In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, family, and whatever else seems appropriate at the time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Honey Extracting

I thought I'd show you what I've been up to lately, and what a beekeeper does to extract honey from a beehive.
It starts in the bee yard (apiary). I have eleven hives and I go through them to see if the frames are full of honey and capped. See the frame I am holding in my hand? When I take it out of the hive, it is covered with honeybees. I gently shake it so most of the bees fall off. Then I take a special brush, made for bees, and lightly brush the frame to get the rest of the bees off of the frame. I do not want to hurt the bees during this process.
Then I put the frame in an empty hive box, and cover it, so the bees cannot make their way back to the frame.
These frames are very heavy when there are 9 or 10 of them in a box. So I usually recruit my husband to help carry them to my potting shed, where I have a little extracting station set up. I stand the frame on end on this board, and take a knife and gently shave off the cappings. They drop in this plastic bin which has holes in the bottom of it. The honey from the cappings drain through to the bin on bottom. I try to not waste a drop of honey as this is a lot of work for the bees and for me!

This is a close up of a frame that I shaved part of the cappings, so you can see what it looks like. The bottom half still has cappings on it, the top does not. Every now and then a beekeeper has to put some cappings in her mouth and chew on it. YUM!

After I shave off the cappings on both sides of the frames, I put them in this machine called an extractor.

Here is a close up inside the extractor.

Then I spin the extractor until one side of the frames are empty. I turn the frames around and spin the other side until they are empty.

The honey will start flowing into another bucket, with a spigot, that has three filters in it. The filters get all of the cappings, dead bees, larvae, 'stuff', that most people do not want in their honey.

Then the pure honey starts flowing from the filtered bucket and I bottle it up. I'm a hobby beekeeper so this is not a big business. It is however, a LOT of work and very time consuming! I do not use chemicals on my hives, and I will not let my bees go hungry. So I never take all of the honey from a hive.

Viola' we have Honey!

PS - The Granny Bees (the stitchery group I'm in) is working on another project that I'm excited about. I'll show you some of it later.


  1. You are awesome! Thanks for sharing, isn't this Granny Bee project fun,,I'm lovin it. Have a great day.

  2. Thanks for sharing this Cindy. Ess and I have both learnt a lot from reading this. We knew about how bees make honey but not about all the work you need to do to extract it from their hives. Very informative!!


  3. This was a great post. I love to see how something starts out and the story to the end.

  4. oh wow, that was really interesting. Thanks for sharing :)

  5. The meeting on 09/02/2012

    Pierre MARÉCHAL
    57, Chemin Luspot
    Bras-Creux 14e Km
    97430  LE TAMPON
    Tel : 06 92 56 04 35

    Monsieur and dear colleague,
    I take all the respectful liberty of writing to the following query. I am a beekeeper on the French Reunion Island (Indian Ocean) and prepare a small handbook for the beekeeper
    future of amateur beekeepers. To achieve this manual, I wish the pictures illustrate the various stages reminiscent of honey harvesting and extraction. Also, I beseech you for this project to see if you would not in your library, depending on your availability of nice pictures:
    views of the honey harvest
    uncapping frames
    extraction of honey extractor
    visit of a beehive (hand frame of the beekeeper)
    swarm (good source) and hiving
    transhumance hives
    bees on flowers

    But if you say some of the photos and that you grant me permission, in writing to publish the pictures (a must for the publisher who always asks), (should send me the pictures in high resolution 300dpi.

    PS: Especially in 300 DPI if you do not mind and tell me what to put as a reference in the cliches and your written authorization.

    Thank you for your help


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