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How to Extract Honey From Your Beehive

Extracting honey is easier to do when the honey is still warm from the beehive as it flows much more freely. Follow this procedure when extracting honey from your hive frames:

  1. One by one, remove each frame of capped honey from the super.

    Hold the frame vertically over the uncapping tank and tip it slightly forward. This helps the cappings fall away from the comb as you slice them.

  2. Use your electric uncapping knife to remove the wax cappings and expose the cells of honey.

    A gentle side-to-side slicing motion works best, like slicing bread. Start a quarter of the way from the bottom of the comb, slicing upward. Keep your fingers out of harm’s way in the event the knife slips. Complete the job with a downward thrust of the knife to uncap the cells on the lower 25 percent of the frame.

  3. Use an uncapping fork (also called cappings scratcher) to get any cells missed by the knife.

    Flip the frame over, and use the same technique to do the opposite side.

  4. When the frame is uncapped, place it vertically in your extractor.

    An extractor is a device that spins the honey from the cells and into a holding tank.

    Once you’ve uncapped enough frames to fill your extractor, put the lid on and start cranking. Start spinning slowly at first, building some speed as you progress. Don’t spin the frames as fast as you can, because extreme centrifugal force may damage the delicate wax comb.

    After spinning for five to six minutes, turn all the frames to expose the opposite sides to the outer wall of the extractor. After another five to six minutes of spinning, the comb will be empty. The frames can be returned to the shallow super.

  5. As the extractor fills with honey, it becomes increasingly difficult to turn the crank (the rising level of honey prevents the frames from spinning freely), so you need to drain off some of the harvest.

    Open the valve at the bottom of the extractor and allow the honey to filter through a honey strainer and into your bottling bucket.

  6. Use the valve in the bottling bucket to fill the jars you’ve designed for your honey.

    Brand it with your label, and you’re done! Time to clean up.

    Removing wax cappings using an electric uncapping knife. The uncapping tank below is a nifty access
    Removing wax cappings using an electric uncapping knife. The uncapping tank below is a nifty accessory for collecting and draining the cappings.
    Place the uncapped frame vertically in the extractor.
    Place the uncapped frame vertically in the extractor.

Having enough honey jars and lids on hand is important. Standard honey jars are available in 1-, 2- and 5-pound sizes. You can estimate that you’ll harvest about 30 pounds of honey from each shallow honey super (assuming all of the frames are full of honey).

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