Yesterday was our last class, during which we had an overview of the seasonal chores of beekeeping, month-to-month. We ended the class by discussing the most exciting part of keeping bees- the products of the hive. Mead, candles, bee pollen, propolis, comb honey and honey (of course) were mentioned.
I'm most excited about beeswax and candle making. I remember making a few beeswax candles when I was little and enjoying it. Mike's cousin wants to get into mead making,but I'm not sure I have the patience for that. And of course I've been gathering recipes using honey for candies and jams. I don't anticipate having enough products to sell, but if I do a little extra income can't hurt.
Honey extracting equipment can be rather expensive, but we learned of a couple of places to rent equipment from our instructor and even some services that will extract the honey from your frames for you. It may be more affordable that way. Many people (non-beekeepers) have been suggesting the flowhive, but all the beekeepers I've spoken to are skeptical. Our instructor spent a few minutes before class last week explaining how it might work, but would be damaging to the hive and cause stress to the bees. Honestly, I want a more hand on relationship with my hive anyway.
Tonight we have a make-up class due to the fact that snow prevented us from attending the third week's class. It is the class about setting up and installing bees in a hive, so kind of crucial. I haven't ordered my hive equipment because I've been waiting to attend this part of the course first.
To those of you who keep bees, what products do you harvest from your hives the most and how are you using them?