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2nd Year Beekeeping

Welcome to the NEW 2nd Year Beekeeping Blog. For those who have sucessfully kept a hive going through the winter we will be here to help you keep your hive thriving through it's second year.

Beekeeping requires organization and planning. Beekeepers must be conscious of their equipment build up and the space the growth of their operations will need. It is easy to take four overwintered hives and expand your bee yard out to twenty-five hives. It is just as easy to find your honey room a sticky mess after hours of extracting just one super. We run a clean operation out in the field but never put thought into laying out a honey house.

How large is your operation going to get? What is the best workflow? Where are you storing the cappings? Melting wax? Using for cleanup? Type of bottles? Labeling? These are just some of the questions you may come across when developing a plan for your honey house. You want to be able to go from the staging area to having finished bottles in the back of your truck and off the market in as little time and as little cleanup as possible. This is only accomplished with a well-organized honey house.

Before we begin any discussions of a honey house you will need to answer the number one question: How big is your operation going to be?

Each state will have different regulations and depending upon the size of operation you may be required to obtain a Food Sales Establishment License from your state’s Agricultural Department. If you are required to obtain this license to process honey you will most likely also have strict guidelines for honey house construction that transcend any layouts mentioned in this blog. You must follow all regulations and pass inspection when obtaining a Food Sale Establishment License. Beekeepers that are processing and retailing honey on their own premises, a door-to-door route, or at fairs, festivals and farmer’s markets may not be required to obtain such a license.

Honey house will vary in size and most are temperature controlled to help keep the honey flowing but one critical thing to ensure is that the room is air tight
. Bees and other insects will find any opening and rob you out. If you are not extracting your honey immediately after removing the honey supers you need to place them in a freezer for up to 24 hours to kill the potential wax moth eggs.

There are three main stations that if arranged properly within the workflow will increase productivity:

Place your honey supers into a drip tray to prevent honey from seeping through and dripping onto your floor.

Uncapping station: an area with the tools and equipment that catches the dripping honey and cappings as each frame is being uncapped. Don’t let the cappings go to waste. You will be amazed when you see the honey collected from the cappings.

Moving form uncapping to extracting should be within feet of each other so that you may easily transfer your frames.

Extracting Station: Aside from having the extractor that meets your budget and extracting time, you can save additional time and steps by filtering into a bottling pail as it flows out of the extractor. Your honey house needs to have the ability to bolt your extractor to the floor or other stable surface so that it does not “walk” when it is off-center.

After honey has been extracted it will need time to settle and release air bubbles that may have been trapped.

Bottling Station: Here is where you can save time by being prepared. Have your bottles cleaned, dry and ready to cycle through for filling. Nothing will slow down production more than having to stop to remove a lid. Keep ergonomics in mind when bottling and place your equipment appropriately so that you are not constantly bending down.