How to extract Honey

A de-capping pan is a useful tool in the extraction process.

The goal of every beekeeper is to at some point harvest honey from your hives. This has become a commercial operation in some cases. However, for the back yard beekeeper, it can be as simple as decapping and draining comb. This is a method often used by people using foundation-less bars or frames.

A de-capping pan is a useful tool in the extraction process.

Most people that use Langstroth hives will find the use of foundation will make the job of extracting honey a much easier. By using wax wired foundation, it serves a dual role in your beekeeping management. It is stable enough to be used in an extractor while still keeping the frame composed of natural wax. Many beekeepers report that using the wax wired foundation, the bees accept it better than plastic, which has been my experance. I have used both, and while bees will use the plastic, it appears to me they prefer the natural wax.

Once your honey frames are full and capped its time to harvest them, extractors can be as simple as a two frame hand crank exactor to a six or eight frames electric motor drive unit.

The use of some kind of decapping tray is useful. The decapping can be done with a knife or decapping fork. Once the wax capping is removed, the frames are placed in the extractor. After loading the frames, the extractor is cranked or turned on spinning the frames to draw out the honey. The honey lands against the sides of the machine and runs to the bottom. Once the honey fills to the point of touching the bottom of the baskets holding the frames, it should be drained.

At this point, a filtering screen is used, usually, a two-stage screen that sits over a food grade bucket to catch the honey as it passed through the screens to remove the wax particles.

Once it extracted, filtered, it’s ready to be jared. Clean sanitized jars are prepared, and the honey is poured into them and lids are secured.

Happy Beekeeping

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