At North Forty Apiaries, we remove the honey from our hives around August 1st. Any nectar that comes in after that, mostly from Golden Rod and Fall Asters, is left for the bees to make honey for their winter food.The honey is removed by blowing the bees out of the boxes, known as honey supers, with a hand held leaf blower. The supers contain removable frames that the bees build beeswax comb in, and then fill the comb with honey. Blowing the bees out does not hurt them in any way. With the supers free of bees, they can be removed, and brought back to the house for extracting, without bringing dozens of bees with them. After the frames have been uncapped with an electrically heated knife, they are placed in a honey extractor, which is simply a centrifuge, that spins the honey out of the frames. The honey runs out through a valve in the bottom, and into a bucket. It is then strained, and poured into the bottling tank. Individual jars are bottled directly from this tank.
Once we are done extracting, we have a whole bunch of honey coated supers and equipment. How in the world do we clean them up? We don't, the bees do? Click on "play" and watch the bees cleaning everything up!