Morning Meanderings: Learning Something New – Extracting Honey


Happy Saturday!  Another week has flown by!  This week I have been working in my office on rewrites, research, a couple of days dedicated to the baskets for the auction next Friday prep,Book club and an author event, and I spent some time extracting honey.  Yup honey.

For this weeks Saturday Snapshot and Weekend Cooking I thought I would share some pictures of the amazing process of honey extracting.

My friend Amanda started raising bees a little over three years ago.  The fun thing about her story is that she is pretty much self taught between books (yay books!) she purchased at our local book store and You Tube Videos.  What started out as a hobby has grown into a full grown commercial bee business from rearing her own queens, splitting hives, providing bee nucs for other companies (pretty much a bee starter kit), pollinating almond trees in California – and of course producing and selling honey.

Her business, Buck’s Busy Bee’s has grown exponentially and as of this fall she will have over 2,000 hives.

A few months ago I was contracted to write her story for our local magazine Her Voice.  That article came out this week but unfortunately while in magazine format, has not yet been put on line so I am unable to link to it.

I have helped Amanda off and on through the years from going into the hives, to building the frames that go into the boxes they live in, to harvesting honey, and now most recently; extracting the honey.  When giving my notice recently to invest more time into the writing opportunities that are coming in, Amanda asked me if I would want to assist her with the bees when I am able to.

Uhhh…. YES.

I really do enjoy learning about the bees and this is the final push before the bees are trucked off to the warmer states – Florida and California where they will spend their days in the sun, probably in the next 5 weeks or so.  Amanda’s husband owns a trucking company so he takes the bees to their warmer destination as they do not do well in the cold Minnesota winters.  Lucky bees!

So here is the process:

Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal, Amanda Buck, s Busy Bees
This is a bee yard. Amanda has 53 of these around the area. They are secured with electric fencing to keep critters out such as bears. Each box holds 9 to 10 frames. The frames are where the bees make brood (babies!) and honey. When the frames become full, another crate is added to the top of the stack so they have more room to do their thing. If a hive remains full and no box is added, the bees can become frustrated (panic mode) and leave the hive as a swarm. It is important to keep them happy 🙂


Book journey, bucks busy bees, Amanda Buck, Sheila DeChantal
When the honey is harvested from the hives, it is loaded into boxes and then taken to the Honey House, a sanitized area that the honey will be processed in.



Bucks Busy Bees, Sheila DeChantal, Amanda Buck, Book Journey
The frames are now individually processed by using a special tool to gently scrape the capped honey. This loosens it up for the next step. Both sides of a frame will have honey on it.


Bucks Busy Bees, Sheila DeChantal, Amanda Buck, Book Journey
The frames now go into this great device that will spin the honey out of them. I am sure there are more technical terms… but this is the basics of what happens next!



Bucks Busy Bees, Sheila DeChantal, Amanda Buck, Book Journey
Here is the “Extractor” in all of its glory. I call it Dorothy because it reminds me of what they used in the movie Twister to put the little balls in the air to create read outs of tornado conditions.
Book Journey, Sheila DeChantal
Just a quick visual of Dorothy from the movie Twister…. 😉



Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey, Bucks Busy Bees, Amanda Buck
Up close and personal – this is what it does. The honey runs out into these screened buckets. The screen captures all the wax and filters out the pure honey into the bucket. It takes approximately 30 minutes for “Dorothy” to spin out 10 to 12 frames.


Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey, Bucks Busy Bees, Amanda Buck
The next step (which I neglected to take a picture of) is pouring the honey from a bucket with a spout on it into assorted honey jars. That is what I helped with. The honey is prepped, then capped, and ready for sale.


Each host home, (a home that has given space for there to be hives on the property) will receive a case of honey as a thank you.  The rest of the honey will first go on sale at the Little Falls Craft Fair which is the 6th and 7th of September and after that what is left will be on sale on her website.

It really is a fascinating process and who knows… maybe someday I will write a book about bee keeping, or have a bee keeper character in it.  😉

Stop by Buck’s Busy Bee’s on Facebook and like the page.  Giveaways are going to start on Monday on the Facebook page and winners will be drawn from the page likes 🙂

This post is a part of Saturday Snapshot where people all over the world post pictures of what they are doing, or what they have done in the past.  It’s great fun so pop on over to West Metro Mommy Reads and see what others are taking pictures of 🙂  I am also linking this to Weekend Cooking found over at Beth Fish Reads because this is kind of a foodie post too 🙂

45 thoughts on “Morning Meanderings: Learning Something New – Extracting Honey

  1. Thanks for an informative post. I always stay clear of bees. So it’s good to read about how honey is extracted in such details and online, without getting near one. 😉

  2. Sheila, this is totally fascinating. I’m not one to want to be NEAR bugs, especially ones that sting, but I do so appreciate bees! What I want to know is how you separate the bees from the screens?!

    And a very big KUDOS to Amanda and Buck’s Busy Bees! How impressive!

    1. Great questions! There is a stinky product called “Bee Gone” that you spray onto an item called a fume board. You put the fume board in place of the lid and the bees do not like the smell so they go to the bottom of the crates where there exit is and they go out of the box. It takes care of most and there is a brush that gently shoos the stubborn ones away.

      We then take the frames of honey and place them into another crate that is just honey frames and close it tight so the bees can not follow it in.

  3. I knew a little about bees and honey, but now I knew a lot more. Interesting. Local honey is supposed to be so good for us, too!

  4. A few weeks ago I read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. You have given detail to the pictures in head. Thanks. I know we need bees and I know that they are not inherently vicious, but I am a bit afraid. You are brave!

  5. This is such an interesting post! The farmer who owned the land behind our old house used to keep bees up there, but I’ve always been a little afraid of them so never ventured up to learn more. Thanks for the photos and info 🙂

  6. With all the stories we’ve heard about the demise of honey bees, I’m glad to hear your friend’s hives are thriving. It looks like she practices safe apiculture (I had to look that up to be sure of the term!) Thank you for a fascinating and educational post.
    I’m a little behind today, but my Saturday Snapshots post is finally up: Pianos on Parade.

    1. Ah, Sandra, that’s because they’re in a contained, protected environment without the pesticides so they’ll thrive. It’s what’s happening in the world, at large, with pesticides that’s creating the serious problem 😦

  7. Its really interesting to hear how much work goes into a bottle of honey. I remember when Michael’s kindergarden class went to a bee farm and the kids were in total awe as was the parents. I have to say I actually prefer the little bee farms that are local for some reason the honey is so much better. Thanks for sharing Sheila

  8. How cool is that! I’ve been fascinated with the honey business since I was in college — one of my really good friends was the daughter of honey producer. How neat that you got to see the process up close and personal

  9. It would be fun to be involved in extracting honey- although I imagine that it’s hard work too. But I also wonder if it smells fabulous, or can too much honey get a bit much? I’ve recently been eating honey, when I haven’t really had any for a few years- I’m liking creamed honey just now.

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