Extracting Honey: From Comb to Jar

Uncapping the frames with a uncapping fork.

Apart from my newly collected swarm, I do have another colony of bees.  They are a young colony and because of the wet summer we have experienced in England, only 4 frames on honey were produced.

The blog takes the reader through the journey from the uncapping of the frames to screwing the lid on the jar containing the honey.

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Jars going into the oven to be sterilised at 100 degrees Celsius.

The jars you want to use need sterilising.  I wash the jars and lids before placing them to an oven which has been pre-headed to 100 degrees celsius.  I leave them in the oven for 10 minutes before taking them out to cool to room temperature.  As a rule of thumb, 4 frames of honey is about 4 jars (1 lb jars) of  honey.

Uncapping fork with sieve over a bucket to collect drips of honey.

I use an uncapping fork to take of the surface wax off of the frames to open-up the honey.  I do this over a sieve to catch the wax and to let the excess honey drip into a bucket underneath the sieve.

Uncapping the frames with a uncapping fork.

It is an art to ensure that all the cappings have been opened.

Sieve with wax honey capping from the uncapped frames.

Once each frame is uncapped it goes into the honey extractor.  This is a machine which whizzes the frames around at high speed.  Through centrifugal force, the honey is extracted from the frames.  The honey flies-off the comb and onto the internal walls of the extractor.  The honey dribbles down to the floor of the extractor.  There is a valve at the bottom of the extractor to remove the honey.

Hand-cranked Honey Extractor
Placing frames of uncapped honey into the extractor.
Cranking the handle of the extractor
The Frames whizzing around at high speed in the extractor

Help is needed to prevent the extractor moving across the floor when the handle is being vigorously cranked!

Honey flowing from the extractor into the tank.

The honey is poured from the extractor into a settling tank.  The honey is left for 24 hours to let air bubbles in the honey rise to the surface.  Ideally, it would have been better if I had sieved the honey at this stage rather than doing it at the bottling stage.

Honey in the tank . The honey has been left for 24 hours to let the air bubble come to the surface.

After 24 hours the honey is ready to bottle.

Tank, sieve, funnel and jar!

All a bit Heath-Robinson with the settling tank above the sieve, and the sieve above a funnel and the funnel above the jar.  It kinda worked!

Honey trickling into a jar

So you probably get the idea.  The value on the settling tank is opened.  The honey falls through the sieve and any particles like wax, are caught by the sieve.  The honey in caught by the funnel which guides it into a jar.

The knack is knowing when to close the valve on the settling tank so the jar does not over-flow.  There is a time delay between the opening/closing of the valve and the honey reaching the jar.

Honey in Jars

The final product.  I got 6 jars from the four frames which I am very pleased about!

6 thoughts on “Extracting Honey: From Comb to Jar

  1. Love this! You should check out my dear friend’s bee-blog, http://www.hihathoney.com/, after all, honey lovers stick together!

    1. charltonestatetrust 10 September 2012 — 3:11 pm

      Bless you. I will have a look.

  2. thanks for the info. I am looking for support with my 2 top bar hives. I live in Adbury, near Newbury and would love some help in the spring. are you interested or know someone who could help

    1. Charlton Estate Trust 19 February 2015 — 10:34 am

      Hi Cindy,
      Why not facebook friend me or email me via the contact page, and perhaps we can speak about what you are looking for or what issues you need to overcome. thanks Steven

      1. Hi Steven, my number is 07973 185 838. I’m happy to ring you too. Cindy

  3. Thanks for capturing the process with these photos. I’m going to do a few live workshops in a few weeks and it would be nice to have some resources to send the students to after the course, so they can refer to it on their own time.

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