Wednesday, September 17, 2008



In investigating or taking comb honey from our bees it is important that
we do it at the right time, especially if intended for market, which is
the case with the more extensive bee-keeper. In securing comb honey I
practice the tiering-up system, and have done so for over thirty years. I
can get more honey by this system than any other I have ever tried, and
they have been many. One super of boxes is first given to each strong
colony run for comb honey, and as more room is required the first cases
are raised up and a new one placed beneath, and at times during good
seasons a third case is added and placed next to the brood-chamber.
I go through my apiary twice each week during a good flow, and note the
progress being made in the supers, as I can quickly do, as every super
has an observation glass through which I can at a glance see what is
being done. All completed supers are removed from the hives at each time,
freed of bees, and taken to the honey-room adjoining the bee-yard. At
this time, if more room is needed it is given each colony requiring it.
To have the honey in the best shape to sell, it should be removed from
the hives as soon as all is capped over. The beautiful cappings are then
white and very inviting. If allowed to remain long after being capped in
the hives the cappings become darkened by the bees, and the appearance is
As the summer harvest—which here is secured from white and alsike clover,
and basswood—nears its close, less surplus room should be given, for by
the contraction of space in the supers more combs will be completed than
in the larger space, and I desire to get all the finished comb honey
possible. At close of surplus-gathering from the above sources, all
supers should be removed from the hives, cleared of bees, and stored in
the honey-house.
For the correct storing of surplus honey a warm, dry, and airy room is
essential. There should be windows at least on two sides of the room to
admit light and a good circulation. The windows should be opposite, and I
think preferably at the east and west sides of the room. The building
should not be shaded, and should be painted a dark red or some dark
colour, so as to draw heat. The hot, dry air of summer will in motion do
much to still better ripen the honey. Screens of fine wire should be
tacked on the outside of the window-casing at the bottom and sides, and a
three eighth in. space left at the top by full width of the window, and
extend about 1 ft. above the window. This will allow any bees that may be
carried in with the honey to escape at the top, and will also exclude all
bees, flies, and moths.
The building should be 1 ft. or more above ground, _so no dampness may be
caused from beneath.The windows should be put open on all pleasant days
in summer. Of course, the honey-room should be mouse-proof. A strong rack
should be made on which to place the honey, and preferably at one side or
end of the room, as it will so least interfere with working room. The
rack should be 1 ft. above the floor, so the air may freely pass under
it. A row of cases should first be put on, and on top of these at the
front and back strips 1 in. square should be placed ; and this should be
continued in the same way until the space is filled to the ceiling of the
room, if necessary.
All the finest honey should be stored in a body, and that not so fine by
itself. At the time the honey is taken in I place it to one side, and the
next morning clean off the propolis from the supers and boxes, so far as
we can, and tier it up on the rack in the proper place.
By storing the honey as above stated, the hot-air circulates freely all
through between the cases and boxes, just as it should do to ripen the
honey more fully. The honey is thus left until time for crating to
market, which is of necessity after the close of the summer harvest. Some
is crated to supply my home demand, but the larger part is left until
The supers taken off at the close of the summer harvest not completed are
tiered separately.
To handle and crate comb-honey properly requires much care. The delicate
combs are very easily cut or bruised, and a little carelessness will
result in broken combs and dripping honey. In crating comb-honey I have a
case at my right hand on a bench, at my left I place a honey-case. A
section-box is raised from the super, taken in the left hand, and with
the right hand I use the hive-opener, with which I scrape off the
propolis from the box, and place it at one corner of the case, next the
glass. The second section is removed from the super, and placed next to
the first one in the case, and so I proceed until the case is filled. The
other supers of the same grade are thus emptied. If any combs are cut, or
in any way broken, such should not be put in the case. A very few broken
combs, if cased, will make a dauby mess, as the honey will cover much of
the case bottom and drip through, thus disgusting all who may in any way
later handle the honey.
I usually case my nicest honey first, which I grade as No. 1. That not so
white in comb, or a little coloured by the bees, and combs not so
complete, is styled No. 2. The honey in the cases of each grade should be
uniform in quality. The honey next the glass in each case should be no
nicer than that in the central part. The honey should in other ways be
cased so that to see the combs next the glass, as it stands in the store
or commission house, may be an evidence of the quality of the whole case
without further inspection. When honey is so put up the purchaser,
whether grocer or consumer, can take it and handle it comb by comb with
satisfaction in selling or using. Every bee-keeper has his own reputation
to build up and hold ; if he expects good sales in the future, his goods
should be as represented by the honey in full view.
The partially filled supers taken off at the close of the summer harvest
should be looked over and all complete boxes crated for sale, and those
not so filled returned to the hives at the opening of the fall
honey-flow, if such comes.
For the second grade I use very few uncapped combs, or those combs not
nearly all capped. I sell some of the partially capped combs to
neighbours, or to those who call and may see and prefer it at a lower
price. Those not sold at the close of the honey season are " emptied and
used the next season. My honey-crates have two glass sides, which show
off the honey to good advantage, and aid sales. The covers are tight
fitting, and come over to the outside of the crates, thus keeping out all
—F. A. SNELL, in American Bee Journal.September 1900

THE EVER PRESENT ...........Comb Honey

The wax worm of the lesser wax moth can do a lot of damage to the
cappings of comb honey. By placing the comb in a freezer for several
hours this nuisance can be completely eradicated.
Once the honey is packed in its container, that is, in the case of round
sections after the covers have been put on each section, they should be
put into strong plastic bags ( a doz or more to a bag),removing as much
air as possible in order to reduce moisture.Twist tie the tops of the
bags and leave in the freezer a day or two. On removing from the freezer
they must be left several hours in order to wipe away any condensation.
There is also no better way of keeping comb honey in perfect condition
without granulation, indefinitely, than freezing.The plastic container is
not damaged in any way.

8000 round plastic containers & lids which will hold an 8-10oz piece of
cut comb together with labels and cutter are available for collection
from BICKERSTAFFS. Priced at 0.08p each the whole is offered at £1000.00
offer price for 2014. A fraction of the cost of ROSS ROUNDS.
A sample container and label can be posted on request.

Buyers order form at the B FAiR WEBSITE

A video can be viewed


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