to overflowing with honey! The girls had even made comb on the tops of the top bars into the roof or attic space. I harvested two combs of honey and did a split, or started a new hive from the brood comb or baby bee comb. I harvested only two frames to ensure the girls have plenty of honey, their food source, to overwinter.
So that’s the background, now… .
Here’s the Recipe for Harvesting Honey:
Remember how I said I’m frugal? I did this honey harvest on the cheap and easy. “Traditionally” you would need a honey extractor ($300 and waaayyy up), some vats/buckets ($20 each), a honey knife to cut/melt the comb from the frame ($100), an uncapping fork ($12) and various jars and lids ($40). I’m hear to tell you…not any more!
I used a kitchen fork (FREE from my drawer), a butter knife (FREE from my drawer), a kitchen strainer (FREE from my cupboard), and a bowl (again, Free from my cupboard). A bonus to mention, these items are dual purpose, unlike a large honey extractor, vats, and electric knife that take up space and have just one use.
I used the fork to uncap or open up the honey cells, the knife to cut the comb from the top bar and further into smaller chucks. I used my hands to squeeze the honey into a strainer placed over a bowl. How hard is that?
I got almost 6 quarts of the most beautiful, tasty and filtered honey. Filtered? Yes filtered. Have you ever noticed a little tag on store or farm market honey that claims its not filtered? Well, it is. Otherwise there’s lots of not so nice bee stuff in the honey as you can see from the photos.
I then placed the raw, truly filtered honey into clean/sterile mason jars with lids and bands.
From start to finish, it took me about an hour.
This is not pasteurized. Truly raw, filtered honey. Beekeeping doesn’t have to bee (hee! hee! bee humor) expensive–or having your own honey in the backyard–it can bee fun and frugal. Bees anyone?
Join us on the forum at Top Bar Hives for Bees!
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