In the Fall, the hunting season in Maine is in full swing and in the video my dog is wearing a reflective orange vest, so that the hunters don’t accidentally shoot at him.
The Fall is also a perfect season to harvest honey while simultaneously prepping the beehives for winter – all in one swoop.
The Farmers’ Almanac that has been published, incidentally, in Lewiston Maine since 1933 predicts a cold and snowy winter in Maine this year.
Inside the double walls of my single-box European-style Layens beehives there’s a good layer of raw wool insulation providing warmth and moisture control.
For this upcoming winter, inside the beehive I also use raw wool insulation both on the top and on the side of the bee space.
A sackcloth pillow with raw wool inside goes on top of the bees nest.
I use ordinary pushpins to attach a cotton towel filled like a dumpling with raw wool to the side board (or divider board) that separates the smaller winter-time bee space from the rest of the beehive.
I call this wintering technique of mine – a ForestBeehive dumpling – I believe it is the easiest and the most efficient way to insulate the side of the bee nest with raw wool for warmth and moisture control.
For any beekeepers out there, if you start using my ForestBeehive dumpling technique for wintering, a reference is appreciated!
Here’s my beehive with the top lid open. You can see natural honeycombs just like in the bottom picture of a feral hive in a natural tree hollow.
Natural honeycombs are fully built by bees themselves. Conventional beekeepers, on the other hand, in order to speed up honey production use a starter foundation such as an unnatural commercial plastic foundation or any commercial wax foundation that, in most cases, is practically brimming with pesticides.
It takes a bit longer for the bees to build honeycombs without any foundation but it’s healthier this way both for the bees and for humans eating the honey built without any artificial foundation.
I am harvesting from the side farthest from the open entrance, that’s the honey-store side.
I will eventually leave just 7 frames and remove any empty and semi-empty frames as well as surplus honeycomb frames.
In the areas with cold winters, if I leave extra honeycomb frames it will get harder for the bees to keep all unneeded honey warm. It will be easier for the bees to winter in a smaller bee space.
A small white gadget that I put under a pillow – is a WIFI gauge for remotely monitoring temperature and humidity inside the hive.
And this frame, I decided to return to one of the beehives – it will be a good wintering frame with about 5 inches of capped honey on the shorter side.
This year, I was using this stainless steel European honeypress for pressing honeycomb – it captures a lot of pollen naturally and produces the most nutritious and delicious honey.
After collecting the honey, I let the bees clean everything. Here comes the cleaning crew!
The video shows our harvested Maine Wilderness Honey.
As I have beautiful natural honeycomb, I sometimes just cut parts of it without squeezing the honey out.
And I always collect wax cappings – a delicious chewing gum – its high pollen and propolis content is believed to promote healthier teeth and gums.