Raw Unfiltered All-Natural Local California Honey

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Taking Off the Honey

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THE PROCESS OF "TAKING OFF THE HONEY":

  1. put on bee suits.
  2. start up smokers.
  3. place palettes down for the 'honey' supers to rest upon once removed from the hive 'stack'.
  4. take fumes boards ( we use 5 at a time and then rotate) and sprinkle lightly with non-toxic 'nasty' smelling liquid (the purpose to 'encourage' bees to move downward out of the supers to be 'taken off'). Note: the honey is not affected by the fume boards - nothing toxic is in the fume liquid and there is no possibility of drip.
  5. take bucket and hive tool to first hive.
  6. remove hive lid and check the honey - the supers have been separated from the larger hive boxes by a grid called a 'queen excluder' - this grid allows the bees to travel up and down from box to box but not the queen hence no brood (baby) is inside the honey super itself.
  7. remove hive lid and place fume board on top.
  8. scrape the wax from the hive lid into the bucket for melting down later into blocks of wax for market and place lid to the left of the hive (always in the same spot).
  9. wait and then check the bee movement downward.
  10. when movement is sufficiently 'clear' remove the super. If there are any 'lagging' bees in the frames we use a blower - no damage to the bee just a heavy wind to free them from the frame.
  11. place the super onto the palette and lid the supers so that 'foraging' bees will not 'move in' on the honey.
  12. place the original lid back onto the hive, unless there are several supers to be removed - in that case simply repeat the action.
  13. once the fume board has accomplished its 'need' then move it on down the line of hives and take the next available one and repeat the same process until all hives have been administered to - in our case 300 -700 hives.
  14. once the honey supers are on their respective palettes we then place them onto the flat bed truck on another set of palettes, as we do all the lifting with a hydraulic person mover as verse to the larger machinery – we then cover the load with a tarp, tie it down and move onward to the next site.
  15. this total process is repeated until all supers have been removed from each site.
  16. the flat bed then makes its way to our extractor in Filmore where the supers go through the process of having the honey removed, then bottled and labeled.

Klausesbees leaves the honey in one or two larger lower boxes where pollen (the bee's protein), brood (babies) and the community live as this will serve to feed the bees in winter.

THE MESA - PART ONE: We have taken the big white C7000 flat bed truck up to the Mesa / Tipi site as there will be more supers to take off - approx. four palates - 78 supers plus several large boxes. The Mesa flowers have all gone now, only tall grasses remain. Deer can be spotted from time to time combing the tall strands in search of food. They hide in the thickets.

Mesa - afternoon Mesa - afternoon 2 Mesa - afternoon 3 Beekeeper Klaus. Opening the gate Vista Mesa
Entrance Mesa - end of season Mesa - end of season 2 Mesa - Supers-Excluder

We will move all the boxes out to the alfalfa fields the next day, after the supers have been delivered to the extractor for jarring. This will be a long day - we start at 5am and return to Hillhouse from Filmore around 6pm. We will take a break and then return to move the remainder of the bees at night out to the alfalfa fields in Palmdale/ the bees will rest off in the hill until early morning 4am when we will continue the trek to the desert sites.

THE MESA - PART TWO. 'Taking off’ or 'robbing' the honey is done by placing a fume board over the opened super. A non-toxic, though very nasty smelling liquid is gingerly/sparingly dripped onto the inside of the fume board. The top of the fume board is metal; hence it warms with the sunlight, 'activating' the smell downward into the box. The bees simply go into their bottom hive boxes or exit, congregating on the outside. The fume box is not kept on the super for more than a few minutes at a time. It is passed from one super to another - the moment the bees exit, the super the box itself is removed and placed onto the palate - the process is repeated until all the supers have been removed.

Klaus moving through the supers Klaus lifting the super Honey boxes Lifting a super Klaus carrying. Klaus carries super on hip
Erika smoking. Erika fume board Erika laying fume board Erika carrying super

The smoker is used to keep the bees calm - less inclined to roam.

Mesa - bees active Reviving smoker

ORANGE GROVE - RIVERSIDE. This was the first year for the orange groves. A fellow grower whom we met at the Westwood Farmer's Market invited us to pollinate his groves. We were delighted.

Orange Grove - move in Orange Grove

The tools used to remove the bees from their supers were the fume board, smoker and a blower. The fume board was used first then the blower was used in a downward motion to clear any bees clinging to the frames, thus blowing them into the bottom boxes. The boxes were covered with a tarp to prevent the bees from 'robbing' back their honey in the supers.

Orange Grove - blower Orange Grove - boxes Orange Grove - activity Orange Grove - covering the bees
Orange Grove - bees over box Orange Grove - under cover. Orange Grove - super move

We were a bit late in getting to the bloom as the almond groves were late in finishing their bloom but there was still plenty of time for the bees to enjoy the fragrance and nectar of the orange blossom - with the end result a once in a life time Gourmet Almond Orange that is utterly splendid.

AT THE PLANT

Frames move up the ramp to the cutter Knife cap cutter - this machine cuts the cap on the honey cell that the bee has sealed off when she knows the honey is 'just' right. The frames are warmed so that the honey will flow. Extractor - a centrifuge 'pulls' the honey out of the uncut capped honey cells/comb leaving wet sticky frames. The end product, the honey, 'slides down the sides' of the enclosed vat walls. Extractor and Ramp The honey is passed through the hose after it has been extracted into vats.
Honey scum - this is the naturally raw honey, complete with any debris, wax caps, wings, dirt etc..  We simply skim the top but NOT the honey itself so that no debris will settle on top when the honey is jarred. Our honey remains naturally raw and unfiltered. Bottling honey Boxing up the honey 'Wet' supers now ready to take to the alfalfa fields to bring in new honey. The supers are the smaller sized boxes that have the queen excluder placed between their open bottoms and the two story hives. The supers are easier to handle when filled with product.

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