Harvest honey: People those who are passionate about the bee, they want to learn the honey bee life style. They also want to know how to keep honey bees, how the honey is produced, and what are the steps to harvest or extract honey. Harvesting or extracting honey is the most hard work in beekeeping. But usually beekeepers are very happy to do it as it’s the main product of bee farm. Learn here how to extract or harvest honey and what are the steps of this hard work.
Before harvesting honey there are several preliminary works that professional beekeepers know very well. For beginners, preparing the bee hives and checking the status of honey is the main work. For better quality honey you have to keep them 4 weeks before extracting. But some greedy beekeepers collect honey each week for getting more production. It’s not correct from the view of quality of product. Early harvesting means to extract honey before natural evaporation of moisture.
Watch Video: Harvesting Honey – Extracting Honey From Honeycombs.
6 steps to Harvest Honey in Traditional Bee keeping
(1) Safety first – Protect yourself
At first wear Beekeeping suits, Veil, Shoes, & Gloves to Protect yourself from bee stings.
Make enough smoke and use smoker to calm the bees and let them not tend to sting. Tobacco or Smoker Pellet can be used to calm them easily. You can buy this from any grocery or super market near to you or online from amazon, ebay etc.
If you need to buy Beekeeping tools or equipment or anything else, you can search here.
(2) Open hive cover slowly and Carefully
Don’t be hurry up. Open the hive cover, and Lift heavy boxes slowly and carefully; so that they will not become aggressive to sting. Pull out the frames gently. Try not to press the bees, Remove honey bees from the combs with soft hair brush, or a leaf blower.
Leaf blower is little bit expensive, but help you to work fast. For small bee project just you can buy a horse hair brush.
(3) Transport the frames
Transport the frames to a processing shed or extractor machine. Cut off the wax capping in each frame with a heated knife or automatic uncapping machine. Also you can use uncapping roller or fork, but the knife is perfect and you can efficiently work with it.
You can buy here a cheap electrical uncapping knife: Electric Honey Comb Uncapping Knife, Stainless Steel, Hot Wax Knife, Scraping Blade Beekeeping Tool by HLPB .
(4) Put honey combs in extractor machineAfter uncapping the honey combs put them in an extractor machine to spin out or extract honey. The extractor machine can be of manual or automatic depending on the size of your farm. For a small project manual machine is recommended, because automatic machine is expensive and you can’t expect its optimum use. But for a large or commercial apiary Automatic extractor will increase your productivity, and a manual machine is impractical there. You can buy here a manual extractor: Honey Extractor – Bee Foundations – Uncapping Roller and Stainless Steel Sieve – Honey Strainer.
(5) Clean up all the clutter
Filter out all the wax and dead bees, Clean up all the clutter to get pure honey. It may be necessary to filter several times with different sizes of holes in the sieve until you see it clutter free. After filtering well keep the honey in bucket for processing or packet it for selling unprocessed honey.
(6) Keep back all the frames
Finally you have to keep back all the frames you removed for extracting honey. Don’t put back any damaged frame. Because, the bees will spend too much time to repair this damage. So, it will disturb in their usual work flow and ultimately you’ll get less honey.
That is all about 6 steps of extracting or harvesting honey in traditional beekeeping. Remember, harvesting process is same for natural beehives also. Only difference is to collect beehives from trees or gardens instead of honey combs from apiary. So, hive collection is difficult and you don’t have any control over it. You have to search here and there for a natural hive and you don’t know where will you find it.
Sources of information
01. Practical experience of own honey bee farm
02. Honey extracting manual
03. National honey bee association