Beehive honey collection – Honey Extraction
The harvest is the removal of honey from honeycombs sealed with mature honey and is made when the honeycomb is sealed by bees as a whole or 75% of the frame surface.
The harvest takes place during the summer and autumn months, after the melliferous. The beekeeper decides how many honeycombs (and which) will be removed. The beekeeper must leave 22-30 pounds (10 to 15 kg) of honey in every beehive, so that the colony can handle problems caused from lack of food, bad weather or drought.
Before we begin to remove the combs inside the hive, we should have in mind that strong odor and fragrances make the bees aggressive. It's a good idea as a beekeeper to avoid using any fragrance, especially at the day of honey harvest. We smoke the hive with a bee smoker (this is now allowed in some countries). We do this in order to calm the bees. (We just put fir leaves inside the smoker – nothing toxic).
We then shake the box inside the cell so that the majority of bees fly away. We dismiss the rest with the beekeeping brush (which we have first moistened with water).
We carefully place the frame in an empty hive and cover it. We do the same for all the frames and we transport them to our warehouse (where the honey extraction will take place). It is important that our place is clean, has electricity and water, is well-lit and ventilated. Some young beekeepers, due to the fact that they cannot have their own space, make honey extraction right next to the apiary, which is not correct and may create a lot of problems.
We can leave the frames inside the empty hives for a few days, before we make the honey extraction.
The basic tools we need to have in stock for the honey extraction are: an antiscaling bench, a stainless steel honey extractor of 4 frames (there are electrical at a cost of USD 400-1000 and manual at a cost of USD 250), a peeling knife, a wooden or plastic fork for antiscaling, a double sieve honey filter, a maturation cauldron with tap, and of course cans or jars to put our honey.
We place our frames in the antiscaling bench.
We then grate the honeycomb surface with the antiscaling knife or fork so as to remove the wax carefully and not to destroy the cells of the honeycomb.
We do the same for all frames, then we transfer them to the honey extractor.
We start the extractor at low speed until it begins to leave a lot of honey and we gradually accelerate, then we stop and turn the frames on the other side, doing the same thing.
Once we finish with the honey extraction, we open the tap and let the honey pass through the strainer in the honey pots. We store the honey until its consumption or sale.
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9. Honey Harvest
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