Depending on where you live it may well be time to begin planning for your first honey harvest.  Of course if you’re in the south and your bees did particularly well this year you might have already harvested even if you started the hive this year.  For some in cooler climates you might not even harvest honey the first year, but if you are going to harvest this is a good time to start planning.  So how do you plan a honey harvest and what will you need?

  1. First you’ll need to find an extractor.  You can get a few very low end models for not too much money but they aren’t going to work as well as a stainless extractor.  Your other option would be to see if your local beekeeping organization rents extractors or if there’s another beekeeper who might rent theirs.  Figure this out now as you won’t have an easy go of it harvesting honey without an extractor!
  2. Determine where you want to extract the honey.  Outside won’t work as you’ll be swarmed by every insect you can imagine once they smell the beautiful honey coming out of the comb.  You can use your kitchen but you’ll want to insure that you protect your surfaces.  Remember, it’s both wax and honey you’ll be dealing with so it’s going to be messy!  Whatever you do make sure the area is clean and easily accessible.  You’ll be pulling in frames and supers and will need an area to work so make sure it’s not a tight place that will make extraction difficult.
  3. Plan the day.  Once you’ve determined a day that you can rent an extractor block off this entire day on your calendar.  You may finish quickly but no matter what you’ll not want to be rushed for time.  If you have several supers to extract see if you can find a friend to help with the work.

We’ll have more about different supplies you need for extracting honey but these are steps you’ll want to take now so you’re ready for the big day.

Photo by Jessica Dally

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