People get into beekeeping for many reasons—for pollination, stress-relief, education, apitherapy (using bee venom for medical purposes), and to enjoy bee-made products from the hive (pollen, beeswax and propolis) However, the number one reason people get into beekeeping is for the honey.
Knowing when to harvest your honey is of extreme importance. Each region has its own seasons—for instance, in the Pacific Northwest the Honey Harvesting Season begins late July.
You can tell when the honey flow has ended and it’s time to harvest your honey when the majority of the plants in your area no longer are flowering. When you have removed your honey supers (Making sure you leave enough honey for your bees to survive the winter) you will need to decide what style of honey you want to harvest.
3 most popular ways to harvest honey
- Extracted Honey: This is the most popular way for beekeepers to harvest their honey. The Wax cappings covering the honey are sliced off and the frames with the opened honeycomb are put into a cylindrical device called an extractor. The extractor spins using a hand-crank or electric motor and the honey is removed from the cells via centrifugal force. This produces delicious liquid honey that can be enjoyed immediately.
- Creamed Honey: This style of honey is super-thick and popular in Europe. It involves a process that helps control the crystallization that occurs naturally in honey. The honey is removed from the frames, strained to remove wax and bee parts and then heated and cooled numerous times while stirring. After about a week you will have a semi-solid batch of delicious creamed honey.
- Comb Honey: Just as the name implies, this is honey capped inside the honey comb. This is the least popular way to harvest honey as it is the hardest to produce. (Yet, it’s the simplest to harvest) Producing this type of honey requires the right weather, heavy nectar flow and intuitive timing. Ross Rounds and mason jars are typically put inside the beehives by beekeepers to entice their bees to produce the comb honey. When it’s time to harvest, you just remove the honeycomb and you’re done. The wax honeycomb is edible and the liquid honey inside the comb is delicious. This process is not for beginners, but it’s well worth the effort to learn how to make comb honey.