Harvesting Honey

The weekend before last, we pulled off 7 frames of capped honey from Demeter. I have to say that harvesting the foundationless frames went as easily as I had planned.

See that? All we did was go around the edges of the frames to free the wax. I used a hard plastic spatula like the ones used to get the last peanut butter out of a jar. But a nice sharp knife would work too. This collection bucket is the one I got for free from the bakery.

 

Crushing the honeycomb in that same bucket. It had a lid and handle so it was very easy to manage. You need to make sure to crush the comb on the bottom as well, you can very easily crush only what’s on top and leave big chunks of intact comb.

Scooping the crushed comb and honey into the filters.

One of the first batches. Those are air bubbles on the top.

Washing the wax of any remaining honey.

Once the honey had strained through the wax would have some honey adhering. If I were to leave the wax out, the bees would clean most of it up but I found leaving wax outside was not a good idea because if it rained it got funky.
So I returned the wax to the crushing bucket, added some water and stirred it around. I filtered the wax and water through one of the used strainers into another clean bucket, attempting to rinse the strainer at the same time. This honey water was put into a quart jar, set outside along with the filter baskets and crushing bucket. Within one day everything was spic-and-span clean. But I’ll still wash them ๐Ÿ™‚

One thing to note, the honey bucket came with 3 filters: 600, 400 and 200 micron. The honey drained very quickly through the 600 and 400 but the 200 took several days of periodic stirring to get most of it to go through. Though the honey was clearer, it was a pain in the heiny. I’ll post a picture of honey strained through 400 and 200 micron filters and you can judge for yourself if the 200 is worth it. Also, the filters have a tendency to stick together and form a vacuum of sorts thus preventing the honey from draining as quickly as it could. I’m sure I’m missing something about the set-up…

The crushing bucket on the left, the quart feeder bottle in the middle and another bucket that received the filtered honey water on the right.

The empty jar. Gosh those bees sure do like honey!

Once the honey comb was cut off, the frame went back into the hive for cleanup. When I went to check on the frames in a few days, they had started building out on them again.

Talk about handy: I hung a couple of uncapped nectar frames for the bees to rob out. Worked like a charm and it kept grass and dirt off the frames!

The total yield was about 17lbs of honey. I’ll update the post with a picture of the jars with my label on it!

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One thought on “Harvesting Honey

  1. Hey, Suburban Rancher… it’s Suburban Homestead! Lost my colony to a freeze and did my first crush-and-strain extraction today. Just thought I’d let you know that your helpful blog entry popped right up on Google… and the name irony was too much to ignore. ๐Ÿ™‚

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