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Extracting Honey without an Extractor by Katharina Davitt

It may not be cost effective to buy or rent an extractor for those that only have a few frames. This method does require plastic foundation. Even though you could go to video 2 and crush the entire wax content. We have documented in 2 small videos how it can be done without a big mess on hand. Tools need are:

  • large metal bowl with flat bottom
  • large plastic cutting board
  • metal spatula
  • plastic spatula
  • potato masher
  • 5 gallon bucket with gate
  • coarse bucket strainer

We have used butyric acid to drive the bees down from the honey supers back into their deeps. Butyric acid is commonly sold as artificial almond extract in grocery stores, you can also buy it at bee supply companies. I use Rubbermaid clear plastic storage containers to collect my frames. Each frames gets cleaned off with a bee brush, if there are still some bees sitting on it, and placed into the plastic container. I immediately cover the container with the lid, and therefore do not bring any of my dearest workers back into the house.

The kitchen is prepared by putting an old towel on the floor to catch any drippings or wax. This method is rather clean and I have not had anything on the floor. The towel is more of a precaution.

The following part can be seen in video 1.


I have a large bowl and a plastic cutting board on my counter. I scrape up the honey avoiding unfilled areas and saving that part of the build up comb for the bees. The scrapings get transferred to the bowl and wiped off the metal spatula with the plastic spatula. Try to get as much of the honey possible. The rest will go back to the bees for cleanup.


Video 2 shows how I crush the honey and wax with the potato masher, and transfer it over to the 5 gallon bucket with coarse filter on top. Everything needs to drain for at least 24 hours. Do not mix up the wax on top of you will push it through the filter. Let gravity do it's thing.


Video 3 shows our bees robbing out the fames. This only takes like 5 hours. There will also be wasps and ants coming by, but that is part of nature. Just leave it out overnight and get it back in the morning when the temps are still cold.

I later collect all the honey from the 5 gallon bucket using the gate to fill 8 ounce canning jars. This is best done over the sink, so any honey dripping will go into the sink for easy cleanup. You will not get all of the honey out and you can feed the left over back to the bees.

I also wash out the wax in the filter. I simply place the filter into a metal feeding tray from the feed store. Add hot water and let the honey disperse into the water. This honey water also goes back to the bees with added sugar for winter feeding. You are left with clean wax, which needs to dry before you can melt it down for candle making. Nothing goes to waste!

Enjoy your honey harvest,
Katharina Davitt



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