Extracting Honey, Handling Combs and Cappings

The information in this article is taken from: "Apiculture: An Introduction to Bees and Beekeeping", Dr. Mark Winston.

Extract your honey as soon as you remove it from the hives. Extracting will be simpler and you will glean more honey. At warm temperatures honey is much easier to remove from the combs. Extract honey as soon as possible after removing from the hives if it is warm. If weather and honey is cold then the combs must be warmed to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit before extracting.

If you want the bees to clean out your wet extracted honey combs, stack these above an inner board on top of the brood supers. Remove the bee escape if there is one in the board. The bees will go up into the wet combs, remove the honey and return to the brood supers. The supers of honey comb can be removed for storage after the remaining honey has been removed. Bees do not cluster in combs which are placed above an inner board with an open escape hole to the brood combs below, and the cleaned honey combs can be quickly and easily removed.

Beekeepers are warned about exposing combs from which the honey has been extracted. The practice of stacking extracted combs outdoors to allow the bees to rob out the remaining honey is a very dangerous practice and can result in the spread of bee diseases to healthy hives which may be participating in the robbing. Robbing under these circumstances can have many other detrimental side effects.

  1. Bees become very aggressive.
  2. It is virtually impossible to manage or feed colonies when robbing is underway.
  3. Bees will kill queens when fighting occurs.