Extracting Honey : Fall 2013

In the last post I mentioned that I pulled about 35 boxes of honey this year.  Happily I was able to pull those on nice warm days.  The moment I finished, the rain pulled in.  But I was inside the nice, warm 85F (30C) extraction room.  A side note: I extracted about 2 weeks ago, but I didn’t have time to post at that time…so, I’m playing catch-up with the posts.

I mark my boxes with pieces of tape as I bring them in.

Boxes of Honey Waiting For Extraction, Brookfield Farm Bees and Honey, Maple Falls Washington

Waiting To Be Extracted








No tape means the honey came from the “down river”, agricultural area, hives.  Blue tape means they came from the “up river”, forestry area, hives.

I always extract the up-river honey first.  It’s a lighter honey that included fireweed, thistle, and big leaf maple.  The down-river honey is darker with raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, brassicas, and other agricultural crops.


As you can see by the above image, my extraction room is small: 8 feet by 8 feet.  It works for me, and it is easy to keep warm.

At this time I use a decapping tub and a hot knife.  But I don’t use them in the normal way.

It hurts my wrists to hold up a frame of honey and cut down towards the tub.

So I clamp two clean pieces of wood to either side of the tub, leaving just enough space to fit a honey frame. Then I place the frame of honey on the over the opening.

A frame of honey ready to be uncapped.

Before Uncapping








Using another clean piece of wood to guide the tip of the decapping knife, I use both hands to draw the knife along the frame.  Rather like a two-handed plane.  This works well for me.  The honey is uncapped and my wrists don’t hurt.

An uncapped frame of honey

After uncapping








I have a 20 frame Maxant Extractor.  The “action” shots:

Honey Extractor (centrifuge) loaded with frames of honey

Loaded and Ready to Spin








Honey frames spin in a honey extractor

Extractor Spinning (don’t open spinning extractors, it’s dangerous – but I wanted the shot)








Honey pours from Brookfield Farm's extractor

Let The Honey Flow









It is a good size for my operation and for the size of my extraction room.

It usually takes about fifteen minutes for the honey to be fully extracted.  Now, anyone who knows me might think:  “Bean is sitting still for 15 minutes?!!!”.   But it does give me a moment to catch up on world news.

Small but serviceable Honey Extraction Room

Waiting On the Extractor









The newspaper in the shot is  the Guardian Weekly.  Which, if you’ve not read it is a brilliant newspaper that combines the Guardian, the Washington Post and Le Monde.


It took me four days to uncap and extract this year’s honey.  Each 20-frame load took nearly 2 hours to prepare, and fifteen minutes to extract.  Which is an inspiration to search for a nice, small, decapping machine.  So if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.


It started raining when I started extracting, over 2 weeks ago.  Since then we’ve had 2 days of nice weather.  During that time I ran around to all the hives to start to prepare them for winter (and grumbled about the weather). More on that in the next post – the preparation, not the grumbling.






About brookfieldfarmhoney

Brookfield Farm, a small off-grid apiary in Maple Falls, WA focuses on the beauty and bounties of Washington’s wilderness. I sell honey from our bees, whose naturally-treated, antibiotic-free hives are home to bees who fly Washington’s mountains and farmlands. Herbal salves and lip balms from Brookfield beeswax. Delicately infused honeys and vinegars. Varietal honeys from independent Washington beekeepers. Karen Edmundson Bean: beekeeper, photographer. Her love of the wilderness inspires her to discover new ways of bringing the wonders of nature to others. Brookfield Farm : the tastes, textures, sounds, and images of nature.
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