Honey Harvest

There are 3 main stages for extracting honey from a hive. 1st is getting the frames off the hive. 2nd is the actual extraction. 3rd is bottling the honey.

Stage 1: Getting the frames off the hive bee free

•Find >80% capped honey frames in hives and remove bees

•Shake or brush bees off single frames / or use a bee escape for full honey supers

•Using a bee escape: place bee escape between brood boxes and honey supers 24hrs before your extraction date.

This side goes down on top of the brood box.

After 24 hrs 99% of the bees will have located below this board.

Collect honey supers and cover to prevent bees from returning

Stage 2: Harvesting Honey (<18% Moisture Content)

•Single frames can be scrapped and strained through a metal strainer

•Pros – Easy and quick

•Cons – Wax frames are precious

Crush and strain Method:

  • Find a frame of capped honey
  • Scrap the wax and all into a large bowl
  • crush the content to release all the honey
  • Pour into a metal strainer into a second container
  • Let sit overnight if you want to separate the pollen and wax pieces
  • Bottle the content

Use an extractor for larger number of frames

Capped frame of honey

4 frame extractor and basic setup

uncapping the honey frames into a homemade uncapping container with hot uncapping knife

honey flowing out of extractor after vigorously spinning frames (note the honey gate valve needs to be rotated 90deg left)

Stage 3: Bottling the honey

•Let the honey sit in the closed container for a day or two (pollen and small bee parts will float to the top)

•Use commercially available jars or whatever you have at home (mason jars). I keep the last several jars for personal use (extra pollen and floating particles - the Good Stuff). Simply open your honey valve and fill your jars.

•If you sell your honey you have several food labeling guidelines to follow (Honey and blossom, Apiary name and location).