I don't know many people who don't like the sweet, natural taste of honey. Today, I got to taste it straight from the hive!

These bee boxes are located on the south side of Youngsville, in Hobeaux's back yard.

Photo by John Falcon

To harvest the honey, it's best to suit up with protective gear so that you don't get stung (every rose has its thorn, right?). Also, a smoke generator is handy in getting the bees to move away from the inserts that hold the honeycomb. Once the bees are smoked away, the inserts are pried up and out of the box. This box can hold 10 inserts, but this season there were only 7 in use (the other 3 slots were saved for the bee feeder insert).

Photo by John Falcon

After the inserts full of honeycomb (which is full of honey) are removed from the hive, the remainder of the bees are shooed away, off of the honeycomb. A roller with dozens of spikes is rolled over the honeycomb to break open the wax that holds in the honey. Each one of those inserts can hold between 7 and 8 pounds of honey!

Photo by John Falcon

Once the surface of the honeycomb is open, the inserts are placed into a centrifuge and spun.

The centrifugal force slings the honey to the wall of the centrifuge, and then it settles to the bottom and pours out of the drain, into a bucket.

From that bucket, it is strained into another bucket to remove any wax bits (and bee bits, as it sometimes happens).

Photo by John Falcon

After it is strained once again, the honey is transferred to jars for sale (or, if you are lucky like me, Hobeaux will give you a jar for helping out!).

Photo by John Falcon

The harvesting of the honey is the easy part: the bees do the rest of the work!

As a reminder, bees do much more for us than just give us honey - they pollinate flowers and plants to give us more flowers and plants and fruits and vegetables. Bees help the majority of our plants to survive. Experts believe that, without bees, many of our plants, including crops, would die off.

Photo by John Falcon

So, if you see a bee, do you best to let it be. Don't smash it, don't swat it, just let it be.

If you find bees swarming near your home or vehicle, stay calm, remove  yourself from the area, and call a beekeeper to remove the bees. They will be relocated, given food and shelter, and then they will go to work producing tasty honey and saving the world, one plant at a time!