Harvesting Honey

Honey Bottling

For years I have harbored a notion to capture the process for processing honey. Interestingly enough, it took so many years for the method we currently use to evolve and stabilize and it feels like what we do now is a pretty reasonable and repeatable approach.

I have seen beekeepers who do everything from crush + strain to commercial operations with honey on a line, being uncapped, and moved into super large extractors.

The takeaway is that when it comes to harvesting it is easy to share that there are so many ways to go about it and there is so much to learn.

Honey pouring out of an extractor and into a filter above a bucket.

2020 provided the right mix of personal experience and confidence in our method for documentation along with the opportunity to consider the video that has been in concept for several years.

When it comes to harvesting there are several key stages that interest beekeepers and each of us have our comfort or struggles with certain activities. Perhaps getting the honey off the hive is troublesome or maybe it is more with filtering. That this the thing – it is a personal experience for each beekeeper.

This video tries humbly to show the overall approach with tips and tricks along with some recommendations. I suspect as this video is consumed that certain techniques will be challenged, agreed with, debated, and called out as wrong. Now that it is out there it will take on a life of its own.

Tools that can be used for uncapping honey frames.

One of the areas that will likely be of interest is choosing tools for uncapping and techniques to use them. We shared our impressions and hope that the view of each of them being used will give a sense. It is hard to showcase tools and not impart some biases and Sharon is often the one that does uncapping so my expertise is not as high but as they say I have more of the gift of gab so I ended up in front of the camera.

I will say that the hot knife shot is my favorite as it is as ‘delicious’ as the tool shots of the ‘magic uncapping tool’ that is often circulated on the web but never pans out in true use.


Below is the video and a full time frame of the content. I think that everyone will want something else and I hope that providing the ‘table of contents’ will help those jump straight to the spot of interest.

Table of Contents


0:00:11 to 0:01:41 – Introduction


0:01:41 to 0:10:05 – Removing bees from honey boxes.  Triangle escape board and other methods.

0:10:05 to 0:19:57 – Using a Fume Board and other tips

0:19:57 to 0:22:23 – Transporting boxes of honey as well as harvested supers

0:22:23 to 0:24:56 – Assessing frames for readiness for extracting

0:24:56 to 0:26:39 – Testing honey moisture with a refractometer

0:26:39 to 0:32:03 – Tips for setup


0:32:03 to 0:34:59 – Using a common bread knife and electric carving knife

0:34:59 to 0:36:48 – Using a cold uncapping knife

0:36:48 to 0:38:38 – Using an uncapping fork/uncapping scratcher

0:38:38 to 0:41:54 – Using a tined uncapping fork (the ‘magic’ tool)

0:41:54 to 0:44:02 – Using a needle roller

0:44:02 to 0:47:53 – Using a hot uncapping knife

0:47:53 to 0:51:02 – Using a heat gun

TIPS for Uncapping / Extraction

0:51:02 to 0:52:51 – Preview of an Uncapping Tank

0:52:51 to 0:54:48 – Avoiding frame ‘blow-outs’

0:54:48 to 0:55:48 – Frames after extraction – comparison


0:55:48 to 0:59:27 – Tour of the inside of the extractor

0:59:27 to 1:01:33 – Demonstration of honey being extracted

1:01:33 to 1:03:06 – Tip, Anchor the extractor to a base

1:03:06 to 1:05:59 – Filtering Honey Options and Tips

1:05:59 to 1:07:12 – Double Sieve filter recommendation


1:07:12 to 1:12:05 – Bottling honey – demo and suggestions

1:12:05 to 1:13:53 – Managing extracted honey frames

1:13:53 to 1:17:24 – Cleaning the extractor

1:17:24 to 1:18:11 – Store equipment so it remains clean

1:18:11 – Video End


1:18:11 to 1:20:40