Harvesting The Honey: Obviously, the whole 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 honeycombs that your bees have covered with wax caps.
The Basics of Harvesting The Honey
Now all you have to do is remove the honeycombs.
The Beekeeping Gear for Harvesting The Honey
Harvesting The Honey #1: Protection of Beekeeper
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 effect on bees), and stay calm.
Harvesting The Honey #2: Remove the Bees from hive
When the super is full of capped honeycombs 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 fume 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 harms the bees, the bees simply find the scent offensive and move away from it.
Harvesting The Honey #3: How to extract Honey from Honey Comb
Now that you are in possession of the honeycomb you need to prepare it to be extracted.
First Step: Remove The Wax Caps
The first step in this preparation is to remove the wax caps the bees have used to seal the honey into the honeycomb.
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 it’s easier to cut warm wax than 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 honeycomb 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 cheesecloth 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.
Step 2 Extract Honey from Honey Comb
Once the caps are removed from the honeycomb 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 wax caps.
Once the caps have been removed from the honey combs the honeycombs are ready to have the honey extracted.