6 Top Tips for Using a Bee Honey Extractor
When using a bee honey extractor there are certain things to remember that will make honey extraction a much better experience! Here they are, not necessarily in order of importance.
1. Harvest the honey when most of the bees are out of the hive foraging. That would be almost any warm, sunny day between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. This may keep the beekeeper from getting stung!
2. The most popular way of getting bees off frames after removing the frames from the hive to carry them to the honey house is by brushing them off the frames with a bee brush. This is the best way to get stung, and probably for all of your neighbours to get stung. Bees defend their hive and when someone is brushing at them with a large instrument, they become extremely irritable.
The best way to remove bees from frames is by blowing them off with a bee blower. Bees are not afraid of wind and don’t become aggressive when removed in this way. Bee Blowers are, however, very expensive. For more information go to tip number 6.
3. This may sound a little silly, but honey is sticky. When moving honey combs to the honey house, and when extracting honey, it will stick to EVERYTHING. If you get it on your hands it will be on everything you touch from your face, to the doorknobs, to your telephone. If you get it on the bottom of your shoes you will track it every single place you go. Make sure you have water available, either from the sink, or in a bucket. A bucket is probably better because you have to touch a sink to turn it on! Keep a towel nearby.
Baby wipes are handy to have around as well. Keep pets, kids, and anything else that might pick up honey and move it around, away from the extractor. Make a plan and do things before extracting , and therefore, getting covered with honey – close the door, make phone calls, tie shoes, etc.
4. Keep as many bees as possible out of the honey house. There will always be some because some will have been brought into the honey house in the supers. It’s hard to extract honey with bees buzzing around. Don’t leave full supers around for long because they’ll attract other insects besides bees. Most bees away from the hive will be gentle, unless a queen or brood are in the room.
Most bees will fly towards a source of light in the room. Leave the top of a window cracked slightly and bees that have a nearby hive will fly out and go back to the hive. Alternately, hang a few frames near the top of the window. Keep a caged queen near it. The bees will be attracted to the frame. If none of this works, bees can be sucked into a vacuum. It’s not nice for the bees but may work for the beekeeper.
5. Bees eat honey and, if it’s better than the nectar or honey available elsewhere, they will come and bring all their friends to eat the extracted honey. Bees can carry off a lot of honey in a few hours. Make sure you are in a closed area when extracting honey.
6. There’s a lot of equipment that beekeepers can share rather than buying it all themselves. For example, most extraction equipment like a bee honey extractor and an uncapping tank id only used for a couple of days a year. Smart beekeepers share equipment with each other or through a beekeeping group or association. It saves a lot of money and storage space.
Nancy Ketner has been fascinated by Bees for as long as she can remember. That is why she started Beekeeper Central as a free resource for others who wish to explore Beekeeping as a hobby. For more information on Bee Honey Extractors come to Beekeeper Central and sign up to our FREE mini e-course.