How to Extract Honey

There are 3 main stages for extracting honey from a hive. 1st is getting the frames off the hive. 2nd is the actual extraction. 3rd is bottling the honey. This guide pertains to stages 2 and 3.

9.6k Views 246 Likes 22 Comments
Image for Step 1

Bring your honey frames into the room where you will be extracting. Make sure your space is clean, warm, and has running water. You should be away from bees and insects. I like to use my kitchen.

Image for Step 2

This is a manual 3-frame extractor. To protect the floors and countertops, I like to put down drop cloths and plastic sheets. This also makes it easier to clean up when you are finished.

Recommended For You
Image for Step 3

Have a 5 gallon bucket ready, with a nylon strainer placed inside. You can purchase a bucket with a spigot from a beekeeping supply company. It makes bottling much easier then with a regular bucket.

Image for Step 4

This is an uncapping knife. You can use anything from a fancy electric, heated model to a plain serrated bread knife. Offset handles will not bump your knuckles on the frame as you remove the wax.

Image for Step 5

This is an example of a sufficiently capped frame. A frame should have at least 80% capped honey. Uncapped honey has high moisture content. If the yield is too moist, it could ferment.

Image for Step 6

Here is a close up of the capped frame.

Video Placeholder Image for Step 7

Place the frame in a bucket or extracting tank. Run the knife down the frame, letting the cappings fall.

Image for Step 8

Some honey will drip into the extracting tank or bucket. A tank will separate the honey from the wax, which can be drained via the valve. If using a bucket, drop the entire contents through a strainer

Image for Step 9

When you have uncapped both sides of the frame, place it in the extractor.

Image for Step 10

Make sure all slots are full before you begin.

Image for Step 11

The cover should be on.

Video Placeholder Image for Step 12

Spin the crank for 30 to 60 seconds. A tangential extractor requires that you take out each frame, flip it around, and then spin again. You will then return it to the first position for another spin.

Video Placeholder Image for Step 13

Remove each frame from the extractor once the honey has been spun off. If there is still honey on the comb, repeat the last step.

Video Placeholder Image for Step 14

Open the gate periodically to let the honey pour out. If you wait too long, it will rise so high you can't spin the extractor. I open it after each set of frames, while I'm uncapping the next batch.

Image for Step 15

Let all the honey go through the preliminary strainer. I triple strain my honey, which involves transferring back and forth between 2 clean buckets lined with new mesh strainers.

Image for Step 16

After you have strained the honey, put it on a scale and see how much you ended up with!

Image for Step 17

Make sure the honey is transferred back to the pail with the spigot. Put a lid on the bucket. Let the honey sit overnight, so the air bubbles can float up to the top. Now it's time to start bottling!

Video Placeholder Image for Step 18

Open the spigot and let the honey flow into the containers. Make sure there is a heavy pour, to prevent air bubbles. Remember that honey flows better in warm temperatures, so turn up the heat!

keyboard shortcuts:     previous step     next step
View More Comments