Gathering Wild Honey (With Video)
Honey is one of the best foods on the planet because of its nutritional value, and it antibiotic qualities. Make sure that your target is actually a honeybee hive. Not everything that buzzes leads to honey. Wasps and yellow jackets make nests, but they do not produce any honey, you can eat their larvae but that is another article. Also, there are solitary species of bees which don’t make honey. The best way to find a wild hive is to follow bees you see gathering pollen to their home.
If you see a hole in a tree or log where there are lots of bees going in and out, you’ve found their hive. Before going after the honey, start a smokey fire at the base of the have allow the smoke to waft the bees and the entrance to the hive for at lest 5 minuets. You may need to fan some of the smoke into the hive entrance.
After the bees have calmed down open the entrance enough with a knife or an axe or tomahawk, (I like the Cold Steel Trail boss for this kind of work) to get your hand inside the hive. The smoke does not mean that you will not get a sting or two. Working slowly and carefully not to make the hole to big, when you can reach in cut or grab a piece of the honeycomb. Don’t try to take the whole hive, just take a piece. This will allow you to come back again and again.
The queen bee is slightly bigger than the others and probably won’t fly. She may also have a greenish-blue spot on her back. Don’t ever mess with the queen, because the other bees will try to stay wherever she is. Move away with your honeycomb. Then leave the bees alone to repair and continue their work. If you ever see the bees swarm and abandoned the hive feel free to take it all because they will not be back. I keep track of wild hives and check them on a regular basis, if a group has abandoned the hive I do not let all of that good food go to waste. A lot of times when you remove the honey another group will take over the old hive.
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