Harvesting honey from combs that are sealed is important, we show what to look for before you take frames and how to find, clean and swing honey.
Harvesting Honey From Combs
Every hive is different and you would have to check each one, if some are not performing you
need to see what is going on in the brood box. Maybe the wax combs are old or the queen bee is just lazy.
A Bee Hive
A beehive brood box and super.
Sealed wax combs
Boxes are repaired and painted with waxol or the nearest wax product. To protect the wooden
box to last longer in the weather and elements.
This is what you are looking for, when starting to look at your hives to see if there is sealed
honey in the combs. (above picture).
One is only looking in the supers.
Storage food for bees
Leaving the brood box for the queen to lay eggs and for food storage for the bees.
That’s if you have checked recently that the frames in the brood box are in good order.
Below, view of the top of the frames.
A view of the frames with the combs fully build up between frames, this is when the lids are removed.
This wax build up is normally only on the wooden frames.
Harvesting honey from combs.
Collect the sealed honey combs and place them in you vehicle and cover them up so that the
other bees don’t come and rob the honey.
This would make it a nightmare to drive to the swinger room with all the bees on the supers.
Your aim is to leave the bees behind by their hives.
A light smoking was given for bees to calm down. Too much smoke is not recommended.
This is a brood box with 3 supers on as it’s a large swarm. On removal of a super or the
sealed honey wax comb frame, its replaced with empty spun out wax combs in the super.
Helping the bees with the wax combs
The bees will continue repairing and filling them with food and to make honey. It is a big help
for the bees as it takes a lot of food and wax to make a wax comb. So we are saving them
the work plus its a faster turn around for more honey.
How to check for sealed honey combs
The Beekeeper opening the top of the hive by removing its rain protective lid and inner lid to
view the frames inside the supers.
In hand is a smoker that is made to calm the bees. Its a good idea to not approach the hive from
the front as the guard bees will come out and start to protect the hive .
Clothing to wear
Also to wear a sealed bee suite and gloves for protection of bee stings.
Believe me if there’s a hole in any clothing or a gap by the shoes, they will find it and
enter the hole and sting you.
Inspecting Super Box for sealed combs
This is a view of a swarm and inside of the brood box. Replacement frames are ready for
swapping around for full sealed honey wax combs.
We use the super boxes for convenience of carrying all the frames and easier to stock them
on the bukkie. Note the propolis that can be scraped of the top of the frames.
Using a yellow tool to lift the frames out of the box. The bees seal these frames tightly on the
sides of the boxes with propolis, It’s very tough to get this unsealed.
This is a frame with a wax sealed comb, that you are looking for when you want to rob for honey.
You need to only swing this as the bee has turned the nectar into honey and sealed it for storage.
If you swing combs that are not sealed then its only nectar, that will turn sour like vinegar when kept.
New combs partly sealed. You can tell that these are newly build combs as they are thin and clear.
They make it difficult to swing as they will break easily and then there is wax pieces in the swinger.
Below is a well sealed wax comb, a lovely older and thicker wax comb. Notice the wax sealing on the comb.
The wax comb is also darker, which tells you it’s not a new comb.
The wax comb gets thicker in time.
This is the honey swinger in the swinging room with a few spare supers stored.
They were placed in plastic as they had combs in the frames. They were previously swung out.
This helps prevent the combs from ants or wax moth eating the wax combs.
This is done after they were in the freezer. To kill any infestation.
Swinging Honey Method.
A honey swinger and uncapped waxed frames placed inside for swing out honey.
Frames scraped of the sealed capped wax, are placed in the swinger in this manner. It takes 30 frames.
Then the motor is started slowly and increased for the honey to be swung out.
A loaded Honey swinger with frames with unsealed combs with honey. Spinning for maybe
30 minutes until no more honey is swung out.
Harvesting Honey From Combs
See how it runs…..It’s wonderful to see this golden honey just running, liquid gold.
The honey is sieved then it drips into a bucket.
Another sieve replaced the last one. As you have to clean out the wax pieces that get flung
off while the swinger is spinning the honey from the combs.
The valve or tap on the swinger is opened and then the honey that has come out of the swung
frames pours out. Its sieved to obtain any particles of wax, (we have various strainers).
This picture is when the frames are almost finished being spun as less honey is running out of the swinger.
Filling buckets held underneath. It’s amazing to see this delicious golden honey. Tastes very good to.
Prepping to bottle
Normally if not sold in bulk we leave the bucket of honey to stand overnight. So that the foam
or tiny wax particles you see in the bucket, rises to the top of the bucket. The tiny bits that
went through the sieve. Making it easier to tap off from the bottom of the bucket into glass bottles.
Some pure organic bottled honey.
Below is the new label for The Beekeeper in South Africa.