Honey Extraction

Hooray, We’ve got honey from our bees!

We knew we wouldn’t get much and weren’t really expecting to get any in our first year, but one of the hives (Leri) had a super with about four frames of honey in it so we decided to extract it so that we could see what it tasted like. It also gave us a good introduction to the honey extraction process without having loads of frames and hundreds of pounds of honey to contend with.

We hired the extractor from the Aberystwyth & District Beekeepers Association (£5 for 3 days). We took delivery of it yesterday so I immediately sprung into action, donned my beekeeping kit, opened up the hive and took out the four frames with honey in them, brushing off the bees in the process.

Anna uncapped the cells in the frames and we placed them into the extractor. The extractor is simply a big drum with a cage that holds the frames. The cage is then spun by hand, so that the honey is flung out of the cells and dribbles down and out of a tap at the bottom. We then strained it through two sieves and eventually poured it into jars that we had just sterilised.

The extraction process was fairly straight forward and we soon had several jars of lovely, clear, light-coloured honey.

Yes, we did taste some. It’s quite a mild honey but it was delicious on waffles!

We only managed to get (almost) 3½lbs of honey altogether, not exactly a great return on our investment.  Some quick calculations and it looks as though we’ve spent just over £1,000 on hives, bees and other beekeeping supplies. We’ve put the honey into 4oz jars, so in order to break even we’d have to sell them for over £75 each! I think we’ll keep them for ourselves – Unless of course anyone wants to buy some.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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