How to Use a Honey Extractor to Harvest Honey: Step-by-Step Guide

For beekeepers, harvesting honey is one of the most satisfying experiences. However, the process can be time-consuming and laborious, especially when done manually. This is where a honey extractor comes in handy. With this piece of equipment, beekeepers can extract large quantities of honey efficiently and with ease.

This step-by-step guide will provide you with all the information you need to know on how to use a honey extractor to harvest honey.

Key Takeaways

  • Using a honey extractor can make the honey harvesting process more efficient.
  • There are different types of honey extractors to choose from based on your beekeeping needs and preferences.
  • Proper preparation, operation, and maintenance of the honey extractor are crucial for a successful extraction process.
  • Filtering and storing the harvested honey correctly is important for maintaining its quality.

Understanding Honey Extraction Process

Harvesting honey is a delicate process that requires specialized equipment and techniques. Understanding the honey extraction process is essential for beekeepers who want to collect honey without damaging their bee colonies or the honeycomb.

There are several honey harvesting techniques, including the use of honey extractors. A honey extractor is a device that uses centrifugal force to remove honey from honeycomb without damaging the comb. It is an essential tool for beekeepers who want to collect large quantities of honey easily and efficiently.

Proper technique and equipment are crucial for successful honey extraction. When preparing to extract honey, beekeepers should ensure that the combs they select are fully capped with wax. This indicates that the honey is ripe and ready for extraction.

Types of Honey Extractors

There are various types of honey extractors available, ranging from manual to electric models. Manual honey extractors require more physical effort and can be slower than electric models, but they are less expensive. Electric honey extractors are faster and easier to use, but they are more expensive than manual models.

Honey extractors also come in different sizes, depending on the size of the beekeeping operation. Small-scale beekeepers typically use two-frame extractors, while larger-scale beekeepers use four to six-frame extractors.

Benefits of Honey Extraction

Using a honey extractor provides several benefits for beekeepers. It allows them to extract honey efficiently, without damaging the honeycomb or bees. It also ensures that the purity and quality of the honey are maintained, as the honey is not exposed to additional heat or pressure during the extraction process.

Extracting honey using a honey extractor also makes it easier to filter and store the honey for later use. It reduces the amount of labor involved in the harvesting process and helps beekeepers to collect larger quantities of honey in less time.

Choosing the Right Honey Extractor

Choosing the right honey extractor can make all the difference in the efficiency and effectiveness of your honey extraction process. There are several factors to consider when selecting a honey extractor, including:

TypeThere are two main types of honey extractors: tangential and radial. Tangential extractors extract honey from one side of the frame at a time, while radial extractors spin the frames horizontally, extracting honey from both sides at once.
SizeThe size of the honey extractor will depend on the number of hives you have and the amount of honey you plan to extract. It is essential to choose a honey extractor that is the right size for your beekeeping needs.
MaterialHoney extractors are made from different materials, including stainless steel and plastic. Stainless steel honey extractors are more durable and long-lasting than plastic.
PriceHoney extractors vary in price, and it is essential to choose one that fits your budget while also meeting your beekeeping needs.

Once you have considered these factors, you can select the honey extractor that is right for you and your beekeeping operation.

