Friday, June 27, 2008

The Bee Farm

(Originally posted on my other blog 6-27-2008)

We took a field trip to our Bee-Guy's Warehouse. We get our local, raw honey from him, and were delighted to be invited to watch the collection process.

The hive boxes had been picked up that morning to be taken to various fields, but many, many bees were still around. They were especially thick near the line where the honey is extracted. All the children behaved just as I told them to and did not swat at the bees that came near. No one was stung during our visit; they didn't even seem to notice them after the first few minutes.

There were thousands of frames waiting to be emptied. There was lots of orange honey, some sage, even some avocado!

Here's a look at the line where the honey is extracted. The frames were put into one end of the line. They met "The Capper" which quickly saws off the wax cap that keeps the honey in the individual cells.

Then the frames go down the line and are put into a centrifuge. Many frames fit in at once. The spinning forces the honey out of the cells, onto the walls of the centrifuge. It then drains to the bottom and is collected.

The children were given spoons and allowed to taste the honey oozing out of the cells after then were opened. Yummy! We were able to taste more after it was strained, too.

We were given a bucket full of honeycomb. Most of the children liked the honey, but not chewing the wax. I guess that is a pleasure of a by-gone age.

The fragments of wax cut off the frames, and all that is removed when the frames need cleaned are collected in 50 gallon drums. Not very pretty, is it? The dark spots are dead bees.

It is heated and strained, and collected in buckets. When cooled, the wax is gathered on pallets, ready to be shipped off for candle making. Some also goes to cosmetics companies.

Here is our group in front of the warehouse.Have you any idea how hard it is to get a picture of that many little ones looking at you? Sorry to those who have silly expressions; this was the best one :) .