When we were preparing to harvest honey for the first time, we looked at the various ways of honey extracting. Of course an extractor is the ideal way but we did not have one and did not feel two hives would justify the expense of purchasing one.
We settled on the bucket method. Using the bucket method, the honeycomb is de-capped, cut from the frame and crushed up. It is placed in a bucket which has holes drilled in the bottom of it. This bucket is set on top of another bucket. (More details in the instructions.) The honey will drain into the bottom bucket leaving the wax/comb in the top.
We chose to add a honey gate to our “receptacle” buckets for ease of dispensing. You simply have a jar ready underneath the gate, loosen the wing nut, lift the handle and let it pour!
It is really quite simple to make this extracting system.
- 2 – 5 gallon buckets with lids
- drill with 1/8″ drill bit
- jig saw
- honey gate with seals (available from Amazon)
- hole saw (we needed a 1.75″)
- tape measure
You will cut the center out of one lid.
- Place lid on a level surface and set one bucket on top of it.
- Use the marker to trace the base of the bucket onto the lid.
- Use your jig saw to cut 1/2″ along the INSIDE of the line you traced. (If you cut ON the line, the top bucket will fall through the hole.) You may want to draw a second circle to help guide your cutting. (see picture)
- Next turn one bucket upside down and drill multiple holes in the bottom.
Instructions for Optional Equipment:
If you have decided to install a honey gate you will install it on the bucket with the SOLID bottom. To determine where you want the gate you can use your tape measure and mark it or just eyeball it. We installed our about 1/2″ from the bottom. Once you have decided, use the hole saw and cut your hole and install the gate.
Wash your buckets and check the gate for leaks. It is easier to clean up water leaks than honey.
Set up the buckets:
Put the correct lid on the correct bucket!
- The solid lid goes on the bucket with the holes in the bottom of it.
- The lid with its center cut out goes on the bucket with the solid bottom.
How to use the bucket method:
- Stack the bucket with holes in its bottom on top of the bucket with its center cut out.
- De-cap the honeycomb (I de-cap mine into a dishpan.)
- Cut the honeycomb out of the frame into the top bucket.
- Use a knife to cut up the honeycomb and a potato masher or similar to crush it up.
- I do 3 or 4 frames at a time because it can be difficult to stir and mash with more than that.
- Put the lid on and let it drain.
- Stir and mash several times a day (can be done over a couple of days) until honey is drained from the comb.
Using this method, there is no need for further straining or filtering. The honey is ready to jar up.