Honey Harvest

I’ve had a lot of people message and ask for a post detailing how we harvest honey… ask and you shall receive ;).

In Kentucky, late July is a good time to harvest honey. Bees require (at least) 2 hive bodies to survive the winter, so every box above the bottom two is called a honey super (see pic below). These are the boxes we pull from.

Ohh… the problems of working with giants. Wade and my dad have no problem reaching and lifting these boxes as they pile sky high. I can’t say the same…. I either climb like a billy goat or *hopefully* remember a stool. Better yet, ask for a little assistance ;).

But there’s an issue: despite our plans for honey harvesting, the bees think it’s best to carry about their busy bee business. A bunch–100s!–of bees remain in the honey supers. One method of removing the bees from the super is using a stink board. The stink board is a wooden topper coated with a stout (so smelly!) spray called “Bee-B-Gone.” I’ve since learned that there are other (read: more pleasant) smelling options–definitely worth considering. The scent makes the bees go down into the lower boxes of the hive, pushing them out of the honey supers for nearly bee-free boxes.

This is my dad removing a super that has already been “stinked.” The hive on the far right is getting a good sniff.
Here is a good pic of some bees coming out for fresh air as I put the hive back together. Notice there are only 2 hive bodies remaining. We’ve removed honey supers.

After we got the supers loaded in the truck, we headed home to begin the process of extracting the honey. First, the frames of honey must be uncapped. This can be done with a little skill and even more patience, taking care not to cut into the frames too deeply.

When the honey is uncapped (I saved our wax to make candles later), the frames are placed into the spinner. Our honey spinner is electric, spinning the frames and making honey drip down to a spout from the centrifuge action. From the spout, the honey drips into a bucket with a filter on top, catching any debris. Some folks prefer not filtering the honey at all, others filter the honey through a food-grade screen multiple times for the clearest bottled honey.

We set up our honey kitchen in the garage. With a tarp on the ground, a fold-out table, and (of course) some rocking chairs and radio, we are ready for an evening of spinning.

Finally–time to lift the buckets to a higher surface and use the tap to fill the jars. Beautiful!!

As with all things beekeeping, there are about a million different ways to do everything. If you have any questions, leave a comment or send me an email!

Sweet blessings! 🙂 -Neena

Author: Neena

Neena is a Kentucky wife, mother, and beekeeper. Her first novel, THE BIRD AND THE BEES, is a Christian contemporary romance available now. Visit her at wordslikehoney.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *