Eastern Shore Living | Waxing Kara Honey Harvest 2018

A stack of hives in the back of a truck on the farm

Our honey harvest sort of snuck up on us this year. There was not a lot of planning that went behind the days-long process that is required from hand extracting honey from a dozen hives. The bees filled the hives with honey faster than we expected, and we had to harvest to prevent them from up and leaving. Bees are funny like that: they work and work and work to make honey, but will leave a hive if they produce too much.

It’s just about impossible to play photographer and work during harvest and so we had a little help this year. Our friend Kirsten Elstner from VisonWorkshops came to visit on a short notice call, and captured some of our most beautiful images.

Harvest at the Farm

Honey harvest is always a special event. It’s the culmination of a season’s worth of work done by our bees, and a brief moment for us to enjoy the beauty of what nature provides. Kirsten captured these moments beautifully, and we’re thrilled to share this visual story with you.

Ben and Eric opening the hives during honey harcvest Kara and the team in the field during harvest

First, we open up the hives to inspect the frames. Frames that are at least 80% capped are ones that we will harvest and process. This way, we don’t take frames from the bees before they’ve had a chance to produce honey, and we leave them with enough food to see them through rough patches in the season.

A section of comb from the hives Comb from our honey harvest

You can see how absolutely overflowing some of the frames were with comb. The bees had even begun to build bridges between the frames, closing gaps with what we call burr comb. Burr comb is laid by the bees to seal up open areas in the hive, and they typically begin doing that if their measurements have been off. Bees know how to best use the space in the hive, meaning that they build precise amounts of comb to fill their home.

A honeybee on mountain mint

A bachelor button on the farm

Do you do any beekeeping of your own? Follow us on Instagram and tag us so that we can see your photos!

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