I feel confident that I could write an entire book on honey harvesting, but for the sake of simplicity and your sanity, I will outline the general steps in a few paragraphs.

First and foremost, you must identify the frames to harvest. In my previous blog, I described in detail how to know which frames are ready for harvest and how much to leave behind. Remember, bees make honey, not as a gift to their human beekeeper, but to survive during winter months when food is not available.

08102016_Melinda and frame-of-bees

Remove the bees from the frames you want to harvest. You can do this many ways, but I find it helpful to shake the bees back into the hive and use a nylon brush to gently remove the rest. You’ll want an extra hive box or container with a lid to place the bee-less frames. Otherwise, bees will flock to these frames.

08102016_brusing-bees-from-a-frame

Move the frames to an INDOOR location for harvesting. Harvesting outdoors results in 60,000+ of your favorite friends finding you for the party.

08102016_frame-of-bees-indoors

Remove the wax cappings. A hot knife makes this easy! Keep these wax cappings. They are great for a number of purposes.

08102016_hot-knife-on-a-bee-frame

Place the frames in an extractor. This is a device that uses centrifugal force to pull the honey from the cells. Extractors come in a variety of sizes and prices, but members of the Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club can rent one for just $10 a day! That’s about the best deal in town.

Filter the honey. There are many ways to do this. You can use material like panty hose or purchase a metal sieve made for honey filtering. Either way, the goal is to remove the little bits of wax, bee legs, or other impurities from the honey.

08192016_filtering-honey

Jar it! There are jars and containers of many shapes and sizes. Have fun creating homemade labels. Give it as gifts or, if you have a large quantity, consider selling it.

08102016_honey-poured-into-jars-2

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg for describing the honey harvest process. I encourage you to shadow a local beekeeper in your area, watch videos online, and read up on the topic. Honey harvesting is one of the beekeeping activities that varies the most – the supplies, equipment, tips, and tricks that different folks use range significantly. Honey harvesting is often a pinnacle moment for many beekeepers! It’s what many of us look forward to most throughout the year.

Keep your bees buzzin’ y’all!