Wisborough Green Beekeepers Association

a Division of West Sussex Beekeepers Association

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Honey Extracting
Honey Extracting

We remove and extract honey twice during the year, in late May/early June for the oil seed rape crop and in August for the main crop.

Our teaching apiary has several honey producing colonies that are used to teach colony management to all levels, so the demonstration covers the removal of the crop, the extracting process and returning wet supers to be cleaned by the bees. This is usually done over two consecutive days. Not only do we teach the extracting process to beginners, but our more experienced beekeepers deal with the bulk of the crop to quicken things up.

We usually have a general discussion about the different ways of removing bees from supers, then demonstrate the function and use of the main types of clearer boards. These are placed on honey producing colonies the day before extracting.

The following day a team remove the supers and transport them to where the extracting is carried out. Here the members are shown how to set out the extracting equipment for best efficiency and to reduce the chances of honey dripping or being spilt. Uncapping can be a little challenging until it is mastered, but there is plenty of time to perfect the skills.

We must remember that we are dealing with foodstuff, so cleanliness is required at all times.

The full process is shown including cleaning frames of burr comb, uncapping, extracting, straining and running honey into buckets for storage in the cool. The wet supers are returned to the bees in the evening to reduce the chance of robbing.

These days give beekeepers the opportunity to see the whole process from removing supers to replacing them a few hours later.

Setting equipment out to reduce distance between operations. Photo Lisa Baker

A Full B.S. brood comb. Photo Stan Renals

A well filled super comb. Photo Roger Patterson

Uncapping a brood frame
Video by Stan Renals

Loading the extractor. Photo Roger Patterson

Demonstrating the refractometer. Photo Roger Patterson

Straining honey into buckets. Photo Roger Patterson

Colony waiting for wet supers to be returned. Photo Roger Patterson

Supers with a plastic sheet with a small hole in it underneath replaced wet supers for the bees to clean up.
Photo Roger Patterson