Beekeeping 101: Collecting Honey

Jul 20, 2017
Honey in Jar


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If you got your bees, you’ve now got honey: The last step is learning to harvest it. Read this Old Farmer’s Almanac beginner’s guide to collecting honey from your bees. 

The only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey… . And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it.” –Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) by A. A. Milne

Honey is indeed delicious—and can be dangerous to get!

  • Be sure you have the proper clothing and equipment before handling bees.
  • Go out with an expert a few times to get the hang of collecting honey.
  • Remember: NEVER handle bees if there is the potential of you having an allergic reaction.

Here are some key things to keep in mind when collecting the honey

Method for Collecting Honey

Gentle, calm movements—and not big, exaggerated ones—will keep the bees calm and allow you to painlessly and easily maneuver the supers (where the honey is located). Be sure that you are not wearing any perfumes, colognes, aftershaves, etc., as this will entice curious bees to fly toward you, making it harder to work.

Harvesting consists of these major steps:

  1. Use smoke sparingly, as it will affect the flavor of the honey. Gently remove bees from supers by brushing them.
  2. Remove the supers.
  3. Remove honey from the comb (extractors and centrifuges can be purchased to make this easier). To do this, uncap the wax on the combs.
  4. Strain the honey through cheesecloth to remove excess wax.
  5. Keep the honey in a settling tank for 2 to 3 days to allow air bubbles to pop and foreign objects to rise to the top (making it easier to remove them).
  6. Skim off the foam.
  7. Different processes will determine the temperatures at which honey can be kept. Once you know, you can store honey in jars and other containers

Next, learn about common bee diseases and how to prevent them.

About This Blog

Would you like to raise honeybees in your backyard? Here is our free Beekeeping 101 series—a beginner’s guide in 7 chapters. We’ll talk about how to get started raising bees, the clothing and equipment needed, building a hive, collecting honey, and common bee diseases. After this "taste" of honeymaking, you can decide if you're ready to enter the world of beekeeping!

Reader Comments

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This is very useful.

Will the hives attract pests

Will the hives attract pests (such as vermin, roaches or aggressive bees like wasps or hornets)?

Hi, Kelly: Beehives can be

Hi, Kelly: Beehives can be targets for bears, raccoons, skunks, mice (fall warmth), yellow jackets, and any number of other critters. That being said, attacking or inhabiting a beehive is usually not a pleasant experience for them, so it is not something that is constantly happening. So, beehives don't necessarily "attract" pests, but can indeed be targets of opportunity. Thanks for asking!

This whole guide has been a

This whole guide has been a great read.
Beekeeping is an amazing hobby more people should get started with it :) Relaxing and rewarding. By the way I started my journey with beekeeping with this great online guide because I was a total newbie. It's great for beginners and I learned so much in just 3 days. So I thought I'd share! Here's the link for you:
harbinger. pw/wordpress/beginner-beekeeping/ (remove space after dot, dumb comment system:)

Not much detail but a good

Not much detail but a good read.


+ a 4-season guide to raising chickens!

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