Step 1: Check the honey is ready to be extracted. Frames with honey should be held horizontally and shaken. An experienced beekeeper will know when the frames are ready, and a sign may be that there is no honey dripping from the frames when shaken.

Some beekeepers use a refractometer, and the honey is ready if it registers a max of 18 for moisture content (although some beekeepers will accept 19 or 20).  (Note: Heather honey has a higher moisture content.)

Step 2: When you have ascertained that the honey is ready for extraction, a clearer board is placed between the super and the main hive, the night before extraction was due to take place (approx 7pm).

There are different types of boards but the example on the left uses cone escapes, or a Rhombus clearer board (below right) can be used. There are many more including Porter escapes that came with your hive.

At approx 7-9am the following morning, the super may be removed off the hive.

Step 3: Cells are uncapped first using a de-capping fork.  You can use a knife and slice off the wax, but some beekeepers find that it takes away too much of the honey too.

Step 4: Once uncapped, supers should be placed inside the extractor, where the handle was turned slower at first, then faster. Some frames may need to be fastened to the side of the ‘cage’.

This type of tangenital extractor (see left) requires the frames to be turned around, and the same spinning to be done to the second side . Extractors will vary, some are electrical and do all the hard work for you and there are some where the frames do not need to be turned around,

Step 5: Once the honey is spun out, it will drip down the sides to the bottom of the extractor. A spatula can be used to remove from the sides and graduate downwards towards the valve.

Honey buckets are needed (with a double sieve to collect any wax deposits when the valve was opened).

For a more refined honey, a micromesh cloth can be used (this would be placed between the first and second sieve – see example above right).

Step 6: Leave the honey to settle for a while in the honey buckets, then you can jar.

If you are selling honey, you will need to be aware of the legal requirements and below are links to PDF’s which you may find useful:

The Honey (Scotland) Regulations 2015

BBKA Beekeeping Legislation