Bestseller No. 1
VIVO Honey Extractor 8 Frame (only 4 Deep Frames) Stainless Steel SS Honeycomb Manual Crank Spinner BEE-V004B
  • Steel Drum – The stainless steel drum on this two-frame honey extractor is 23.75″ tall and 18.5″ in diameter, perfect for extracting a lot of honey at one time.
  • Elevated – The distance from the honey gate to the floor measures 15.25″, helping keep the extractor out of the extracted honey. The gate opening rests a mere 1/2″ above the bottom of the barrel, so you can easily get most of the honey out of the extractor without having to tip it forward.
  • Frames – You can choose to hold up to 8 shallow and medium frames or up to 4 deep frames to extract your honey.
Bestseller No. 2
VIVO Electric Honey Extractor 8 Frame Rack(only 4 Deep Frames), Stainless Steel, Powered Honeycomb Drum Spinner BEE-V004E
  • VIVO Electric Honey Extractor – With this product’s quiet 120V AC Motor, extracting honey has never been easier! The honey gate is elevated 17.2” from the floor to help keep the drum clear of extracted honey and allow room for a 5-gallon bucket underneath the gate.
  • Steel Drum – The stainless steel drum on this 4-frame honey extractor is 25.5″ tall and 18.5″ in diameter, perfect for extracting a lot of honey at one time. The gate opening rests a mere 0.5” above the bottom of the barrel, so you can easily get most of the honey out of the extractor without having to tip it forward.
  • Frames – This honey extractor fits shallow, medium, and deep frames and also keeps the metal gears enclosed to keep them clean of honey. You can choose to hold up to 8 small and medium frames or up to 4 large frames to extract your honey.
Bestseller No. 3
GOODLAND BEE SUPPLY Hardin Professional 2 Frame Manual Honey Extractor, Metallic
  • 16 gauge stainless steel tank
  • Steel gear construction with sealed bearings
  • Clear Plexiglas top for easy viewing

Preparing the Honey Extractor

Before using the honey extractor, it is essential to prepare it properly to ensure a smooth extraction process. By cleaning and assembling the honey extractor correctly, one can prevent contamination and damage to the equipment. Follow these steps to prepare the honey extractor:

  1. Clean the honey extractor: Remove any debris or honey residue from the extractor using a soft-bristled brush or cloth. Use warm water and a mild detergent to clean the extractor thoroughly. Rinse the extractor with clean water and dry it with a towel.
  2. Sanitize the honey extractor: Use a food-grade sanitizer to sanitize the honey extractor. Prepare the sanitizer solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it to the extractor’s interior surfaces. Rinse the extractor with clean water and dry it with a towel.
  3. Assemble the honey extractor: Depending on the type of honey extractor, it may come pre-assembled or require assembly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper assembly of the honey extractor. Check all parts and connections to ensure they are secure and in good working condition.
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By following these steps, one can ensure that the honey extractor is clean, sanitized, and assembled correctly, ready for the next step of extracting honey.

Harvesting Honeycomb

Once you have identified the frames with capped honey, remove them from the hive and bring them to your honey extracting area. It is important to avoid shaking or tilting the frames to prevent damaging the comb and releasing any unripe honey.

Use a hot knife or uncapping fork to remove the wax caps from the cells to expose the honey. Start from the top of the frame and work your way down, ensuring that all the cells are uncapped for maximum honey extraction.

After uncapping the cells, place the frames into the honey extractor. Ensure that the frames are spaced evenly and that the extractor is balanced to prevent any shaking or wobbling during the extraction process.

Pro tip:

For optimal results, it is recommended to extract honey from honeycomb within 24 hours of uncapping to prevent the honey from fermenting or drying out.

Once the frames are securely in the extractor, slowly start turning the crank in one direction for a few minutes before reversing direction. This enables the honey to be released from the cells on both sides of the frame, and the wax capping debris to be pulled towards the edges of the extractor.

Continue to turn the crank until honey no longer flows from the frames. This typically takes around 5-10 minutes, depending on the number of frames and the extractor’s size. Ensure to monitor the process to prevent over-extraction and damage to the honeycomb.

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Once the honey has been extracted from the frames, remove the frames from the extractor and place them back into the hive for the bees to clean and reuse. It is important to ensure the frames are thoroughly cleaned before reuse to prevent the spread of diseases.

