Watch How to Harvest Your Honey and Build Your Own Extractor
The reason to set up, maintain, and stock a beehive is to harvest honey. You will know that it is time to harvest the honey when you look in one of your hives supers and find that the frames are full of honey combs that your bees have covered with wax caps.
- Don’t take all of the honey
Don’t use all their honey for your harvest. Instead, you leave enough honey so that the bees can live through the winter. You can even freeze some of the frames in case of emergency feeding during a very cold and long winter.
- Smaller Honey Harvests Are Best
It’s better to have a smaller harvest to keep your bees well fed than it is to harvest everything and feed them junk food to keep them going. All that happens when you do the latter is that your bees will produce weaker and weaker offspring due to the low nutrition.
- Give Them Space
The other tip that you should consider is not allowing the population of any of your hives to get too high. Always ensure that they have plenty of room. Also, ensure that you keep your hives clean from dead bees to avoid any type of infestation.
Even though providing the habitat for honey bees is artificial, the closer you can stay to nature in terms of how you care for your bees, the better for the bees, the environment, and your honey harvest. That’s why it’s so important to learn all that you can about bee behavior in addition to problems that can happen.
- How to Move the Bees Away during the Harvest
Harvesting your honey won’t be a problem as long as your put on all your beekeeping gear, wear light colored clothes (beekeepers swear that lighter colored clothes have a soothing affect on bees) and stay calm.
When the super is full of capped honey combs you are going to have to remove the bees from that super. There are chemicals available on the market that will make this easier. One popular chemical that beekeepers use to remove bees from the super is Bee-Go. All beekeepers have to do is apply Bee-Go to a fumer board. When the bees smell the Bee-Go they head to the bottom of the hive, leaving the super full of capped honeycombs empty for you to harvest. Another product beekeepers use to clear out supers is one called Fishers Bee Quick. Neither of these products harm the bees, the bees simply find the scent offensive and move away from it.
- First step in Extracting the Honey
Now that you are in possession of the honey comb you need to prepare it to be extracted. The first step is to remove the wax caps the bees have used to seal the honey into the honey comb.
Many beekeepers prefer to use nine frames instead of ten in their supers. By using nine frames they give the bees enough room to draw the comb out, placing the cap right on the very edge of the comb. This makes it easier to remove the wax caps. Beekeepers use a metal knife to remove the caps, the knife works best if the knife blade is warmed, after all its easier to cut warm wax then it is to cut cold wax.
You can keep the knife blade warm with frequent dunking in a basin that is full of hot water. Many beekeepers like to use their bread knife to remove the wax caps from the honey comb while others prefer an electrical knife that is designed just for beekeepers.
What do you think bee’s wax candles are made out of. Removing the caps from the dripping honey is easy, just use a piece of cheese cloth to empty the contents into a second pot, the honey will drain through the cheesecloth and the bee’s wax caps will collect on the top.
Once the caps are removed from the honey comb the honey is ready to be extracted.
As you remove the caps, let them fall into a pot, do not just through them away. You will notice that there is a surprising amount of honey attached to these caps, honey that can be processed and used. Also there is a market for the wax caps. Once the caps have been removed from the honeycombs the honey combs are ready to have the honey extracted.
Processing the Extracted Raw Honey
After the beekeeper collects the honey it’s processed immediately after harvesting because it crystallizes when it’s allowed to sit. It has to be heated up between 150-170 degrees because it carries the bacterium that causes botulism, which can be dangerous since this is the very bacterium that causes food poisoning.
Honey is actually sweeter than table sugar, but the problem with table sugar is that it’s bleached white since actual unprocessed raw sugar is brown. Honey is pasteurized to kill off the bacteria like botulism to make it safe to eat and to put in food.
How to Make Your Honey Extractor
In order to get honey from your beehive you have to be able to extract the honey from the honey comb. In order to do this you have to have to have a honey extractor. There are manufactured honey extractors available on the market, they typically cost approximately $200 to $300, the average cost of starting a new hive of honey bees.
If there is a group of beekeepers in an area they will sometimes pool their money together to purchase a honey extractor that they share. If you are not in a large beekeeping environment and do not want to spend a few hundred dollars on a manufactured honey extractor you might want to make your own.
When making a homemade honey extractor make sure that is was never used to store potentially toxic materials.
There are many different ways to make a honey extractor, see which you like from these popular video’s.
MAKE YOUR OWN HONEY EXTRACTOR
HONEY EXTRACTION AT HOME
Many beekeepers are trying to take the honey they produce to the organic level because they don’t believe in producing a product using harmful pesticides and chemicals. If anything organic is your best bet because these farmers only produce a product on land that’s not treated with chemicals.
Organic farming also have standards they adhere to in terms of what the market expects of the product and beekeepers are usually about the natural way of things especially when it comes to the honey they produce.