How honey is harvested: when it starts and the rules for pumping out from the hive in the apiary

How honey is harvested: when it starts and the rules for pumping out from the hive in the apiary

How to collect honey correctly, and in what period should this procedure be started, is well known to experienced beekeepers. One of the basic rules that specialists follow relentlessly is that honey must remain in the combs for at least a week. During this time, it acquires healing properties, being saturated with amino acids and enzymes. An under-ripe product contains a lot of water and therefore has a limited shelf life.

How to know when it's time to collect honey

The main sign by which beekeepers understand that the time of collection has come is the wax caps on the combs. With them, insects clog the resulting product. Thus, they make sure that honey retains its taste and useful properties for as long as possible.

You can rely on other signs of readiness:

  • a trickle when pumped out forms into a small mound;
  • in the control hive, a decrease in the mass of nectar is observed for several days;
  • no new nectar arrives for more than 4 days.

Beekeepers also focus on honey flows, bee activity and take into account the season and region.

Features of the first gathering

Only unscrupulous beekeepers are able to collect honey when the bees are still collecting honey. In this case, excess water is determined in the product, which affects the quality.

The start time of the first collection depends on several factors: climate zone, weather, season. Beekeepers constantly monitor the appearance of sealed combs in order to start collecting from the hive as soon as possible.

Before the first collection, you need to make sure that the insects have an abundant food source. As a rule, the first honey is May. But it can be collected in warm weather. If it rains heavily during this period, the bees will not be able to collect pollen.

The period of the first honey collection is the time of rejuvenation and intensive growth of the bee colony.

Young insects emerge from the brood. The beekeeper needs to create the necessary conditions for maximum seeding of the frames - to provide bees with food in a timely manner, to insulate the hive, to substitute frames with honeycombs.

The main honey flow will depend on how the bee colony grows. As a rule, during the first honey harvest, insects actively collect nectar to maintain the vitality of their family. It is for this reason that it is not necessary to talk about the productivity of the first honey collection.

The main honey harvest comes with linden blossom. In the south, this time falls at the beginning of August, and in central Russia - much earlier. It is important for beekeepers to finish pumping out before the end of August, because then the bees begin to prepare for the winter period.

Thus, subject to favorable weather conditions and abundant flowering plants, honey can be pumped out up to four times per season.

It is important to know that taking product out of the hive in September is unacceptable.

Required tools

Every beekeeper should have the following types of tools in his arsenal:

  • different types of honey extractors (machines for extracting the product);
  • kitchen knife or special electric knife (it does not need to be constantly heated);
  • pulverizer;
  • smoker to disperse the bees from the frames.

You will also need a clean cloth and a sieve to filter out the wax bits.

Preparation of containers

For pumping and subsequent storage of honey, you need such a container that is devoid of foreign smell. The preservation of the quality of honey for a long time, as well as the shelf life, largely depends on the containers. Dishes must be made of materials intended for food storage. To collect honey, it is allowed to use containers made of the following materials:

  • metal lacquered inside;
  • glass;
  • tree;
  • glazed ceramic;
  • aluminum flasks.

Another important detail that beekeepers know about: you should not store honey in a container with a volume of more than three liters.

Collection rules

If the apiary consists of only a few beehives, then there is nothing difficult in manual pumping of honey. However, in a large apiary, honey extractors must be used.

The selection starts from the side of the smallest summer of insects, so as not to interfere with their work. Before pumping, prepare the tools in advance. The honey extractor needs to be thoroughly washed, as well as knives or special forks that open honeycombs.

With honey extractor

More often there are two types of honey extractors - radial and chord. They have some differences. The radial placement of the frames allows you to load about 50 cells at a time into one container. A cordial honey extractor can hold no more than four comb cassettes, but honey can be harvested from it much faster.

When pumping out the product with a honey extractor, it should be taken into account that the honeycombs must remain warm, otherwise they will have to be heated. Printing is done with an electric knife. Many use a bee tool or a steam one.

It is not a secret for experienced beekeepers that wax, larvae and the bees themselves, sometimes foreign substances, get into it during the pumping of honey. To do this, you need to have a sieve or other object to filter the product. When the honey harvest period begins, the honey extractor and other tools should be ready.

Without honey extractor

If a honey extractor is not available or the beekeeper does not have many beehives in the apiary, use the manual method of collection. It is necessary to heat any tool (a knife is more often used), with its help, honeycombs are opened, and then the product is left to drain into the prepared container. This usually takes a day.

After collecting, the wax material is left in a cool room. Next, the honeycombs are again placed in the hive.

Further storage

The product can be stored for a long time under certain conditions. The container must be airtight as honey is hygroscopic. Humidity in a room equipped for storing honey should be at least 65%. The optimum temperature is 10-15 °C.

As the temperature rises, the quality of the product changes. First of all, the activity of enzymes decreases. Prolonged storage of honey at temperatures above 45 ° C leads to a decrease in the content of aromatic components, it becomes much darker in appearance. It is advisable to store the product in a dark place. A small cool pantry is ideal.

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