Operating the Honey Extractor

After the frames have been loaded into the honey extractor, the next step is to begin the extraction process. The following steps will guide you through operating the honey extractor:

  1. Ensure that the extractor is level and stable before turning it on.
  2. Start the honey extractor at a slow speed to prevent the honey from splattering out of the frames.
  3. Gradually increase the speed until the honey starts to flow out of the frames.
  4. Reverse the direction of the extractor’s rotation after a few minutes to extract honey from the other side of the frames.
  5. Monitor the extraction process, checking the honey level in the collection container, and adjust the speed as necessary.
  6. Stop the honey extractor once the honey has been extracted from all the frames.

It is important to remember not to over-extract the honey, as this can damage the honeycomb and make it more difficult for the bees to fill it in the future. To prevent this, it is recommended to extract the honey from each side of the frames separately.

Once the extraction process is complete, the honey extractor should be turned off and unplugged before proceeding to the next steps of filtering and collecting the honey.

BeeCastle Honey Extractor Separator Electric Kit 4 Frame Stainless Steel Honeycomb Spinner Extractor, Beekeeping Extraction Equipment Electirc Honey Extractor
  • Electric Honey Extractor-There is a speed control center, you can freely choose the rotation speed you want. The electric honey spinner will save you a lot of time and make honey extraction more efficient.
  • Stainless Steel Drum- The drum of the honey extractor is made of high-quality stainless steel, which is resistant to rust and wear. The food-grade stainless steel is also more secure to use.
  • Height Adjustable- The height of our honey extractor can be adjusted by yourself according to your needs. The lowest height of the honey gate from the ground is 11.81″.

Filtering and Collecting Honey

After operating the honey extractor, the next step in the honey extraction process is filtering and collecting the honey. Filtering honey removes impurities such as beeswax and other debris, ensuring that the honey is clean and ready for consumption.

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To filter honey, you will need a strainer or cheesecloth. Place the strainer over a container and pour the honey from the honey extractor through the strainer. The strainer will catch any impurities and allow the honey to pass through.

Once the honey has been filtered, it is ready to be collected in storage containers. Use a honey gate or a ladle to transfer the honey from the strainer to the containers. It is important to handle the honey carefully to prevent contamination and ensure it remains fresh.

Store the honey in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Honey has a long shelf life, but it can crystallize over time. To prevent crystallization, store the honey at room temperature and avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures.

Remember to clean the honey extractor after each use to maintain its longevity and efficiency.

Cleaning and Maintaining the Honey Extractor

As with any equipment, it is important to clean and maintain your honey extractor to ensure it is in good working condition for future use. Proper care will also prevent contamination of your honey and maintain its quality.

After each use, disassemble the honey extractor and clean all parts thoroughly with warm water and a mild soap. Pay particular attention to the drum and frames, which can accumulate honey residue and wax. Use a brush or sponge to remove any leftover debris.

Once cleaned, rinse all parts with water and dry them with a clean cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasives that can damage the extractor’s metal surface.

Regularly inspect the honey extractor for any signs of wear and tear, and replace any damaged or worn-out parts immediately. Also, store the extractor in a cool and dry place to prevent rust or decay.

By following these cleaning and maintenance guidelines, your honey extractor will serve you for many seasons to come, providing fresh and delicious honey for you and your family to enjoy.

How to Use a Honey Extractor to Harvest Honey – Conclusion

In conclusion, using a honey extractor is an essential tool for any beekeeper looking to harvest honey efficiently. The honey extraction process can be complex, but with the right equipment and proper technique, it can be a rewarding experience.

This guide has provided a step-by-step approach for using a honey extractor to extract honey from honeycomb. It has also discussed the importance of choosing the right honey extractor, preparing it, extracting the honey, and maintaining the equipment.

By following the instructions provided in this guide, beekeepers can ensure that they harvest honey effectively and that it remains fresh and uncontaminated. Using a honey extractor is an investment that can lead to greater yields and higher-quality honey.


Q: How do I use a honey extractor to harvest honey?

