Honey Extracting

– Hi there. We’re going to demonstrate the extracting
process that we use here at the Honey Bee Research Centre. Every extracting system is scaled to the appropriate
scale. What we’re doing here works for from 300 to
500 colonies, but the principles are the same no matter what scale you’re doing this at. You’re basically uncapping and then centrifuging
the frames to spin the honey out. There’s a few more steps involved, but lets’
go through them. Taylor’s going to wheel in the stack of supers
here. And the first thing we’re going to do is scrape
the excess wax off the top of the frames. We scrape the top, the bottom, and the end
bars of all the frames, and scrape the boxes, but we do that all at different stages. So she’ll switch that box around and then
scrape all those top bars there. There’s not much honey in those top bars,
so she can throw that wax directly into a bin that just has dry wax in it. You’ll notice that she’s containing the wax
in her hand as she’s scraping it, so it’s just not flying all over the place. Once she’s done that, she loosens up every
frame on both sides. There’s a lot of honey in these boxes and
they’re really stuck down, so you don’t want to be pulling them up by hand. So, she loosens up both ends and they’re all
free and easy to move. We then advance the frames into our uncapper. The uncapper that we’re using is a Cowan Silver
Queen. So, go ahead, Taylor. You can pull out a nice full frame there. And she’s just gonna hold that up to show
all the wax on the surface there. The odd bee, we’ll brush those off. All that cappings needs to be removed. So our device uses heated knives that saw
that comb off, or the cappings, rather, off. And then that liberates the honey so it can
be extracted. So go ahead, Taylor. Turn that noisy– So the frames that have been uncapped, all
those cells are wide open there, you can see the honey dripping out. Lots of honey in there, we’ve removed some
cappings from the surface. There’s the odd little bit we missed there. I don’t worry about them. Once we’ve uncapped enough to fill this whole
rack system here, we’re then ready to advance the frames into the extractor. The cappings that drain out of the uncapper
go down into the capping spinner. It’s a perforated basket inside there that
spins very rapidly. The honey and wax mixture of the cappings
gets thrown to the outside. The cappings are retained, or the wax is retained,
inside the basket, but the honey leaks out through that screen down there. So we’re able to separate the honey and wax
at that point. We’re now ready to advance these frames into
the extractor here. To do that we open up the lid of the extractor. We orient the rack so that it’s vertical,
like that. And then, we connect this rail with the rail
in the extractor. Like so. And we connect the outfeed rail by pulling
it over. Now, we have one continuous rail running through
the system. Now, I get my honey, my sticky hands, into
water to get them freed up so nothing gets too sticky. And we select that spot right there. There’s a little marker right here that indicates
how many frames we’re going to be pushing through. There we go, now we’re ready to push them
in. Now, these full frames that we’re pushing
in automatically push the empty frames out. We can then advance these a little bit further. Open that up. Open this up. And let that heavy rack drop down to the bottom. We’ll line that up again. And grab up some more frames here. Slide them forward. Go to our mark. Slide those forward. Okay, that’s all full now. The next thing we do is we scrape the end
bars here. Just scrape those down there, we get excess
wax on that surface there. So we scrape those off, while we have them
all held into position here. It’s really quite quick because we have pretty
good access to those end bars right here. That’s ready to spin now. Because these are not self-spacing frames,
we give them a little bit of a wiggle, so they’re not stuck together. We give that a big pull, turn the switch on,
and then lower our lid down. That runs for about 10 minutes. And while that’s running, we can uncap another
load over here. And the frames that are advanced out of the
outfeed rail can then be handled. So, those frames that have advanced out of
the extractor are pretty empty, they’re still a little bit sticky. Katherine’s going to hold a frame up there
so we can have a look at it. You can see how the honey has come out of
that frame. It’s kind of mangled up a little bit, but
the bees will fix that up. It’s a little bit sticky, but most of the
honey is out of there. So that’s what the frame looks like. Those frames are going to go in the boxes,
but first we need to scrape the boxes. So we scrape the frame rest area there. Get any excess wax off that surface, and then
we scrape the walls of the box. Get it nice and clean, and then we can put
the frames back in there. We grab three frames at a time. We have nine in a box, so three, three, three. Wiggle the frames around a little bit so they
drop down into those frame rests that we use in our boxes. And then the next step is going to be straightening
the bottom bars, the last surface of the frame that we need to scrape. So Katherine tips the box forward, holds onto
the frame and scrapes down, and removes all that wax that’s along the bottom. Once that’s done, the box is ready to either
go back onto a hive or into storage for winter. Let’s back up a little bit, and we’ll go back
here, and we’re going to look at where the honey flows in this system. We’ve got honey coming out of this end from
the capping spinner. We have honey coming out of the extractor. They both feed into what’s called the sump
tank, down below here. I’ve opened the cover up a little bit so you
can see inside. Wax floats to the surface. There’s nice clean honey on the bottom. When that tank gets full, a float lifts up
and turns on a switch. That switch operates this pump here, that
pumps the honey up and through this hose here and over into our settling tank that we have
in the hot room. The hot wax that’s in that settling tank floats
to the surface. We are then able to take the nice clean honey
out of the bottom and fill up barrels. And then from there, we can process the honey
or just store those barrels. Those are all the steps that we use in our
extracting system. As I said at the beginning, these will be
different at a different scale, but all the principles are exactly the same. Thanks for watching. Have a nice day.


