How Honey is collected: 7 ways
How honey is collected. A person who looks after bees is called a beekeeper. Beekeepers usually manage as many as 1,000 hives.
Beekeepers process the honey and may deliver it to a honey packing company. The beekeeper shown here collects and packs his own honey.
Tools and equipment
Beekeepers use many different tools to do their work. One of the most important is the hive. Each hive is a specially made wooden box with several compartments. Beekeepers need to wear protective clothing to they do not get stung by the bees. A smoker is needed to remove the honey. A forklift and truck are used to transport hives to bee sites and drums of honey to the honey packing company.
The beekeeper uses machines such as an uncapping machine, an extractor, a spinner and a settling tank to process the honey.
Preparing to collect the honey
The beekeeper visits one of the sites where he keeps beehives. First he lights the smoker. The smoker is a can with a bellows attached. It burns fuel such as bark, twigs or pine needles. The beekeeper uses the bellows to pump air over the smoldering fuel to make a cool smoke. The smoke confuses the bees defense signals and they become calm. This allows the beekeeper to remove the frames of honey from the hive more easily.
Then the beekeeper puts on protective clothing: overalls, long gloves, and a bee hat with a veil. Despite this clothing, beekeepers can still be stung while collecting honey.
Beekeepers wear special clothing to protect them from bee strings.
Removing the frames
The beekeeper places the smoker al the hive entrance to calm the bees. Then he lifts the lid from the hive. The hive is made from several boxes celled honey supers stacked on top of each other The bees are still restless so he uses the smoker again, her pulls out a frame. Each frame is a wooden rectangle with thin wires strung across. Each super contains several frames. The bees build their honeycomb inside the frame then fill it with honey. Then they cap the honey-filled cells with beeswax.
The beekeeper gently taps the frame to remove the bees. He removes frames full of honey and replaces them with empty frames for the bees to build more honeycombs and fill it with honey. Some beekeepers find it quicker to blow off the bees with a garden blower and remove the whole honey super.
Uncapping the honey
The beekeeper transports the frames to his small factory, nearby. Each all frame weighs about 5 to 7 pounds (2 to 3 kilograms). The beeswax must be removed to get the honey from the honeycomb inside. Some beekeepers use a hot knife to cut the wax from both sides of the frame. This beekeeper puts the Barnes into an uncapping machine. Very sharp mechanical knives move backwards and forwards cutting of the wax. The wax caps can be melted down and sold as beeswax. Beeswax is used to make candles, furniture polish and lipstick.
Extracting the honey
The beekeeper slides the uncapped frames into an extractor. An extractor looks like a large round tank with wire slots to hold the frames. The frames are spun around inside the tank. Extractors can hold from 24 to 120 frames, depending on their size. Inside the tank, the extractor spins so fast that the honey is forced out of the honeycomb. The honey runs down the sides of the extractor, and then flows into a trough at the bottom.
Spinning and settling the honey
Honey is pumped into a spinner to remove any remaining pieces of wax, honeycomb and crystallized honey. The liquid honey runs into a settling tank. Most beekeepers then fill large steel drums with honey for transport to a honey packer. This beekeeper packs his own honey.
Bottling and labeling the honey
The beekeeper places a label on each bottle with a small labeling machine. The bottle is then placed under an air-driven bottling machine that fills the bottle with honey. The lids are screwed on by hand.