My bees are heading to the North Yorkshire Moors next weekend to (hopefully) make me some heather honey. So this weekend I have been getting ready for their departure. They've brought in loads of honey.
The frames are totally full of oil seed rape, sycamore and clover honey which they've gathered around Fotherdale and so I need to empty these frames of honey and fill the hive with new frames so that I get pure heather honey and not a big mixture!
First off I've got to decap the frames with a hot knife. This takes off the wax top layer 'capping' which the bees have put on. This allows the honey to ooze out.
I mash up the contents of each frame into a stainless steel bucket and put the bucket in a tea urn containing boiling water. This melts the honey and the wax that is in the comb into a liquid. I then pour the entire contents into a honey bucket which has got a tap at the bottom of the bucket. As the liquid cools the wax rises to the top and the honey to the bottom. All I have to do is open the tap to pour the honey into my jam jars. The tricky bit is deciding when the honey is coming to an end and you're going into the waxy section. I call this wax+honey section my grade B honey. I put 'red tops' on my grade A honey and blue tops on my grade B honey.