If you are living at an urban place with rural lifestyles then you might want to consider beekeeping as a hobby. All the reasons why are discussed in all various posts found on this blog. In other words, having your own beekeeping farms allows you to harvest your own supply of pure and fresh honeycombs.
As a beekeeper, hives are made out from wooden bars or frames which attracts the bees to make their comb inside them. The frames are designed in rectangular shape with a ridge which encourages the insects to start building their comb at the center going downward.
Harvesting the honeycomb
1. Protective Gear
If you intend to expand or have several beehives then it is better to have your own protective gear or clothing. This will ensure your protection against bee stings especially when you have very sensitive skin.
2. Disabling the Bees
There are many various methods and techniques on how to harvest the honeycombs from the beehives. Let’s just cover the most common and harmless ones that are currently being used by most beekeepers.
Smoking the hives is the most common and traditional method of temporarily disabling the bees. This will actually affect their pheromone signals which somewhat makes them confused.
- Sugar Water Spray
Combine a mixture of water and sugar then use it as a spray. Spraying it to the bees will make them quite busy for a while trying to clean themselves. So you can take advantage of the time harvesting their honeycombs.
3. Pulling up the Frames
While the bees are temporarily disabled, pull up the frames slowly. Many of the bees will be on their honeycomb so you have to brush them down into the hive.
4. The honeycomb
Now that you finally took the honeycomb, it is all up to you to decide how to store it. Large beekeeping farms will usually put their harvested honeycombs into a centrifuge which extracts the honey and separate it from the comb. You may also want to simply cut the honeycomb into certain sizes (smaller pieces) then it’s ready for storage. You have to know that the entire honeycomb is edible.
Most farmers would choose the extraction process because the emptied or crashed comb can be placed back into the farm for the bees to reuse it as a wax for their new honeycomb.
5. Closing the Hive
Once you successfully took out the honeycomb, the last step is the most crucial part which is closing the hive. Closing the hive carelessly can crush the bees crawling at the edges. Thus, you have to do it properly through patience and care.
Harvesting Honeycomb from a Beehive that are found in the Wilderness
There are actually two types of beehives that can be harvested. The first one is from a bee farm as discussed above. While second are beehives found in the wilderness. These bees thrives and build their hives on their own without any assistance or help from beekeepers.
Now, if it happens that you found one and you want to taste some of their honey but you do not know how to properly get it, then be warned that the bees won’t just easily allow you to take their precious food away from them. They do fight-back using their stings. So before you make an attempt of harvesting a honeycomb, make sure that you are not allergic to bees or you may suffer from a serious allergic reaction.
However, even if you are not allergic to bee stings, getting stung too many times can kill you. So safety must always be observed at all times when dealing with the bees.
Step 1: Clean Yourself
It is so amazing to know that bees doesn’t like stinky individuals particularly those with strong perspiration or person who sweat a lot. They see you as threat to their entire colony which might cause contamination into their honeycombs. So for this reason, they will have to use their full force to stop you from getting close into their hive.
For this reason, the first step is all about cleaning yourself. Taking a bath is one of the best way to prevent or minimize your body’s perspiration. Once you are done taking a bath, you have to wear clean clothes. Also, wear a hat and put on a veil to protect your entire head from the stings. You can sacrifice any part of your body to be stung but not your head because it can be very painful and dangerous. When bees sensed you as a threat, they will usually target your face first.
Anyway, before you go, it is best to embark at the right period of time when it’s not hot outside.
Step 2: Make sure that you really found a beehive
It is very important that you have to make sure that what you found is a really a beehive. You have to know that there are other insects such as wasps and yellow jackets that build their hives in almost similar manner as the bees. These kinds of insects are very dangerous when you happen to accidentally disturb them. And for the worst part, their hives don’t contain honey.
So make sure that you are dealing with a real beehive, but if you are a complete amateur when it comes to bees then I suggest browsing Google for images or watch videos from YouTube to be aware about how exactly they look like.
Step 3: Tracking the Bees
Bees can actually build their hives at any place such as trees, holes from the ground, tanks, tunnels and even private houses. It is easy to track bees from their hives because they often move around in numbers. Let’s say for example that you follow a group of bees where they end up entering in and going out from a hole of a tree or log. This confirms that you just found their hive.
Step 4: Drive the bees using smoke
Gather some woods and leaves that you can use to burn and create smoke.
Smoke can drive the bees into panic thinking that there is a fire. Due to this reason, they will end up trying to protect their honey by using their body to cover those unsealed hexagonal cells of their honeycomb. While being busy protecting their honeycomb from a false alarm, you have to take advantage of it to harvest some part of it.
Step 5: Taking a piece of the honeycomb
Always move slow and gently around the bees because they perceive sudden movement as a threat where they will not hesitate to attack.
Use a sharp knife to cut a certain piece out from the honeycomb. It is actually not advisable to take the entire honeycomb because this will put an end to the entire lives of the colony. You should also try to avoid taking the part that contains the larvae. The larvae can be eaten which is full of protein but by harvesting them, it is the same thing as putting their colony to its end.
Step 6: Leave the bees alone
Once you finally got a piece of the honeycomb, you should leave the bees alone.
Moreover, if you find beekeeping and its harvesting process quite challenging task just to obtain the honeycomb then you may want to consider buying them instead. I highly suggest that you should buy your honeycomb directly from any beekeeping farms.
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