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True “Homemade” Honey

Submitted by: llamalover on August 16, 2011
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True "Homemade" Honey

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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- …

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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

Warre 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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Comments

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  1. 8-16
    4:43
    am

    Could you post the web link for the plans you used?

    Thanks

  2. 8-16
    6:39
    am

    Beeutiful post, Angela!

  3. 8-16
    6:39
    am

    This was wonderful. I’ve always been interested in keeping bees but like you I got the same information from the local beekeepers group. I’ll be looking for more information on the top bar hives now. I’d love to learn even more. Keep posting and thank you for this great post.

  4. 8-16
    6:52
    am

    I have always wanted to do this. I’m one step closer now…

    Thank you!

  5. 8-16
    8:32
    am

    Thank you all for your kind comments! Im sooo excited about this post!! A very special Thank You to Suzanne and Cindy P. Your my heroes!

  6. 8-16
    9:53
    am

    We are thinking of getting a hive next year, after we return from a long Stateside time. Lots of people here keep bees, very simply, just like you’ve done.

  7. 8-16
    10:21
    am

    Awesome, Angela. I’m totally jealous of your apian inclinations. Someday I hope to be one of you, too!

  8. 8-16
    10:35
    am

    I’m so excited to see this post! I’m trying to talk hubby into a hive in our back yard. The kids have been in daycare with a beekeeping family for years so respect and protect bees which is awesome. We’re going to have a hands on field trip with them this month or next to learn about extraction etc.

  9. 8-16
    11:39
    am

    Way to go Angela! That looks like awesome honey. I’m still mulling over the bee-keeping and the top bar hives. So glad you for your success with your hives. Keep up the good work!

  10. 8-16
    12:38
    pm

    I really miss having bees. Next year . . . and yep, top bar hives this time around.

  11. 8-16
    1:08
    pm

    I love my top bar hives. Angela has been a huge help to me. With her help, I learned to not stress and let the bees be bees! I also have one of the hives she made… it is beautiful!

  12. 8-16
    2:09
    pm

    Wonderful post, Ang!

    I bet that honey tastes soooo much better than stuff from the store!

  13. 8-16
    2:21
    pm

    Glad to see the post Ang… I hope to get my own “beeutiful” bees going next year… I am sure my fruit trees would be grateful! And, I know where you live if I need to kidnap the “expert!” LOL

  14. 8-16
    5:53
    pm

    Very cool! I’m bartering a website design for some top bar hives so I hope to be in the bee business by next spring. I can hardly wait!

  15. 8-17
    12:55
    pm

    Thanks everyone. I do hope you can get to your beekeeping plans in the coming year. These girls really do need help. The more beekeepers the
    Bee-tter 😉 I have plans for my top bar hive,
    trying to figure out how to attatch them on CITR…Ohhh Cindy….

  16. 9-7
    2:11
    pm

    weighing in from the city here: A close friend kept bees on his roof. You knew you were on the A list if you received a jar of Thompson Honey!
    Now he’s working with exoffenders raising bees in a vacant lot in a blighted part of town. All of which is to say, this is, so far, one of the agricultural endeavors that cities have not passed laws against!
    And considering the problems with colony collapse disorder, every hive is more precious than ever.

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