Extracting honey

Extracting Honey

Extracting honey is a potentially sticky business; if it spills, clean it up immediately or it may attract insects, get trodden all over the place and dirty/damage your home. It’s always best to extract honey just after it’s been taken off the hive – it will be warm and have lower viscosity than if cold. If the honey has crystallised/set, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EXTRACT IT – you will not be successful and may damage the equipment. If the honey is cold, but liquid in the comb, put in a warm place for some days until the combs are up to hive temperature. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO EXTRACT COLD HONEY.

PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTION THOROUGHLY – If you damage the equipment, you will be asked to pay for repairs. If you return it sticky/dirty, you may be charged for additional cleaning. In either case, you may be asked to make other arrangements to extract your honey in future.

Pre-extraction – HYGIENE, checks and setup

  1. Ensure that the extractor is unplugged, clean and free of dust. If sticky, wipe  with a clean cloth and hot water. DO NOT USE washing up liquid, disinfectant, bleach, steriliser, anti-bacterial product (e.g. Milton), solvents, etc. These products may damage the extractor and contaminate honey.
  2. Ensure the drain tap is secure and will open/close; start with it in the closed position.
  3. Check that the spindle is located in the hole at the bottom of the drum and that the cage assembly rotates freely; the two motor-bar retaining nuts must be tightened on the washers so the bar is firm, but not so tight they distort/damage the drum.
  4. Check the power switch is off and the speed control is vertical (neutral)

Extracting – SAFETY: You must remain with the extractor whenever it is switched on

  1. Uncap both sides of each frame of honey
  2. Place each frame in the cage, and ensure the lugs are securely located in the retaining loops at the bottom and between retaining pins at the top
  3. If the cage is not completely filled with frames, the frames in the cage must be evenly distributed; THIS IS VITAL
  4. Rotate the cage by hand and check to make sure every frame is securely in position;
  5. Secure both parts of  the extractor lid with their clips;
  6. Check a) switch in off position, b) motor control is in vertical position (neutral)
  7. Plug in, switch on and move speed lever so cage begins to spin slowly.
  8. Honey will be flung out of the combs and collect in the bottom of the extractor.
  9. Increase speed gradually until either the the drum starts to shake (slow down until it stabilises) or maximum speed is achieved
  10. When all honey has spun out, return lever to neutral (upright position) then slowly increase speed in the opposite rotation up to  max speed;
  11. Switch off, unload frames and drain honey through tap.
  12. Repeat until all frames have been processed.
  13. Unplug

If the extractor starts to shake, you are running it too fast for the amount of honey remaining in the frames. If you have pollen, or crystallised or heather honey in the frames, this not spin out – please do not try.

If the extractor makes unusual or banging noises, it’s most likely that a frame has disintegrated. SWITCH OFF IMMEDIATELY, investigate and fix the problem.

Please remember to check that the honey valve/tap is closed when it’s meant to be. Many have learned that hard way that honey flows silently and is unbelievably sticky when forming a 5kg puddle on a kitchen floor.

Cleaning up – Hygiene & consideration for next hirer

Please take great care over cleaning – you must do a scrupulously thorough job – you are dealing with FOOD HYGIENE. Equipment must be returned in a clean state.

  1. Unscrew the motor-bar retaining nuts and lift out the motor and cage assembly; take care that this does not get damaged or bent.
  2. Pick off any pieces of wax which may be sticking to the cage and spindle, then wash every part of the cage/spindle with COLD water and clean cloth (NO CLEANERS) until it is no longer sticky (this takes a long time) then wipe with a clean cloth using warm/hot water; take care that no water gets near the motor. When clean, allow to dry in the air – DO NOT USE a cloth/towel.
  3. Pick off any wax sticking to the drum, & lid remove the black lid seal, then rinse/wash the seal, drum and lid with COLD water until no longer sticky; Rinse with hot water, drain and allow to air-dry (with tap open). Ensure you have cleaned the bottom central spindle hole and tap assembly;
  4. Check that the exterior of the extractor is clean. and all components are thoroughly dry.
  5. Replace the lid seal, cage/motor assembly into the drum and secure with the washers and nuts.

That’s it – easy!………… or more accurately, nothing is difficult – you just have to have a plan for the day, be well organised and thorough.

Request an extractor