Honey Extraction

This sequence of photographs show the principles of extracting honey to keep it fresh clean and undamaged by heat. The set-up has been developed over several years on a domestic scale but is able to manage now a crop of dozens of supers. Many beekeepers with just 2 or 3 hives yielding 5 or 6 supers can manage with smaller apparatus adapted for the kitchen but the basic principles are the same. These are summarised below. Clean water and hand cleaning cloths are essential.

  1. Extract the honey as soon as it comes from the hive or keep the supers warm. This allows the honey to flow more easily.
  2. Uncap safely and drain cappings which will contain a lot of honey. Remove the wax capping with a very shallow cut. At least three quarters of honey in the combs should be sealed and no honey should drop out of the comb before cells are uncapped.
  3. Avoid equipment that heats the honey and cappings such as Pratley trays.
  4. A radial extractor is the most efficient and a motorised one is a wise investment.
  5. Coarsely strain honey from the extractor as is runs into to the Settling tank or container to remove wax bits.
  6. Store the honey in air-tight food containers. It will set firmly sooner or later.
  7. Warm the containers to melt the honey to maximum of 50C, Then fine filter it through 200 mesh nylon or stainless steel, allow it to settle to let micro air bubbles rise to the surface then run into jars.
  8. Do not store honey in jars for long periods.
  9. Well-drained cappings can be rendered down in a solar wax extractor. Other methods can be read about in guide books or invented!