Loading...
Summerhawk Ranch Mason Jar Beehive Review 2019-04-22T10:24:09+00:00

What is mason jar beehive?

Mason jar beehive is a hive where bees build honeycombs and fill them with honey directly in a jar located in the upper part of the hive. Thus it is possible to get pure honey in honeycombs without uncapping, extraction and purification.

Such honey harvesting simplifies the work of the beekeeper – no need of uncapping, using extractors, etc. Everything is already laid by nature. Of course, bees have to work hard, but the wax in the jars works out to be natural and healthy because 100% honey is obtained only when the bees themselves build honeycombs and seal them.

New step in “beekeeping for all”

Beekeeping is the dream of many homeowners, however, even for city dwellers, the life of bees is of interest, as something mystical and primitive.

But the first blow is half the battle. In order to begin without having experience working on the apiary and without and ancestor-beekeepers, one must, first of all, begin attending the beekeeping classes, buy beekeeping equipment, and so on. And what if you realize that it’s none of yours? It will be a regret concerning the time and money spent. And even more so – what to do if there is no time initially?

Fortunately, over the past ten years, beekeeping has taken steps forward of the development of backyard and urban beekeeping. In the new hive types, there are everything exhaustive that is needed for a beginner (read – amateur) beekeeper.

One of the simple solutions is a mason jar hive. Theoretically, you can build one yourself. And although appetite comes with the eating, this cannot be said about DIY mason jar hive. During the study of this issue on the beekeeping forums, I saw many future beekeepers despaired halfway and did not even become “beginner beekeepers”. These are the forever “future”, but never “novice” beekeepers.
Therefore, I favor the idea of mason jar beehives, but it should be a ready-made solution. In addition, for women – mothers, grandmothers, who obviously will not bother with the hive building – it will be a good beekeeping gift.

How does mason jar beehive works?

The main advantage of this hive, in addition to the design and simplicity of use, is own comb honey. It has an amber color of different shades and the bright yellow honeycombs that involuntarily attract attention. The taste of this honey has a characteristic “honeycomb” flavor.
The only drawback of comb honey is honeycomb fragility – honey quickly flows out of the damaged comb. But since the bees themselves pack honey in glass jars, honeycombs are well protected from damage.

Mason Jar Beehive

You can attach a strip of wax foundation directly in the jars, which serves as a pointer to the bees where the construction of the honeycomb begins.

Mason Jar Beehive

Set up mason jars at the beehive. Bees, flying into the main hive, fall into the jar, taking it for the internal space of the hive and build honeycombs.

Mason Jar Beehive Harvest

Then bees fill combs with honey and after they have sealed honeycombs, they leave the jar. So you can pull the jars with honey out.

Centrifugal (extracted) honey, which is obtained when using honey extractor, can never be of the same quality as comb honey. It is believed that if the frame is sealed with wax at 1/3, the beekeeper can already extract honey. But at the same time, only nectar remains in the rest of the comb — immature honey with high water content. During extraction, honey interferes with this water and when it comes out, it’s diluted honey with already different edibilities. The main condition of 100% honey is maturity, well-aging. In the case of mason jar hives there is no need to hurry – the bees themselves will do their work and leave the honeycomb.

Honey Jar Hive by SummerHawk Ranch 

At the moment, there is only one ready-made mason jar hive on the market – it is Summerhawk Ranch Beehive. And it is really eye candy! It seems to me that even if you put aside its functional use, Summerhawk Hive would be perfect as an independent decoration of the backyard.

But first things first, including principles of work, pros and cons.

summerhawk beehive
View Summerhawk Mason Jar Beehive

Pros and Cons of Summerhawk Ranch Beehive

Pros of Summerhawk Mason Jar Beehive

1. Own comb honey

summerhawk ranch mason jar beehive review

The main advantage of this hive is own comb honey. It has an amber color of different shades and the bright yellow honeycombs that involuntarily attract attention. The taste of this honey has a characteristic “honeycomb” flavor.
The only drawback of comb honey is honeycomb fragility – honey quickly flows out of the damaged comb. But since the bees themselves pack honey in glass jars, honeycombs are well protected from damage.

2. Quick Check Super

Summerhawk Ranch hive designers and beekeepers took the standard brood super and added a window that allows the beekeeper to see the activity of the hive from the outside. It is called “quick check super”.  It’s preferable to a usual inspection which takes a lot of time and stresses the colony. Not only is this more fun and convenient it’s also a great educational feature for kids.

3. Contoured frame edges

summerhawk ranch beehive quick check window

Designers also took the standard frame and contoured the edges to make it easier to see between the frames when looking through the quick check window. This allows you to do quick visual checks on the health of your hive without having to fully dismantle it as often.

4. Ready-for-use frames

summerhawk ranch mason jar hive frames

All of the frames come preassembled and pre-waxed which gets you and your bees started that much faster.

5. Mason Jar Super

summerhawk ranch jar super

But the most exciting feature of the jar hive is new jar super which allows bees to store honey directly into the mason jars, dramatically reducing the amount of work for the beekeeper and the stress on the hive.

6. Extra hive ventilation

For times when extra ventilation is required jar supers come with two ventilated jar screens – just drop these in place of a jar to allow additional airflow while preventing the bees from getting through.

Cons of Summerhawk Mason Jar Beehive

  1. Summerhawk hive comes preassembled but without assembly instructions. As seller saying, the parts of the beehive just need to be stacked together as shown on the photo, no instructions needed. For most beekeepers, even beginners, it is not difficult (however, it would not be difficult for the manufacturer to put instructions), but perhaps the advice of local beekeepers will be needed.
  2. If mason jar breaks you can not order the original one, as the manufacturer does not supply them separately.
  3. No bottom board for winter, just a screen bottom.
  4. You can contact the manufacturer only via email or Facebook page. The email info@summerhawkranch.com mentioned in their answers is broken and all messages are being bounced. The company’s website summerhawkranch.com, where you can find out more detailed information, also does not work. But we managed to find another email info@ilovetocreate.com – the manufacturer responds promptly, just like on the company’s official page on Facebook.

