15: Extracting Honey [HBM Podcast Transcript]

The following is a transcript of Honey Bee Man Episode 15 on extracting honey with MarkZ….

Today we’re going to talk about where the honey comes from and how you get it out of a hive…

Inside a honey bee hive you have frames. These frames contain wax built in the typical honeycomb shape. The bees pack nectar from flowers into these honeycomb frames, and the frames are removable out of the hive. The hive has boxes, which are called supers. These are stacked one on top of another to form the hive. Inside those boxes are these frames.

What happens is the bees pack the nectar into those honeycomb shaped pockets that are horizontal. As the bees pack the nectar into these pockets, the moisture dries out as the bees fan their wings inside the hive. This turns the nectar from a nectar, which has a lot of moisture, to honey, which has very little moisture.

That’s what gives honey its preservation qualities, because honey is one of the few food items that will not spoil. It will granulate. You can warm it up through warm water to make that honey “fresh” again. Basically, just by simply heating up to around 150-degrees the crystallization will form back into liquid and be pretty much as good as new.

That’s where the honey comes from, it’s packed into these frames. The bees do all of this themselves. Once the honey gets turned into honey from the nectar, the bees actually seal these honeycomb pockets over. That’s called capping. They cap the cell, each one of those pockets is called a cell. When the bees cover that, that’s called capping the cell.

In order for a beekeeper to remove that honey from the hive, what you have to do is pull that frame out, make sure there are no bees on that frame. This typically happens in an extraction house, you extract honey that honey out with a centrifugal force motion, using what’s called an extractor.

You take that frame and you cut with a hot knife those cappings, which allows the honey to drain out of those pockets or cells. The honey will drain out immediately once you cut those cappings off. As you know, honey is thick, so it won’t run out like water. You have to fling in this extractor machine at high speeds…

There are simple small machines that have cranks on them or electrical machines that are hooked up to a motor. You put your frame in there, you turn it on, the honey flings to the outside as it’s being spun around on this frame.

That typically does not damage the wax. The wax can be reused. You can put it back in the beehive and let the bees fill that up again with honey.

It’s a very amazing process. It takes millions of bees to make your morning honey for your toast. Next time you have a piece of toast with honey, just think about the millions of bees that do what they do best, they made that honey for you and it was extracted by a beekeeper in an extractor, and then from there it was filtered.

Probably, if you bought it from a local beekeeper, the only process that he did was extract it in a machine, filter it, and then bottle it, so it should be very fresh.

That’s how you get your honey 🙂

Here’s a great video I spotted on YouTube showing the process of gathering frames and spinning them in an extractor machine like we talked about above:

About Honey Bee Man Transcripts

I first found this podcast via http://kiwimana.co.nz/top-free-beekeeping-podcasts/

This is a great podcast series that MarkZ the Honey Bee Man recorded back in 2007 where he goes through his 10-minute-lessons in beginner beekeeping.

It's a great resource for anyone getting started and the audio from the episodes are still hosted on TalkShoe and iTunes, but it's the internet and information can disappear into the void at any moment, especially after a podcast has been retired, so I wanted to make sure this information was available for everyone to use. I know our community has several folks who are hearing impaired that might be interested to read the info as well, so I've transcribed them and posted them here as articles for everyone.

Episode 1: Introduction to Beekeeping
Episode 2: Pollination
Episode 3: Where to Place a Backyard Beehive
Episode 4: The Best Plants for Your Bees
Episode 5: What Beekeeping Equipment is Needed to Start Keeping Hives
Episode 6: Is It Important to Buy Local Honey?
Episode 7: Basic Protective Gear for Beekeepers
Episode 8: Will Eating Local Honey Help With Allergies?
Episode 9: How to Install a New Package of Bees
Episode 10: Honeybee Hive Inspections - What You Need and What to Look For
Episode 11: Possible Concerns with Used Beekeeping Equipment
Episode 12: How to Avoid Getting Stung By Your Bees (or other stinging insects)
Episode 13: Talking About Colony Collapse Disorder
Episode 14: Different Types of Honey
Episode 15: Extracting Honey from Hives

Organic Backyard Beekeeper is not officially associated with The HoneyBee Man in any way, these transcripts are being provided freely without payment to share and preserve them as a resource. © This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License - Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/