One of the most common questions I am asked concerns the process of extracting raw honey from our hives. The pictures below hopefully help explain the natural and sympathetic methods used.
We start in the apiary with the hives. The box at the bottom is called the ‘Brood Box’, where the queen lives and lays her eggs. This is the only permanent part of the hive. On top of this box are the ‘Supers’; the stronger and larger the colony the more Supers we add. They are shallow boxes, where the worker bees store the honey and are the boxes which we remove and extract the honey from.
The far left picture shows the pile of Supers ready for extraction. The second picture is of the view looking down onto the top of a Super. You can see the frames in position, with one frame laying on top. It is fully ‘capped’, with wax covering over the honey filled cells, indicating that the honey is ripe.
The 3 pictures above show the extraction process. The first stage in extracting the honey from the frame is to remove the wax capping. The first picture is a little misleading as, what looks like a drum is actually a spinning brush. It is used to brush off the wax cappings from the frame, which you can see held under the brush.
The second picture shows the uncapped frame (you can see the honey glistening) being inserted into the extractor: a motor driven centrifugal spinner. The frames sit like the spokes in a wheel. As the wheel spins, the honey simply flies out. The third picture shows the honey draining from the bottom of the extractor into a food grade container.
The honey is now stored until needed. It will then be warmed gently to turn it liquid (as all honey will set in store), before jarring up.
That really is it.
None of the goodness is removed and nothing done to damage the complex structure or subtle make-up of the honey. Raw honey is a good description and you can find out more about how to buy it here.