More and more people are trying their hand at beekeeping these days which is great! We need bees to pollinate a large part of our natural food sources and they are becoming more scarce in the wild. As good human beings it’s important that we step in to help mother nature when she needs a hand. Besides continuing to get to eat most of your favorite foods like avocados, apples, squash, cucumbers, etc. with beekeeping comes another great-tasting and healthy reward… honey.
In Massachusetts, there is what’s described as early and late honey. Early honey comes from fruit trees, blueberries, wildflowers, clover, and is sweeter and lighter in color. It is harvested between May and early July. Late honey is darker and full of more antioxidants. It is harvested in August and September and comes from goldenrod, jewelweed, bamboo, and asters.
How to Harvest Honey
So now that you’ve decided to be a beekeeper, you’ve worked and tended your bees for awhile, now you are ready to taste the fruits of your labor. You want to harvest honey, but how? First, you are going to want to brush the bees off of the frame. You can make a one way bee escape under the spot that you want to harvest and in a day or so your harvesting area will be practically bee free. Now, to take the honey from the frames you have a couple of options:
1.) You can use an extractor and you’ll get more yield, but they can be pricey. Also, extractors can be harder on your frames so you’ll need thicker heavier wire.
Or 2.) the simpler way is to just cut the combs out with a small knife. You can use this immediately as a quick spread on toast or anything else you’d put honey on. However, if you want to get the wax out you can strain it as well. Heating and cooling helps to separate the solids from the liquid.
Making Money Selling Honey
A successful hive can make up to 100-200 pounds of honey a year, but the national average is closer to 50. Two hives, which is a great place to begin, will give you enough for yourself and to sell if you want. However, choosing to sell your excess honey is not going to make for a career change. “A commercial beekeeper owns at least 500 hives and drives them all over the place to pollinate crops.” That’s not a recreational beekeeper. Yet if you sell your 50lbs for a dollar a pound you can make $50 a year. If you expand and become an experienced beekeeper with 25 hives in a yard you could make up to $1,200 or $1,300 a year.
Deciding to start your first hive isn’t going to be about money for a new beekeeper. It’s about the experience, the accomplishment of owning a successful hive, your contribution to the ecosystem, and the taste of sweet honey for you, your family, and friends. At Mosquito Squad of Central Mass and the North Shore, we applaud your decision. That is why we are passing on as much information we can find to you, because bees are not just important they are necessary! As we go about ridding your yards of the flying pests we hate, we make sure to protect the bees along the way. If you’d like to know more about our services or our commitment to bee safety, give us a call. We would love to sit down with you and talk about both! 978-528-4983