This has been an unpredictable year. The spring arrived a whole month early, the summer was extremely hot and dry, and the fall (so far) a bit cool.
It was anyone's guess what sort of fall flow might be available, but the bees continued to find nectar and bring it into the hive, so this year I decided to leave the supers on my best hive to see what might happen.
The brood boxes were packed with honey already and they're well prepared for winter, so it couldn't hurt.
This weekend I took the supers off of the hive and extracted them.
I should preface some of these pictures by saying I asked Garrison (2 1/2 yrs old) to take some pictures for me. After reviewing 30+ pictures taken, two pictures were of me, and the rest were pictures of his tractor.
Oh well, everyone's got their priorities!
Below I'm walking over to a vaccum cleaner with a frame of honey in hand, the vaccum set in reverse to blow air out of the hose.
If you look close, you can see the black hose on the ground.
When I remove super frames from the hive, I give each frame a good solid whack (sometimes two whacks) downward onto the top edge of the box, knocking most all of the bees off the frame and back into the hive.
The bees who are head down in a cell, or who have a really strong grip get a burst of wind from the vaccum to remove them.
Once the frames are clear of bees, I put them into an extra, empty super box and cover it with a blanket to keep other bees from finding out where their honey is going.
Once I've gathered up all the frames, I take them into the basement and spin them in our homemade extractor.
Our honey is pure, raw honey and once spun from the frames is stored into a settling bucket where the air bubbles in the honey are allowed to rise to the top before we bottle the honey.
I think this might be the smallest batch of honey I've ever extracted, at just barely over 1 gallon (about 15 pounds).
Maybe the fall flow isn't really all it's cracked up to be? Maybe the end of the summer was too hot to have a decent fall flow?
I'm not really sure of the answer, this is the first year I've tried to harvest into mid October.
Either way, all my supers have been extracted, and this is the last of the honey we'll harvest this year.