Harvesting honey: An experiment’s sweet ending

Checking on the hives
Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 7:06 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - You may remember a story we did in the spring when Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County decided to see how well a colony of bees could thrive in Watertown.

“They did phenomenal this year,” said Rolly Churchill, a fifth-generation beekeeper. “There’s probably 30 to 40 pounds of honey in there.”

The bees have enough to get through the winter -- and plenty to share as well.

“So, the bees worked hard in the town of Watertown,” Churchill said. “They did a good job.”

Now it’s time to winterize the bees and prepare the honey for extraction.

“So, we have to uncap it,” Churchill said.

Resourceful beekeepers can also find use for the beeswax.

“Actually, my granddaughters are making salves, lotions, and even soap,” Churchill said.

The process of extraction is something like a cotton candy machine using centrifugal force.

“We put the comb in there and when it spins it, the force sends the honey to the outside of the extractor,” Churchill said.

After spinning, filtering, and bottling, we’re left with liquid gold -- and an answer to Cornell Cooperative Extension’s experiment.

“I think that’s a proven success for us with those hives,” Churchill said.