This is a frame of honey from one of the boxes I pulled from my hives. Capped honey is ready to bottle as opposed to uncapped nectar that contains too much water and will ferment. Of course if you're making mead that's ok (yes there is a plan to make some), not so much if you're bottling honey.
I use the "crush and strain method" to extract honey. I cut the honeycomb from the frames and the use a potato masher to crush it to release the honey. This method is much cheaper than buying a centrifugal extractor, it just take a little more time. After crushing, I scoop the honey and wax mix into a food grade bucket to let it settle. The wax will float to the top over a couple days. I then take out as much wax as I can and the pour the honey into another bucket. This time I put a strainer across the bucket to get any last bits of wax or bee parts out. This frame has dark honey. I'm guessing it is from purple loosestrife, an invasive plant, that the bees do not mind much because it's a great source of late summer into fall nectar.
One deep box off the hive yields about 5 gallons or about 50lbs of honey and wax.
That's a sticky situation! The white frame has plastic foundation. Most of the frames I use are foundationless. Meaning I let the bees create what ever sized comb they want. For the foundationless frames I simple cut out the whole comb, leaving a narrow band of cells at the top for the bees to start on next year.
When done, I put the sticky, empty frames in the lawn away from the hives. There were two bees on it within seconds! I place the frames away from the hives because the feeding frenzy that ensues can set up robbing of honey stores from the hives. Also, I will stand among to sea of bees to figure out where they are going. Bees travel in a straight "bee line" from the food source to their hive. I noticed one group of bees traveling towards my neighbor's woods, opposite my hives. I will investigate if these bees are from a kept hive or feral colony in the woods.
Finally some raw, unfiltered honey from my treatment-free bees. Raw means I did not heat the honey. This keeps the enzymes in the honey intact for added health benefit. The strainer I use allows pollen and some propolis to remain in the honey, again this adds to the benefits of honey. Usually supermarket honey is heated to pasteurize and help it flow easier into bottles. It is also filtered to remove all the pollen to prevent crystallization. My honey will crystallize and that is perfectly fine. The reason to prevent the honey from crystallizing is purely cosmetic. I do not treat my bees with any antibiotics or chemical fumigants. I use other techniques to help the bees deal with mite pest and disease. More on that later...
I was called by a logger in Putnam last week to rescue a bee hive in a tree. When he cut it down it "exploded" with bees. A large portion of the tree broke off exposing the hive.
Luckily I was able to find the queen! That is critical because the rest of the bees will follow her.
As I carefully removed the comb I tied it to frames to put in the hive box. This one has some capped brood ready to hatch and also young larva. The bees will eventually fill in the rest of the frame with comb and then cut and remove the strings.