The first cut comb of the new harvest season is another one of those endlessly celebratory events of the beekeeping year. It seems to keep building demand during the last several years, though a lot of folks still wonder what to do with it. I enjoy hearing stories about first experiences with honeycomb, especially when it came out of a tree or a frameless hive that a grandparent kept on the farm.
I just cut up the first boxes from the Eastern Iowa bees yesterday afternoon. We were blessed with respectable flows during black locust and basswood, so the first boxes are extremely light colored honey. The photos show the progression through capped comb box, drainage rack, and labeled container.
We have great comb prospects but need a little more good fortune to get them all finished and harvested. Comb production can be very finicky, but it’s beautiful when all goes well. There have not been many hives that swarmed rather than accept the wax foundation this year, which is a big helper. (Though I did find one that flew the coop rather than build wax yesterday. At least they filled a conventional honey super before hitting the comb foundation and leaving.)
I will go out to look for more this afternoon! The supply rarely lasts past February.
Liquid honey extracting is probably about ten days away. Right now I’m tinkering with the equipment and cleaning up the line.