Harvesting honey

Although a pile box hive does not have any frames, the method for extracting honey is an improvement compared to a log hive. A pile box hive allows us to remove only the top box after it is full of honey. The colony is not destroyed to take honey.

When to extract honey

You should wait for the hive to have four or more boxes. You should not take honey earlier because

  • the top box can contain larvae.
  • the combs can drop after taking honey.

I do not recommend taking honey in summer because it is too hot in Japan and it makes combs softer.

Honeybees need time to build large combs, so fall is best to take honey. You should wait for about a half year after capturing Japanese bees in early spring. You need to be patient.

If about 5 kg of honey is left for the colony, it can survive over the winter. This is the most important point and this makes it easier to increase the number of colonies.

Honey extraction method

One box filled with honey contains about 5 kg of honey. You can take 5kg - 10kg (1 box or 2 boxes) of honey per colony on average.

The top box is removed to take honey. It takes only 10 - 20 minutes. Removal does not disturb the bees too much.

The colony loses about 20 % of comb but will continue to raise the larvae and collect honey. The bees rarely abscond after taking honey.

Extracting honey from the box

Extracting honey is not difficult, and it does not take a lot of time and effort.

Expensive tools are not needed. You can use kitchen goods to squeeze the honey from the comb.

First, I cut each comb into three pieces. About 70 % of honey drips out in 12 hours.

I then compress the comb to extract the remaining honey.

I use a squeezer to increase time efficiency because I have many beehives to take honey. It is enough to squeeze with hands.

Rendering beeswax

Beeswax can be rendered after squeezing honey. Its melting point is quite low, about 65 degrees celsius.

Melting it in a pot of hot water is the most common way.

A steamer can be used as well.