How to Extract Honey

So, you have honey in your hives. How do you get it out?

Your Supers vs Their Supers

bee well honey farmOnce your bees have filled up their hive body, and 8-9 frames in their first super, you can add a queen excluder, and the first of your honey supers.

You will let them fill this super 8-9 frames full as well before adding more.


Checking the Frames

Your Supers vs Their SupersAt the end of the last major nectar flow, you'll check each frame for capped honey. You want to make sure the majority (80& -90%) of the frame is capped.

Storing Frames

Bee Well Honey FarmIf you can't extract immediately, you'll have to freeze your frames to prevent hive beetles and wax moths from moving in.



bee well honey farmWhen you are ready to start extracting, you'll need to uncap the comb of each frame.

There are a variety of tools used to do this. Just pick whichever one you prefer.

Hot/Cold Knife

bee well honey farmYou can use a cold or hot knife to extract your honey. The hot knife is usually a quicker method.

The hot knife method is preferred for people who also want to collect wax for candle making or other wax-related products.


Capping Scratcher

bee well honey farmThe capping scratcher splits open the cap on each cell.

This method leaves minimal capping for wax melting.

Using an Extractor

bee well honey farmUsing an extractor is the easiest method of extracting.

It leaves the foundation and drawn comb in tact so it can be reused.

This is helpful for the bees later as they won't have to rebuild the comb from scratch.


Crush and Strain

bee well honey farmThis method is good for those who don't have access to an extractor.

You simply cut out the comb and crush in a bucket. The bucket should have holes drilled in it or have a strainer bag. Let the honey drain.

This method destroys the comb. It can't be reused.

Comb Honey

bee well honey farmThis method is simply cutting the comb out of the frame.

Some will put the comb in a jar with honey extracted via a different method. Others will package the comb in a container by itself.

Extracting With an Extractor

bee well honey farmTo start the extracting process, make sure you have your frames and extracting tools ready.

You'll begin by uncapping each frame.

bee well honey farmPlace the frames in an extractor with a bucket at the honey gate.

Spin for a while to make sure you get all of the honey out of each frame.

Remove the frames from the extractor and return them to their super for re-use.bee well honey farm

Straining Honey

bee well honey farmOnce you have extracted your honey, you'll want to strain it to remove any dead bees and clumps of wax.


bee well honey farmAfter straining your honey, you can bottle it for use or sale!

If you're selling honey, it will need to be properly labeled.

Labeling Laws

  • Your label must comply with the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA).
  • Labels should be submitted to SCDA for review prior to printing to ensure compliance with the FPLA.
  • Net weight must be in ounces and grams and must be the proper font size.
  • Address must be added to the label to include City, State, and Zip. A Street address is required if the business name is not in a local phone listing.

Click here for more information from the SCDA.