The painstaking process of scraping off the wax layer sealing the cells full of honey.
Kairos beekeepers Grace and Terry with two frames ready for the centrifuge.
Grace inducts a volunteer into the fine art of de-waxing.
The hand-operated centrifuge loaded and ready to go.
Visitor Alex volunteered to give the centrifuge a good spin.
Once again director Mossie Lyons’s office in our Streatham HQ is piled high with boxes of beehive frames packed with honeycomb, and a table has been cleared for workers to prepare each frame to load into the big centrifuge that’s positioned in front of the Mossie’s desk. The air is sweet and heavy. The annual honey harvest has begun!
After carefully making sure that each hive has at least 35 pounds of honey to see its bees through the winter, our beekeepers removed the surplus frames. This year, they have brought 90 frames back from three Kairos sites to head office to extract the honey.
First comes the painstaking process of slicing off the thin wax caps from the honey cells before placing the frames in the centrifuge. The hand-operated machine is simple but – with sufficient muscle – effective. The honey is flung out of the wax cells and accumulates at the bottom where it is collected in a bucket. (There was much talk about ‘next year, an electric centrifuge…’)
The honey harvest is a time-consuming process, and beekeeper Grace Madden and volunteers will return to the task tomorrow. There’s still a long way to go before bottling and labelling can begin.