Honey Extraction

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Selecting Frames

  • Take frames having only honey.
    • Do not take frames with any brood, larvae or eggs.
    • Avoid taking frames with pollen.
    • Do not take frames that have pest damage, e.g. wax moth trails. It can add a bad taste and smell to all your extracted honey.
  • The honey should be capped.
    • It is best to only take fully capped frames. If there are a few uncapped honey cells, hold the frame horizontally and gently shake it up and down. If any liquid comes out of the uncapped cells, thenĀ  put that frame back. That uncapped honey is not a high enough concentration yet – you risk having your extracted honey start to ferment.
  • If you are using an extractor, take an even number of frames to balance the extractor.

Removing and Transporting Frames

  • It is easiest to transport the frame in a hive box.
  • If you have an extra hive box:
    • Select a frame.
    • Brush and/or shake off most of the bees.
    • Put it in your extra box.
  • Best not to leave empty room in the super:
    • Remove the empty super.
    • Or replace the selected frames with empty frames.
    • Or replace the extracted frames (“wet” frames) soon.
    • Warning: the “wet” frames (those which you just extracted) can easily create a very ugly robbing scenario… if you are returning the wet frames to your super, do it quickly.
  • A small leaf blower (like this) is handy for blowing off stragglers before transporting or moving the box(es) of honey frames.

You now have a box full of sticky honey and beeswax… keep that in mind if you’re putting it in your vehicle.

  • Laying down a large, flat plastic garbage bag works well to protect your car.
  • There will always be a few stragglers… placing a wet towel over the box will keep them from flying around in your car.
  • Don’t forget, your box of honey frames is a magnet for other bees in the neighborhood. Keeping a wet towel or cover over your hive box will reduce the chance of creating an unwanted bee party.

Prepare for Extraction

Avoid getting yourself into a robbing bee frenzy! Keep your honey frames under wraps until you’re ready:

  • It is highly recommended to do this indoors, in your garage, or at a club Extractor Day. Doing it outdoors is asking for trouble.
  • Get the extractor setup and ready to go.
  • Get all your tools, buckets and filters organized and ready.
  • Take a moment and rehearse in your mind your workflow.
  • If you find extra bees in the extracting area, turn off the lights. They will fly towards a window, and can easily be removed.
  • Keep a bowl with water near by and paper towels to rinse your hands and hive tool when they get extra sticky.
  • Be careful not to get water in your honey – this can cause fermentation.
  • Put down a canvas tarp or cardboard or a tablecloth on the floor where extracting to catch any drips.