As I wrote last year, if we had a dollar for every email, phone call, and fax we receive inquiring about comb honey … well, y’all get the idea.

Comb honey, to lots of folks, is the best honey there is.  I am one of those folks.  Completely raw, natural, and unprocessed, we literally take it out of the hive, put a cover on its container, add a couple of stickers, and leave it to your enjoyment.  My enjoyment sometimes involves hot biscuits, but often just a spoon.

Unfortunately, as I discussed last year, making comb honey, to lots of bees, is the very worst way to while away a summer afternoon.  And that makes comb honey a big risk to a beekeeper, financially and otherwise.

Some years, the bees attack the bare comb honey frames with gusto, drawing foundation and filling the beautiful beeswax hexagonal cells with the best honey you’ve never tasted and the comb honey flies off the shelf and the beekeeper is glad s/he put all that time and money and worry into the comb honey.

And in other years, the bees find other ways to occupy their time, and largely ignore the monumental tasks of creating comb honey, causing the beekeeper to order pricey eye-wrinkle-prevention creams off the internet in a fit of late night despair.

Or is that just me?

Mostly empty Bee-O-Pac comb honey frames.  Do you see how the bees have to create the beeswax foundation/comb and then fill the cells with honey?

Anyway, why do bees hate making comb honey?  In a nutshell: in non-comb-honey-production, we give the empty frames of comb back to the bees year after year, and as a result they are able to get right to the task of filling the hexagonal cells with honey.

Bees stuffing their stomachs with honey as a result of bee-ing smoked.  

With comb honey, the whole point is to keep the comb with the honey, so the bees have to start from scratch each year, first making the comb by excreting flakes of beeswax from glands on their backs and forming the comb itself; then filling the beautiful comb with the best honey you’ve never tasted; and finally, sealing off the honeycomb with more wax.  Whew!

Glacier County Honey Company mostly divides its tasks — and taskmasters — between what we call retail honey and what we call bulk honey.  Comb honey falls firmly into the retail honey department, and therefore my department.  So, back in mid-August I went out to check on my comb honey supers and see if we could start returning some of these emails, phone calls, and faxes from those delirious in their desire for comb honey.

And it seemed clear from the first hive we peeked into that this was going to be one of those years the bees weren’t going to do much with the comb honey.

Empty Bee-O-Pac frames.

Empty Ross Round frames.

Darling Brother-in-Law confirming said emptiness.

I kept my negativity to myself, thinking that perhaps the bees would get to work in the last part of August, but I’m sorry to announce that we are going to have very, very limited numbers of comb honey available for purchase, and none at all available to our wholesale accounts.  I’m going to sort out the finished ones from the unfinished ones later this week or early next, and then I’ll have exact figures available, but if you’d like for me to put you on the list for comb honey, feel free to send an email to courtney (at) glaciercountyhoney (dot) com or a fax to 888-451-8669.  Please don’t call because I’ll forget to write your name down.  I’ll be keeping the list on a first come, first served basis, and I hope that we’ll have enough to accommodate everyone, but we’ll see.

Finished Bee-O-Pacs will be $15 each, finished Ross Rounds will be $19 each.  I have no idea how many we’ll get of either, but feel free to specify.

As we say in agriculture, there’s always next year!  And surely it’ll BEE the best {comb honey} year yet.

2012.  Glacier County Honey Co.  All Rights Reserved.

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