Honey Processing

In a beekeeper's hives the bees store honey in the combs of an upper honey box that is removed when it is full. Bees may be cleared from combs in the honey box by various methods: brushing and shaking bees off combs, using a bee-escape board through which bees can leave the honey box but not return, using a bee repellent, or blowing the bees out of the boxes with a stream of air.

Most honey is separated from the wax comb and processed for sale in containers, without any comb or wax. Processing the honey is likely to consist of the following stages: (1) clearing bees from the combs to be harvested, which are then taken to the honey house; (2) warming the combs to 32 to 35°C; (3) uncapping the combs and dealing with the cappings; (4) extracting the honey from the combs in a centrifuge; (5) clarifying the honey by passing it through a strainer and/or baffle tank; (6) flash heating and pressure filtering (in large processing plants in some countries); (7) if desired, initiating controlled granulation, on a large or small scale.

Honey is hygroscopic, and it should not be exposed to air with a relative humidity above 60%, or it may absorb water. (Some operators reduce the water content of honey slightly during stage 2 of processing or between stages 5 and 7.)

The processing of honey for sale either liquid or granulated is obviated if honey combs themselves are sold. Traditionally, "sections" were miniature wooden frames fitted with a very thin wax comb foundation on which the bees built cells, filled them with honey and—the beekeeper hoped—completely sealed them; the weight of honey in each section sold was usually 0.5 kg or 1 lb. However, perfectly sealed sections are difficult to produce, and in the 1900s several easier ways were devised to prepare honey in the comb for sale.

One alternative is cut-comb honey. To produce it the beekeeper inserts large frames fitted with extra-thin unwired wax foundation in the hive, harvesting them when full of honey (unlike sections, they need not be entirely capped). Each frame is placed on a flat surface and the comb cut out of its frame with a heated knife. Fully capped areas of it are cut into portions for sale, and honey is allowed to drain from the cut edges. Each piece is packaged in a heat-sealed box or a sheet of transparent plastic.

An easier alternative is to sell a jar containing a piece of honey comb and filled up with liquid honey; this is referred to as chunk honey.

Bee Keeping

Bee Keeping

Make money with honey How to be a Beekeeper. Beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby or you can turn it into a lucrative business. The choice is yours. You need to know some basics to help you get started. The equipment needed to be a beekeeper. Where can you find the equipment you need? The best location for the hives. You can't just put bees in any spot. What needs to be considered when picking the location for your bees?

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment