Frames of Sweetness

The abundance of our summer harvest includes bee hive frames heavy with honeycomb and that sweet golden liquid stashed inside.

This is a frame full of honeycomb. Once a hexagonal wax cell is filled with honey, the bees cap it off, so the honey remains inside. When one frame is filled up, like this one, the bees start working on the next frame. A hive box, or super, usually contains four of these frames.

frame filled with capped honeycomb

frame filled with capped honeycomb

I harvest honey the simplest way, without any fancy equipment. I scrape off the honeycomb and the honey from the frames – a sticky endeavor that leaves drips of honey on my arms and on the counter, no matter how carefully I work.

scraping off honey and honeycomb

scraping off honey and honeycomb

A side benefit of doing this sticky work is that you can place a few clumps of this honeycomb in your mouth and chew on it, sucking out the honey. This must have been the original chewing gum!

honeycomb

honeycomb

Now for the final step of separating honey from wax:

separating honey and wax

separating honey and wax

It is that simple!

The frames still have remnants of honeycomb and bits of honey on them. I place them outside where the bees can find them and finish cleaning them. They do a pretty good job over a few days.

bees cleaning the frames

bees cleaning the frames

And the final product filled with the sweetest essence extracted from flowers, herbs, vegetables, and trees:

half gallon of honey

Whatever honey the bees make from now on will be their food supply for those long, lean winter months lurking on the horizon.

The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame.

About Beauty Along the Road

My name is Annette. I am passionate about nature, health, simplicity, self-reliance, truth, and life-long learning. Originally from Germany, I now live in Virginia, USA. I am a therapist, health coach, writer, photographer, and organic gardener.
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52 Responses to Frames of Sweetness

  1. Jane Lurie says:

    I love buying my honey at our local farmers market. So pure.

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  2. glendanp says:

    Super interesting. I’ve never seen it done or really understood how it was done. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are also centrifugal extractors used by people who have a lot more honey to work with than I do. And then there are ways to leave the honeycomb on the frames and only extract the honey, so the bees don’t have to start all over building the comb. It is a true art and science, this bee keeping business. Glad you enjoyed the post, Glenda.

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  3. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame | stenoodie

  4. Pingback: Frame (4) | What's (in) the picture?

  5. Donna King says:

    Wow; you must have so much patience. The close-up of the honeycomb is lovely, and so is the one of the bees cleaning the frames. Enjoyed the post!

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  6. I am envious of your hives, Annette. Many years ago I thought about beekeeping but was a renter then and it didn’t make sense. By the time I became a homeowner it was still in my past and stayed there. I’m not really allowed honey now so just have it when sick in tea. I imagine yours is delicious coming from your own bees.

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    • As I explained in another comment, we have an arrangement with a knowledgeable local bee keeper who needed additional properties to install more hives. We built the bee house, she looks after the bees, and we get a portion of the harvest each year. So sorry that you can’t enjoy honey very often – it is such a rich source of sweetness and nutrients, and gives immune support if it comes from your local area.

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  7. Irene says:

    Thanks for all the info. Love honey. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  8. Fascinating. I never knew the process of extracting honey from the honeycomb? I have a friend who is a beekeeper and he said that the population of bees is dying. Have you encountered any problems with your bee hives?

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    • In our area, we’ve had very few colonies dying. We lost one hive last winter because the bees came out during unusually warm weather in late winter when there was no pollen around yet. I refuse to buy any plants if the store can’t tell me whether or not they’ve been sprayed with bee-killing chemicals. Our property is totally free of chemicals, and there’s a great diversity of plant life, so the bees are very happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Back then in Kw,I saw honey in abundance.There’s a lot of shop which purely sells honey.That makes me wonder because I haven’t seen much bees or flowers either,except for a couple of months on winter months.
    Such an interesting piece..I was wondering how was the honey being taken from the comb and you just showed it realistically.
    Great content Annette.

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    • Hi Dutch Blue – that’s interesting, where does the honey come from in Kuwait? BTW, while you are in Bavaria, look for pine honey (Tannenhonig). It’s a dark green and intensely flavored honey. My favorite honey that I can’t seem to find anywhere in the US.

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  10. Looks yummy Annette. I love local honey too. Do you raise bees and harvest honey?

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  11. Great outside-the=box entry for the challenge … well done … love it … and tea with honey. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

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  12. I can taste it! โ€“Curt

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  13. shoreacres says:

    This is so interesting. I had no idea how the honey was harvested, actually. And nice to let the bees “lick the bowl,” so to speak. Does anyone there brew mead? There’s a vinter in our area that does honey wine, and it’s just delicious. The beekeepers’ association has a mead tasting event once a year. They flavor it with every sort of herb and such. I need to check the calendar, and see when this year’s will be.

    Thanks for the reminder, and the terrific post.

    Like

  14. Laura says:

    WOW! That’s amazing. I’ve seen it done on TV but to actually know someone in the blogosphere who has such talent, is awesome.

    Like

  15. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    I love bees. I had them for a little while, and want very much to do it again. It’s hard with bears and skunks. Once we build a bear and skunk proof “cage,” it will happen. I look forward to it. I love seeing your pictures of you getting the honey. Don’t you just love chewing the honey comb?! Yum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our two dogs keep away any adventurous bears or other animals that might have a sweet tooth. But I know that others have had to use electric fencing around their beehives.

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      • Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

        Our dog sleeps inside and the bears around here are onto the electric fences, and that doesn’t keep the skunks away. What other people have done is a concrete slab with chain link starting from below that (to discourage digging skunks, and the chain link all around and on top. Seems to work, but a big job. I meant to mention how clever I thought it was – your idea for “frames,”

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  16. Great post. I would really love to try this myself – you are fantastic! I cannot go without honey each day. I start with one teaspoon in my black freshly brewed coffee.๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hey Annette, I love how you show us the timeless natural ways! So delightful and wholesome!
    Wished I could taste the honey… my grandpa was a bee keeper… brings back memories (also from the Old Country in Bavaria….)

    Liked by 1 person

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  19. lazyhaze says:

    Now, you’ve got me craving honey!

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  20. tree girl says:

    We are just beginning our adventures in beekeeping.
    My husband has been building the hives and the frames the past few weeks. We will get our first queen and subjects at the end of October.
    No bears or skunks here fortunately.

    Like

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