Remember the picture of the fresh honey comb? Today, I’m going to show you some of the extraction process that we use on our hives. I hope you enjoy these pictures.
After removing the super from the hive, we set aside all the supers to allow any remaining bees to move out and go home. A super is a box intended for honey storage that a beekeeper places above the hive, it is no different than the hive bodies in which the bees reside all year. People are often confused about the difference between a hive body and a super when there isn’t a difference, just a different intended purpose.
After the bees have left, we remove each individual frame from the box and start scraping the caps of wax off the top. Once all the caps have been scraped off we can place the frames into the extractor. When the extractor is full of frames we turn on the cycle. The centrifugal force of the extractor spinning is what causes the honey to be forced out of each cell. The honey coats the inside of the extractor and then runs down into the bottom. At the bottom of the extractor is an opening called a honey gate. When the gate is open we get honey to flow out and into pails. When the gate is closed the honey collects in the extractor.
I am sure you can imagine that this is work. We really enjoy the smell of honey extraction and the fresh honey on our hands. We always joke that this time of year is the time when you can just lick the door knobs for dinner. HA!
The final picture is of a 5 gallon pail of fresh honey. The top has small particles of beeswax that have floated to the surface. This wax will be scraped off and the honey will be filtered through a cloth. Simple process, rewarding efforts.
Extracting Honey 4
Wow! That is so neat. Thank you for sharing it with us. I am sure it is a lot of work, but such a rewarding venture.
Now…to find someone in Arkansas that keeps bees. I’d love to have some fresh honey…not to mention the beeswax too. 🙂
A good place to start looking would be a local extension office. They might know of local beekeepers or someone who would know. Another place to check would be a Farmer’s or Gardener’s Market.
How interesting! Is there anything you do to the honey after it’s extracted? Or is it ready to eat from there?
After the wax is scraped off and the honey is filtered, we fill small jars for gifting and larger jugs for refilling the smaller jars. It truly is ready to eat at any point, but the majority of the honey is eaten after we have filtered it.