Our hives are situated in Dogmersfield and Church Crookham (Hampshire, UK). The honeybees forage for nectar up to 1 miles from the hives on average, but could fly anything up to 5 miles looking for a good source. When the honey is ready it is bottled via several steps.
Then we can remove the Supers and take them home without bringing a box full of bees along for the ride!
The cappings are later melted down and filtered along with other wax. We can then use the wax to make products such as candles etc, or recycle it back into foundation.
Sometimes the honey has “set” in the honey comb. In this case, instead of spinning the honey out, we have to melt the wax and honey using an uncapping tray. The melted mix runs into a collecting bucket, and the wax floats to the top and solidifies where it can be removed.
Inevitably quite a lot of wax debris falls into the honey as the frames are spun, so the honey is decanted into containers ready for filtering. If the weather is cool, the honey is warmed gently so that it flows easily. The honey is then passed through a fine muslin cloth to remove any debris.
As long as you keep the lid on to stop moisture getting in, your jar of honey will keep for a long time. Occasionally the honey will crystallise (turn semi-hard). If this happens simply stand the jar in a bowl of hot water and the honey will return to its liquid state.
We’re not quite done though. The now empty wax frames are taken back to the bees, who do a very thorough job at cleaning the honey comb and removing the remaining honey. In a few days the frames will be clean and dry, and ready to be removed again for storage in a dry shed ready for next year.