It’s not as hard as some people make it sound, so let’s go ahead and show you how!
How do you know it’s time to harvest your honey?
If you look in one of the top boxes of your hive (often times called a “super”… Supers are the boxes that are above the screen that keeps out the Queen from entering so you don’t have any larva in the screens you want to harvest for honey.) Anyhow, if you look in your “super” boxes and see that the frames are full of honey combs that have been covered with wax caps, then you’re in business!
Pretty much all you have to do now is just remove the honey combs.
But first you have to remove the bees from the “super” box.
First, go out to your hive with your full gear on (make sure it’s light colored because dark colors can scare bees.)
You’ll need to get the bees away from the frames of that super box. One easy way to do that is to take out each frame one by one and use a bee brush to just brush off the bees from that frame one by one.
Alright, so now you have all the frames with your honey in them, but how do you actually extract it?
The first step is to remove the wax caps the bees used to seal the honey into the comb.
You can use a medal knife to remove the caps, and it’s a bit easier if you use a larger blade that has been warmed a bit to make the wax more soft when the blade runs across.
An easy way to keep the knife warm is to have some warm water in a bucket nearby and dunk the knife in there frequently.
Sometimes you’ll need a “capping scratcher” to get the rest of the caps that the knife didn’t quite get.
You can keep the wax that you scrape off for candles, or homeopathic products, etc.
Now you’re ready to extract the honey.
The only downside to extracting honey is that you’ll need a tool called an extractor. It’s a big “pot like” tool where you put your frame on the inside and you use a crank to spin it. The spinning motion uses centrifugal motion to extract the honey. And there’s not really a better way to do it, so you’d be smart to invest in a quality extractor. You’ll be happy you did!
If you’d like to know more about starting your first hive click here to grab our free beekeeping quick start kit.