Obviously the whole reason to
set up, maintain, and stock a beehive is to harvest the 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.
Harvesting your honey won't be
an issue as long as you put on all your beekeeping gear, wear light colored clothes (beekeeper's swear that lighter
colored clothes have a soothing affect on bees) and stay calm.
When the super is full of capped
honey combs you are going to have to remove the bees from that super. There are chemicals available on the market
that will make this easier for you. One popular chemical that beekeeper's use to remove bees from the super is
Bee-Go. All the beekeeper has to do is apply Bee-Go to a fumer 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
beekeeper's use to clear out supers is one called Fishers Bee Quick. Neither of these products harm the honeybees,
the honeybees simply find the scent offensive and move away from it.
Now that you have access to the
honey comb you need to prepare it to be extracted. The first step in this preparation is to remove the wax caps the
honeybees have used to seal the honey into the honeycomb.
Beekeeper's use a metal knife to
remove the caps, the knife works best if the knife blade is warmed, after all its easier to cut warm wax than it is
to cut cold wax. You can keep the knife blade warm by keeping you a cup of hot water with you. Many beekeeper's
like to use their bread knife to remove the wax caps from the honey comb, while others prefer an electrical knife
that is designed just for beekeeper's. Removing the caps from the dripping honey is easy, just use a piece of
cheese-cloth 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.
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 the wax caps. Once the caps have
been removed from the honeycombs the honey combs are ready to have the honey extracted.