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Spring Honey Harvesting

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Beekeeping, Guides

Spring is in the air, and with it, the sweet scent of freshly harvested honey!

We know finding the best time to harvest honey can be hard, but you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll explore some essential tips for honey harvesting from your beehives in the springtime.

So grab your beekeeping equipment, it’s time to get buzzing with bee-usiness!

Find the best time to harvest honey

The most crucial factor in harvesting delicious honey is making sure it is ready to harvest. If you do it too early, you can end up with honey with high moisture, which may ferment or spoil over time. Some indicators you should observe to know the honey is ready to harvest include: 

  • Capped honey. Capped honeycomb appears sealed with a layer of wax, indicating that the honey has reached the desired moisture content for long-term storage.
  • Honey consistency. When honey is ready to harvest, it will have a thick and viscous consistency, sticking to the sides of the comb. If you notice it is watery, it’s not fully ripened. 

Wait until most of the frames in your hive supers are capped, indicating the honey is ready for extraction. 

A food-grade honey bucket and strainer are essential for a honey extraction process.

Prepare your beekeeping equipment

Before you start, make sure to have your honey harvesting equipment in optimal condition, including: 

Clean and sterilize your beekeeping tools before you start, and replace any equipment if needed. 

Finally, set up your extraction area in a clean, well-ventilated space to minimize mess and contamination.

Honey extraction techniques 

The first step for honey extraction is to use your bee smoker to calm the bees. 

The smoke will mask their alarm pheromones, reducing the likelihood of defensive behavior. If used properly, a bee smoker helps minimize the stress on the bees and enables smoother honey harvesting without agitating the colony unnecessarily.

Once the bees are calm, handle your frames carefully to avoid damaging the honeycomb. Use a bee brush to remove bees from the frames gently. Avoid harsh brushes that may damage the comb or harm the bees. 

Use an uncapping knife to remove the wax from the frames, then place them in a honey extractor.

💡 Be careful not to over-extract so the bees have a proper food supply!

Filtering and storing honey 

Once you’ve finished the honey extraction, filter the honey to remove the remaining wax particles and any impurities. Use a honey strainer to obtain clear honey.

We recommend storing your honey in food-grade honey buckets or glass jars away from direct sunlight and heat to maintain its quality and flavor.

A food-grade honey bucket and strainer are essential for a honey extraction process. 
A food-grade honey bucket and strainer are essential for a honey extraction process.

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Honey harvesting can seem daunting, but it’s one of the most rewarding experiences for beekeepers. You’ll be able to taste the effort you’ve put into your work! 

Happy honey harvesting season! 🍯

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