Mike Dickson is a lot like the rest of us in that he understands the beauty and importance of bees, but he’s hesitant to be around them for fear of getting stung.
Nevertheless, he decided to go for it because he wanted a source of fresh honey on his homestead.
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His friend Adam from Farm Life Outfitters helped him set up his hive and Dickson walks us through getting ready to raise his buzzy new brood.
But first, we’re going to see Dickson head out to Farm Life Outfitters to harvest honey for the first time with the help of beekeeper Tracy.
Tracy designed a product called The Hive Butler to make harvesting easier and less stressful for beekeepers.
After we get an introduction to the equipment, it’s time to get buzzing.
There’s no real danger here – even the kids are around to help.
It looks like Mike and Adam are going to use a smoker to calm the bees so they don’t go flying everywhere.
And clearly Mike is going to do all the close-up work which is why he’s the one with the beekeeper’s suit on.
But the kids will be nearby!
Once they get to the spot, we get our first look at the bees.
And it looks like the smoker worked – they aren’t swarming. They’re just hanging out doing whatever it is bees do in their hives.
In reality, they have no desire to hurt people but anything that threatens them near their hive is going to get stung.
When Adam cracks open the bee’s lair, we see all the honeycombs and the frames where the honey collects.
Once they find some good, honey-filled frames, it’s time to break out the Hive Butler to store them and transport them to another part of the farm.
Now that the men are actively harvesting the honey, the bees are getting a little aggressive for Dickson’s comfort level, so Adam gives him a spray to calm down the swarm.
Not all the frames are harvested though.
Adam explains that the honey has to be the right color and the frame has to be the right weight for a beekeeper to know it’s worth taking out of the hive.
They harvest quite a lot in the end, but they do leave some so the bees have their winter food.
The next step is to take it over to the hothouse where they keep the extractor and the tanks.
It’s about 90 degrees in there so that the honey liquefies and can be cut off the frame like butter.
A pointed roller helps Adam break up any hard chunks so they can melt off easier.
It’s a very gooey process!
Once the honey is all broken up and warm, the frames go in the extractor.
That will spin the melted honey out of the frames.
And just look at all that amazing honey!
It’s incredible to see how straightforward the process of harvesting really is, even if few people are keen to do it with their own hands.
It’s so refreshing to see people cooperating to help each other survive and thrive, especially off-grid where things can get pretty tricky.
Be sure to scroll down below to watch The Fit Farmer harvest honey for the first time in preparation for his own inaugural beekeeping season.
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