When you get started in your beekeeping, you are most excited about your bees and their process of making honey. But then you are faced with a dilemma. How to get the honey out of your frames? Your bees made all this wonderful goodness, and you want to have access to it, but it seems insurmountable. It really isn’t as difficult as you might think, so be prepared to work on it and then get to enjoy the fruit of your (and your bees) labors!
If you take a look at your frames, you will see that your frames are capped, they are full and sealed up by your bees. So, you are ready to get that honey out, to harvest the crop you and your bees have worked for. Most people use a honey extractor as it is less destructive to the actual honeycomb and is actually easier to use. You will not destroy much of the honeycomb and then your bees won’t have to spend their time rebuilding the honeycomb. Your other option besides the extractor is to crush the honeycomb to press the honey out. This is actually more labor intensive. For you and your bees.
If you use an extractor, this is the tool use process:
Collect your supplies: an extractor, a hot knife, a strainer, a bucket, a cookie sheet, measuring cup, jars for your honey harvest.
Honey extractors can be purchased, rented, or loaned from other beekeepers. It may be more affordable to rent one than to purchase one as you will use if for a day or two maybe three times a year. A hot knife is an electrified knife that will heat rapidly to cut through the wax cappings on your honeycomb. Quite often this is included when you rent or borrow a honey extractor. You will want to have a strainer to strain your honey through, to get rid of wax chunks and any impurities. It can be as simple as a plastic one, or as complex as several wire mesh strainers set one inside another. Some beekeepers want no wax in their honey while some desire it. Plan on using a food grade bucket for your honey to pour into. It will feed from the extractor into the bucket you have ready. When you cut off the wax cappings you will want to place them on a cookie sheet, or another area so they are out of your way. The beeswax can be a valuable commodity as well as the honey, so think about what you can use and what you cannot. You will want to use a measuring cup or ladle to spoon your honey into the desired containers that you will store your honey in. There are wide varieties of honey jars available and your plans for your honey will help you determine what kind you want. Most people find glass is better for storage, but the cute plastic bears are very popular for commercial sales. Be sure you have tight lids so your honey is sealed in well.