TARGET 061122

Like Taking Honey From A Bee.

Collecting honey

You've heard the phrase, "Like taking candy from a baby!" That is supposed to mean, "easy". But if you've ever tried it, then you know that there is a noisy price to pay for doing it. "Like taking honey from a bee", on the other hand, shows complexity, difficulty, and a carefully-planned process, which, if it goes wrong, can result in some really disasterous results.

To get the honey from the bees......

First of all, you can't just do this at any time. Harvesting the honey is done in mid-summer or late fall. These times correspond to the end of the nectar production by plants that bees use to create honey. Wait until a sunny day with no wind to collect the honey as the bees will be most calm during these conditions.

Secondly, put on a light-colored long-sleeve shirt and pants. The light color is so that you can easily see when bees land on you. It's best to also wear boots with the pants legs tucked into them to prevent bees from flying up the leg of the pants. This has been said to create a dis-ass-terous situation.

Smokin' !

1. Pull the lid off the bee box by inserting a hive tool underneath the lid and prying it up. Place hands on either side of the lid and gently lift it off. Set the lid aside.

2. Blow more smoke into the top of the bee box and then lift off the inner cover with your hands. Set the inner cover aside.

3. Blow more smoke into the hive to force the bees to move to the bottom of the bee box. Blow two to three puffs of smoke into the hive. Wait for approximately five minutes to allow the smoke to take effect.

The bees become docile and can be handled

4. Remove one of the combs from the bee box by grasping it with your hands and gently pulling upward. Brush off any bees from the super with your hands. The hive is designed so that each comb can be lifted out individually.

5. Examine the honeycomb. The comb is examined to see whether the bees have hatched and the comb is now being used as a honey repository.

The honeycomb

Once a baby bee is hatched, the bees use the compartment for storing honey. They fill the hole with honey and cap it over with wax. If 80 percent of the honeycomb holes have a wax seal on the top, the honeycomb is ready to be harvested.

Cutting off the caps

6. Move the comb to an indoor location and use a knife that has been heated in warm water to slice off the wax caps from the honeycombs. Place the comb over a container to catch the honey as it drains out.

7. Reinsert the comb back into the bee box and repeat the process until all of the honey has been harvested. Place the inner and outer covers back on top of the bee box and move on to the next box until all the honey is harvested.

The final product

8. Can the honey and/or honeycomb and save it until you can have it on your toast or it can sweeten your dining pleasure.


Since beekeeping is done worldwide, no specific apiary was selected for this target, so there will be no feedback map.

If you got impressions for which this feedback is insufficient, please take a look at the following web sites for more:

An expert's guide to all things honey.
Beekeeping for beginners.
Beekeeping made easy.
How to collect honey.
Palestinian bee collectors (pictures)

Many thanks to Ray McClure for this target.