How to Separate Honey From the Wax Comb

Written by lisa mooney
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How to Separate Honey From the Wax Comb
You must remove bees from the comb before harvesting honey. (bees with their queen on honeycomb in a glass box image by L. Shat from

Honey is a natural food that many humans consider to be nectar from the gods. It is, of course, the product of the hard work of many bees. For those fortunate enough to have hives in their yards, it is natural to want to harvest honey for our tables. You do not need to be a professional to gather honey for yourself on a small scale. You do, however, need to know how to separate honey from its wax comb.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Boxes with lids
  • Confined area
  • Dust sheet
  • Bucket
  • Towels
  • Glass baking tray
  • Serrated knife
  • Cheese cloth
  • Jars

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  1. 1

    Remove the bees from the frames from which you will harvest. Several methods can be used, with the simplest being to brush the bees from the frames and place the frames in boxes with covers. Take the safety precautions of wearing a bee suit and do this as quickly as possible so you can get out of the way of angry bees.

  2. 2

    Choose the area in which you will work. A screened in porch, barn or garage is preferable to working in your kitchen due to the sticky nature of the harvest. The Modern Beekeeping websites recommends working in a closed off area to keep bees out as they will steal the honey if they can get to it. The area should be a warm one so the honey will flow more easily.

  3. 3

    Place a bucket of water, wet towel and dry towel in the area where you will harvest. Spread a dust sheet on the floor. Having these items within arm's length will help you reduce the messiness of your venture.

  4. 4

    Set the comb up on a glass baking tray. Use a serrated bread knife to uncap the wax and push the honey out of the wax comb down onto the sheet. You may need to perform this action several times to remove the majority of honey. Take care not to damage the wax comb, or to damage it as little as possible, if you plan on returning the comb to the bee hive.

  5. 5

    Filter the harvested honey through cheesecloth and into a jar. The jar should be sterilised beforehand by blanching it in boiling water, and allowing it to dry and cool in a sanitary rack. Make sure to put secure lids on your jars so they will be safe from insects.

Tips and warnings

  • Buy or borrow a honey extracting machine if you have lots of combs from which to harvest.

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