  1. Love the videos! Can you describe how you store empty frames/supers over the winter? Do you use moth crystals?

  2. Great videos! I have been steadily watching all of them. I work with beekeepers in Kosovo, but I have not previous experience with honey bees. I’m learning a lot as I go.

    I can’t seem to find a good video on lowering the moisture content of honey. In the video it appears that you store the honey immediately. Do you ever need to lower the moisture of your honey? If so, can you share your methods?

    Again, wonderful video!

  3. We use a cowen 60 frame. This is just a small version of that. I like it. I’m thinking I should get one of these as a backup or for extracting in our southern base in GA.

  4. Huge fan of your channel, and everything Guelph.

    Question: What temperature do you keep you aim to get your honey to in the settling process?

  5. Always wanted to know how the larger operations like yours cleans all that equipment. What's the process?
    How will you process your wax? Where does your product go? I'm very small but can sell all my product to keep the hobby/business going.

  6. Is the damage to the comb a result of the orientation of the frames while spinning? It seems to ba a weird way/orientation to spin the frames. . . very convineint to load and unload though.

  7. Can you do a video on using 9 frame honey supers? If you start with a new honey super that has to be drawn out, do you start with 10 frames then reduce them to 9 so that the comb stays even? Or do you start with 9 frames even if the frames aren't drawn out? Thanks. Love your videos.

  8. Thank you to everyone for watching and supporting our videos! If you have any questions about our videos, please check out our list of FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS on our website, which can be found at http://www.uoguelph.ca/honeybee/videos-FAQs.shtml .

  9. Thank you for this excellent video , is it possible to start the breeding of queens and i don't have the males? , that there is a bees of neighbors can be they have sufficient male, because I am a hurry to have queens, What are genetically inherited traits of males and what genetically inherited traits of maternal queens are, and thank you in advance.

  10. advance 10 finished frames on the rails…..pickup a clean super and place it under the frames and lift it up putting the 10 frames into the super. pull the super toward the end of the rails and allow the frames to drop into the super….guess what !!!…..no handling of frames…faster cleaner and more efficient ….

  11. How many barrels of honey do you get on average season? How many hives are you running to get that number of barrels? I am a hobbyist with 2 hives but I want to ramp up once I get the basics down. So I am trying to figure out what the numbers will be to transition from hobby to making a living.

  12. It's fascinating and slick how you just tipped the honey supers to insert the bee escape before harvesting. I noticed one colony had seven supers in all! How is there enough room for all the bees to escape into that one deep?

  13. Is there somewhere you address crystalized honey? I'm very smalltime but am constantly challenged with crystalizing honey, mostly from Canola. What would you suggest i do with it? I tried using it as winter feed but learned the hard way that it doesn't always work well because i'm told it takes too much energy for them to utilize it ; I had 4 deadouts w/ it and another 8 supers all with crystalized honey. Can you suggest an easy way for a smalltimer to extra honey after its crystalized? Now that i know how quickly it turns (within days, not weeks), i am better prepared this year (my 2nd yr). Thanks so much ;]

  14. I would have thought you would put the empty box's outside for the bees to clean up before putting them into storage. https://youtu.be/jpwmbmBbcKs?t=684
    I would like to thank you for all your wisdom , i have successfully grafted and mated my first queens with the help of your videos. The only trouble i had was any time i put the queen cell in they killed her so i had to let them emerge into a cage than put them into the mating nuc.

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