How to Extract Honey with the Smash and Drain Method


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This post shows how to extract honey with the smash and drain method using my DIY Decapping tub.

Normally beginning beekeepers don’t rush out and buy a rotary extractor. I know I wasn’t planning on it until I got some unexpected overtime from working a state disaster.  About that time I was told about a plastic $150.00 extractor.

As a result, I extract most of my honey with a rotary extractor. However, I also plan on having a top bar hive next year.  In a TBH you cannot extract your honey using an extractor.  This is because it will just sling the comb out and muck everything up.

For those without a rotary extractor, the best method of extracting all the sweet goodness from the combs is by using what is commonly called the “smash and drain” method.  This method also works for those using foundationless frames, or a top bar hive,

It’s not brain science or rocket surgery.  All you do is take the comb out, place it in a strainer and smash it up to break open each cell in the comb.  Next you let it strain out.

If your using frames with foundation, you can take a spoon and carefully scrape the comb off the foundation. You might tear a little, but the bees will repair it.

Make Sure the Conditions are Right

You need to worry about humidity and temperature in the location you are extracting. The lower the temp the slower the honey will drain.  Additionally, the higher the humidity the more water the honey will suck out of the air.

Too much moisture will make your honey ferment. If your room is warmer than what is comfortable, your honey will drain a lot quicker, and you should be able to bottle it before you have any problems.

You also need to ensure your extracting room has screens on the windows or some other way to keep the bees out. Rather than fly to the millions of flowers it takes to make a frame of honey, the bees would rather just take the honey. I don’t blame them, but I want my rent payment for their space in the yard so I try to keep them out of my house when I am extracting.

So this primitive method isn’t hard, but it is less efficient than the extractor, and tends to be messier, however, for many beekeepers the cost savings is worth it.

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