Extracting honey every August for twenty years has honed my honey house preparations. Kind of like painting….. the prep takes longer than the actual work. I never extract in the house as it will bring stray bees in along with the frames. I have a potting shed adjacent to my bee yard which I have set up as my honey house. Lacking running water and electricity is not a problem. I use a heavy duty extension cord to provide power (extractor and capping knife) and a tub of fresh water for any necessary cleanup and wiping up.
My potting shed becomes a honey house simply by clearing out a large area in the center to place the extractor and clearing off a nearby counter for the uncapping process. Covering the floor area with an inexpensive plastic cloth makes the cleanup aftermath a breeze.
Crucial to any extraction operation is a bee tight area. Once your bee-free frames are in the extraction area, you don’t want any stray bees from your hives to be attracted to the free honey that looks to be easy pickings. Many agitated bees flying around your head while you are extracting honey is not a good scenario. So, screened windows and a bee tight door are essential.
Good air flow provided by a good strong fan is very helpful. The extraction process goes smoother in hot weather as the honey flows better in warmer temperatures, but that means that I am stuck in a hot shed for a couple of hours. I set up at least one powerful fan to move some air around; this has an added bonus that stray bees are less likely to land on me.
Check-List for supplies needed to prep for extracting:
Power cord and strip for at least 2 outlets
Roll of paper towels
Basin of soapy water with a rag for wiping down sticky messes
A cooler of cold drinks ( I use water, but beer is fine!)
Plastic drop cloth for covering the floor
Roll of brown paper for covering a countertop
Uncapping tank with screened bottom
Hot Knife and scratcher/fork; I set my hot knife on a cookie sheet to keep it from burning the countertop
Fans- the more ventilation the better
Scale-it is nice to see how much you extract
An extractor that is bolted to a base to minimize wobbling
Food safe bucket with a gate valve
Metal strainer for filtering honey-you can use a paint strainer instead
Below is my setup that I used just recently. I placed everything in advance as I didn’t want to have to return to my house for things that I had forgotten. Ice water for hydration is essential as the days in August in my area can be in the 90’s.