Let us first define what honey is: bees store nectar and pollen inside cells that will provide them with nourishment during the winter months, where finding it in flowers is more complicated. Honey then is nothing more than a mix of these substances processed by bees so that it will maintain for a long time.
Honey extraction, then, is the action performed by the beekeeper of extracting this substance from the bees’ combs.
To carry out this operation in the best way, from extracting the honey from the combs, to making it available to the consumer, various steps have to be carried out correctly:
- use of the blower: this step is used to drive the bees away from the hive, the blower emits a light blow that moves them away for a while ;
- uncapping: this operation is done by the beekeeper and consists of removing the layer of wax created by the bees to protect the honey inside the cells, this way the honey can be extracted ;
- centrifugation: in this phase is introduced the use of the extractor which is a steel machine with a rotary movement that extracts honey from the combs emptying them: the combs in fact are inserted in this machinery and are emptied thanks to the centrifugal force that makes them available for the next season ;
- filtration: at this stage the honey that has been extracted comes out through a tap attached to the outside of the extractor and is placed back into a bucket, where it is then filtered and cleaned of any residue or impurity ;
- decanting: this is the final operation, the honey is left to rest for two weeks in containers where a surface layer created by remaining impurities and foam is formed (in the skimming stage this “coating” is removed and the honey is ready)
But how much honey can be taken out at a time?
Obviously not all of it because this would not allow the bees to feed during the winter months. For this reason, the beekeeper takes 1/3 of the total amount of honey in the combs and understands that the honey is ready to be extracted since the cells are operculated.