The only honey I tasted before learning to become a beekeeper was the usual pasteurized junk sold in grocery stores. Now that I have access to raw honey made by honey bees that I know up close and personal, it’s a whole other world of appreciation. In my household of two, we consume about 4 litres of honey every year. Here’s what it looks like when I stick it in the freezer, with an extra jar thrown in because why not?
Calculations Update (Oct. 01/16): I miscalculated how much honey I had. I weighed the bucket of honey after the extraction and it came to 30 pounds. 1 pound usually comes to about 375ml. My calculations were 375 x 30 = 11,250ml, which is about 11 litres.
For the record (my records), I’ve also weighed each jar of honey, minus the weight of the jar:
A small 250ml Mason jar of liquid honey weighs between 7 and 8 ounces (depending on the properties of the honey). That’s 0.7 pounds in the antiquated empirical system. Doing the calculations: 30 / 0.7 = 42.85 small Masons jars, which means 250ml x 42 = 10.5 litres. Close enough.
A larger 500ml Mason jar of liquid honey (minus the weight of the jar) comes to about 11 pounds 7 oz, which is about 1.4 pounds. Calculations: 30 / 1.4 = 21.42 large Mason jars, which goes something like this: 21 x 500ml = 11 litres.
So for the record, my weights and measures and calculations are correct.
Except for when I weighed the bucket of honey after the extraction. I haven’t bottled all the honey yet, but it’s coming to about 8 litres, I’d say. So, considering that 375ml of liquid honey weighs a pound and I’ve bottled approximately 8 litres or 8,000 ml of honey, the actual weight of the honey in pounds goes something like this: 8000 / 375 = 21.33 pounds. Not the 30 pounds I got when I weighed the bucket of honey on a bathroom scale after the extraction.
So now we know. If you ever need to calculate exactly how much honey you have in milliliters or pounds, bookmark this post.
By the way, 10 kg (21 pounds) of honey for two medium honey supers on a colony that, from what I could tell, was in is good health for most of the summer, is not much honey. I’ve gotten more than 50kg of honey from established colonies in the past without even trying. 10kg is kind of pitiful.
I can only point to two factors: (1) It was a warm but dry summer. Less rain usually means less nectar. I saw foragers working like mad as usual, but perhaps they were bringing in more pollen than nectar. Perhaps that partially explains why I found one full honey super packed with pollen instead of nectar. (2) All of my colonies came out of the winter in not-so-great shape and were very slow to build up in the spring. They were in good shape by July, but they should have been in the same condition back in May. Those are my best guesses.
Now I’m concerned that the bottom boxes of my hives are empty when they should be filling with honey now. Most of the top boxes are full and all the new hives are packed with bees, which makes sense if more than the usual amount of pollen has been coming into the hives. Well… this gives me a few things to consider.