- Why Do We Keep Bees? [+]
- Types of Beekeepers
- What Do Beekeepers Do?
- Checking the Hives (Basic Tools) [+]
- Harvesting Honey
- Protecting the Hive [+]
- Record Keeping and Maintenance
- Gathering Information
The first major step is to remove the wax capping from the comb. In commercial operations, this may be done with an automatic "uncapper" that can remove caps from over 600 frames per hour. The technology used in uncapping varies widely, from the completely automatic to the electric hand-held uncapper, and then to a plain knife used manually. This last option, of course, involves more time and effort.
Regardless of the preferred technology, the wax capping needs to be removed in order to get the honey out of the combs. Removing the thin layer of wax does not damage the walls of the cells, and so the bees can reuse the same cells.
In some cases, beekeepers remove the honey frames before the bees cap the cells. Often the honey has not yet ripened, and so it has a high water content. The beekeeper must then dehumidify the frames before extracting the honey.