On the topography of honeycomb…

Bit of a mid-summer treat yesterday: Tim Malfroy came to help check our Warré beehives and bliss us out with amazing discussions on pollination, super organisms and honey. We got some amazing photos of summer in beeland.

Summer in the Australian bush (in a good year) is like nirvana for honey bees, thanks to the abundance of flowering eucalyptus. So much nectar. So much pollen. The Milkwood Farm bees are going nuts!

Nick the birthday beekeeper

Underside of a full warré box of honey on its side, comb fully drawn down. 100% wild honey in all it’s glory

Nick + Tim checking a frame from each box to make sure all’s well

Multi-coloured pollen being packed into different cells, with capped honey above and un-capped honey and brood (the little white grubs – baby bees) as well. How amazing is this super organisim?

Another full box of comb, showing the underside…

Tim with a warré frame of virgin comb, which the bees are busy filling with honey as they go, thanks to the honeyflow that’s everywhere on our farm at the moment

Before we go, writing on the top-board the details of today’s visit (you always think you’ll remember later what you did when, but it aint always so)

Virgin comb. I mean, look at this creation. Topography sublime.

Capped (white) and uncapped (glistening) honey.

Me in honey nerd mode. Come on, though. Isn’t it (the honeycomb, not me) the most incredibly awesome stuff you’ve ever seen?

Tim cutting out some comb to crush and strain for honey

Folding the comb over…

Squished comb goes into the strainer above the honey bucket…

Mash it all up a bit, let the honey drip through, save the wax to render it down later and…

Honey! 100% organic, wild, cold-processed, bee-friendly honey, with all it’s natural medicinal awesomeness still intact.

Whew! So from what started as a hive visit, we ended up harvesting 3 frames of honey. Not bad for an unexpected treat! Once crushed and strained, it came out as just over 5 kg of beautiful liquid sunlight.

Big thanks as always to Tim Malfroy, and to the 120,000 (or so) honeybees of Milkwood Farm.

If you want to help create abundance for your garden and resilience for bees while harvesting amazing honeycomb, have a look at our reading list on natural beekeeping.

Or if you’re really fired up (and live in Oz) you could do a natural beekeeping course with Tim.

If you’re elsewhere in the world, comment below and we can point you at natural beekeeping resources and people in your corner of the planet.

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11 Comments

  1. Posted January 6, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink | Reply

    *envious*
    We looked at getting a bee hive but apparently we’re surrounded by too many neighbours.

    • Posted January 6, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink | Reply

      really? We have many friends with urban hives… can you talk up the pollination benefits for your neighbors gardens and bribe them with honey?

  2. Posted January 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This post made my day. As it’s winter here in the USA, there isn’t much to be done in my tiny apiary. You’ve got me looking forward to our summer!

  3. Posted January 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    There’s that many bees in my yard I’m sure someone nearby must have a hive! Would love some home-grown honey of my own.

  4. Posted January 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’d love to add beekeeping to my goals, but my husband, who admittedly is mildly allergic to bees (abs nit much if a fan of honey) gas said no way :(

    Oh well. there a fellow across the street who keeps bees, so there’s never any lack if them around to do our ppollinating for us anyway. But those pics certainly are enticing.

  5. Posted January 7, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink | Reply

    just a note from a discussion on our facebook page re what constitutes ‘virgin comb’, i said:

    in the warré context, virgin comb means natural comb that has been built on a honeyflow and henceforth has been built by the bees to fill with honey immediately, rather than being built to be filled firstly with pollen and brood, followed by honey as the brood progresses down the hive as it does in nature.

    It’s much lighter comb in construction than brood comb (given the option to operate without foundation and determine their own cell size, cell wall diameter etc, the bees build more delicate comb if it’s to be used for honey storage immediately, as an economic measure) and therefore great eating – an amazing light honeycomb that’s a pleasure to eat!

  6. Frank
    Posted January 9, 2012 at 3:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    What is the source of the strainer? Looks purpose made for a standard bucket, but I have not seen one before. Do you know the mesh size?

  7. Sue Redmond
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 5:42 am | Permalink | Reply

    What lovely photographs and beautiful happy bees! I am very jealous as its been bitter cold and snowing here in London. Lucky you!

    • Posted February 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Sue – we love our bees. It’s such an amazing trajectory of learning…

  8. Steff
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Do you know of any Natural Beekeeping courses near Auckland, NZ?

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  1. [...] this harvest, we placed a big sieve on top of a honey bucket with a ‘gate’ on the front, then simply [...]

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