A: Using a honey extractor to harvest honey involves several steps. First, prepare the honey extractor by cleaning and assembling it properly. Then, remove capped frames of honeycomb from the beehive and place them in the extractor. Operate the extractor to spin the frames, causing the honey to be extracted and collected in the bottom of the extractor. Finally, filter and collect the honey for storage.

Q: What is the honey extraction process?

A: The honey extraction process refers to the methods and techniques used to harvest honey from honeycomb. It involves removing capped frames of honeycomb from the beehive, extracting the honey from the frames using a honey extractor, and filtering and collecting the honey for storage.

Q: How do I choose the right honey extractor?

A: When choosing a honey extractor, consider factors such as the type of honey extractor (manual or electric), capacity, and construction material. Decide whether you prefer a tangential or radial honey extractor based on your beekeeping needs. Also, consider the ease of maintenance and any additional features that may be beneficial to you.

Q: How do I prepare the honey extractor?

A: To prepare the honey extractor, start by cleaning and sanitizing all its parts. Ensure that the extractor is assembled correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Inspect the extractor for any damage or worn parts, and make the necessary repairs or replacements if needed.

Q: How do I harvest honeycomb using a honey extractor?

A: Harvesting honeycomb using a honey extractor involves selecting frames with capped honey, uncapping the wax caps from the frames, and placing the frames into the honey extractor. The extractor then spins the frames, causing the honey to be released from the comb and collected in the bottom of the extractor.

Q: How do I operate the honey extractor?

A: Operating a honey extractor requires loading the frames into the extractor’s basket, ensuring they are balanced and secure. Adjust the speed and direction of rotation according to the extractor’s instructions. Monitor the extraction process closely to ensure efficient honey extraction without damaging the frames or the honeycomb.

Q: How do I filter and collect the honey?

A: After extracting honey using the honey extractor, filter it to remove impurities such as wax and bee parts. Use a fine mesh or cheesecloth to strain the honey. Collect the filtered honey in clean, food-grade containers suitable for long-term storage. Store the collected honey in a cool and dry place to maintain its quality.

Q: How do I clean and maintain the honey extractor?

A: Cleaning and maintaining the honey extractor is essential for its longevity and efficient operation. After each use, clean the extractor thoroughly, removing any honey residues, wax, or debris. Inspect the extractor for any worn-out or damaged parts and replace them as necessary. Store the honey extractor in a dry and protected area to prevent rust or other damage.

Beekeeping Disclaimer:

Beekeeping, like any agricultural activity, involves inherent risks. It is important to understand these risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate them.

Potential risks associated with beekeeping include:

  1. Bee stings: Honeybees are generally not aggressive but can become defensive if they feel threatened or their hive is disturbed. Bee stings can cause allergic reactions or even anaphylaxis in some individuals, which can be life-threatening. It is important to wear protective clothing and follow best practices when handling bees to minimize the risk of stings.
  2. Diseases and pests: Bees can be vulnerable to various diseases and pests, including mites, viruses, and bacterial infections. These can have significant impacts on bee colonies, leading to reduced honey production or even colony collapse. It is important to monitor hives regularly and take appropriate measures to prevent and treat diseases and pests.
  3. Weather conditions: Extreme weather conditions, such as drought or cold temperatures, can affect the health and productivity of bee colonies. It is important to ensure that hives are appropriately sheltered and provided with adequate food and water.
  4. Environmental hazards: Bees can be affected by environmental hazards such as pesticide exposure, pollution, and habitat loss. It is important to be aware of these hazards and take appropriate measures to protect bee colonies and promote healthy environments for bees.
  5. Legal requirements: Beekeeping may be subject to local, state, or national regulations, such as registration or inspection requirements. It is important to be aware of these requirements and comply with them.

While beekeeping can be a rewarding and enjoyable activity, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and take appropriate measures to mitigate them. By following best practices and staying informed about the latest developments in beekeeping, beekeepers can help ensure the health and productivity of their hives and contribute to the well-being of bee populations worldwide.

Last update on 2023-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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