Mason jar beehive kits and modifications

Summerhawk Ranch Mason Jar Beehive Kit
View Summerhawk Ranch Mason Jar Beehive Kit

Summerhawk Ranch Mason Jar Beehive Kit

Main tools:

  1. Deep jar super x1
  2. 1-pint (0.45l) mason jars with lids x6
  3. 1-quart (0.90l) mason jars with lids x6
  4. Quick-check super x1
  5. Frames with pre-waxed plastic foundation x8
  6. Stainless steel queen excluder x1
  7. Ventilated inner-cover x1
  8. Ventilated jar screens x2

Accessories:

  1. Bee veil with the hat
  2. Bee gloves
  3. Liquid smoke –  you can put it on your hands and arms to prevent bee stings during inspecting the hive if you don’t wear protective gear
  4. Beekeeping tool
  5. Bee brush
  6. Honeycomb uncapping fork (scratcher)
summerhawk beehive
View Summerhawk Mason Jar Beehive

SummerHawk Ranch Honey Jar Hive

  1. Deep jar super x1
  2. 1-pint (0.45l) mason jars with lids x6
  3. 1-quart (0.90l) mason jars with lids x6
  4. Quick-check super x1
  5. Frames with pre-waxed plastic foundation x8
  6. Stainless steel queen excluder x1
  7. Ventilated inner-cover x1
  8. Ventilated jar screens x2
Summerhawk Ranch Honey Jar Hive Super
View Summerhawk Mason Jar Beehive

Summerhawk Ranch Honey Jar Hive Super

  1. Deep jar super x1
  2. 1-pint (0.45l) mason jars with lids x6
  3. 1-quart (0.90l) mason jars with lids x6
  4. Stainless steel queen excluder x1
  5. Ventilated inner-cover x1
  6. Ventilated jar screens x2
Summerhawk Ranch Beehive Twin Super
View Summerhawk Ranch Beehive Twin Super

Summerhawk Ranch Beehive Twin Super

  1. Quick-check twin super x1
  2. Frames with pre-waxed plastic foundation x8

Mason jar beehive tips

You need to set up mason jars at hive a week before the main honey flow. If you will set it earlier, the queen bee will lay eggs in the newly constructed honeycomb. If you are late, the bees will not complete the honeycomb in jars.

The hive box must be tightly covered with opaque material so that daylight does not enter the hive. Otherwise, the bees will look for a way out of the jars and the honeycomb construction will stop. If bees build up comb in the jars unevenly, then you can swap jars. When the bees fill the constructed honeycombs with honey, you can remove the hive box and pull out the jars of honey.

Not without justification, it is believed that observing bees in such a “transparent” hive can help the beekeeper to determine diseases the bees suffer from. Close observation of the life of a bee colony is not only an excellent method for teaching young generations of beekeepers but also a great opportunity for scientists to observe the life cycle of bees.

In such a system, the jar can be used to transport combs. Thus, in the described system of production of jar honeycombs, all conditions are created for the formation and storage of sealed combs in jars, as well as the availability of a safe and stable environment for the work of bees, and, as a result, the absence of insects and pathogens in honey.
About 400 bees deal with building honeycombs inside a jar in about one month. After the bees have sealed honeycombs, they leave the jar and all we have to do is to seal the jar!

And the best thing about in all of this is that each jar is different from the other and is filled with pure natural honey in the form it exists in nature!
Each jar represents a mini-hive, where 450-500 bees worked, creating unique honeycombs. In each jar, we see a reflection of the process of building honeycombs.

Sometimes bees glue honeycombs so carefully to the bottom that partially honeycombs at the interface are damaged, and honey droplets flow into the damaged areas. In order to remove honey droplets, I recommend putting such jars on the hive entrance after bees evening flight out, and they will carefully transfer the spilled honey into the hive.
The jars with honeycomb cleared of leaked honey droplets should be covered with plastic lids and put away at the warehouse. Usually, I take jars with honeycombs in the evening before sunset. I don’t use bee smoker, because bees usually go to the hive themselves when I put the jars on the landing board.

I tried to install jars on all bee colonies. But I did not succeed. The bees died, and the jars remained empty. Also tried to make special squares in the frame, then pulled them out and treated friends. One beekeeper suggested an idea to me, which finally put all my thoughts in order. Not every bee colony is able to build honeycombs. For this, you need to take only strong and healthy colonies. And the second secret – honeycomb detuning occurs only when there is a young queen bee in the hive and good honey flow. If there is no honey flow, the bees will not work.

Mason jar beehive review summaries

The use of the hive is very simple and comes down to the following steps: choose a productive hive, add a shim to top of the hive, place wooden holed or cutout board on it, put mason jars with wax starter strips in holes, put empty box over jars and place lid over hive with jars. Finished when jars are full- comb is drawn and capped. Then remove jars with bees and leave jars out overnight. Thus bees will return to the hive. Fill remaining space in jars with honey. That’s all!

The main advantage of this hive, in addition to the design and simplicity of use, is own comb honey. It has an amber color of different shades and the bright yellow honeycombs that involuntarily attract attention. The taste of this honey has a characteristic “honeycomb” flavor.
The only drawback of comb honey is honeycomb fragility – honey quickly flows out of the damaged comb. But since the bees themselves pack honey in glass jars, honeycombs are well protected from damage.