Extracting Pure Honey from the Honeycombs

Discovering not one, but five honeycombs inside what I thought was an empty upside-down garden pot was both thrilling and astonishing. Who would've thought that in this quiet little corner of my backyard garden, a colony of honeybees was thriving?

Immediately, several jars of sweet luscious honey cropped up in my mind. Even if we don't normally eat or cook with honey, I was still excited to get my hands on real pure honey.

Here's one of the honeycombs and you'll clearly see the familiar hexagonal shape of the cells. You'll also see some dead bees on the surface.

You'll also notice the white-colored cells near the border of the honeycomb. These cells are all empty. Towards the middle of the honeycomb are the brown-colored cells.

These honeycomb cells are either are filled with honey, bee pollen or have bee larvae (drone pupa) in different stages of growth or development. My mistake was to think that these were honeybees that died. Around 20% of the honeycomb's cells had young honeybees in them.

Here's a close up of the honeycomb cell. I believe the yellow substance is beeswax that makes up much of the honeycomb structure for the bees to store honey and pollen.

Beekeepers by Accident

But now the question is, how do I get the honey from the honeycombs? I'm not familiar at all with beekeeping practices. Unknowingly, we were beekeepers by accident. But I knew I had to somehow find a way to collect the honey that was sticky and smelled and tasted sweet.

All the honeycombs felt soft, much like putty. Surprisingly, the frame of the honeycombs was keeping everything together.

Here, I folded and tore one of the honeycombs to see the inside cross-section. You'll clearly see the two opposing layers of the honeycomb, each with their own set of cells.

For size comparisons, you'll see a dead honeybee on my finger and several honeybees inside the cells. Maybe it was my handling, but some of the sticky honey had started to drip. In fact some of the honey already trickled down the bottom of the pot after positioning the pot right-side-up. I wasn't able to salvage it though because it mixed with the dried caked soil inside the pot.

Free Pure Honey

Not all was lost though, as I managed to put much of the pure honey inside a glass jar. I only had to lightly squeeze the honeycomb and the dark honey oozed out. The honey had a consistent viscosity. The color was dark brown, very uniform and had no impurities.

This is the jar that I filled up. Notice there was a slight froth that formed on top of the honey. Over time, this froth disappeared. I assume all that froth was just air bubbles.

After getting all the dripping pure honey from the honeycombs, I was left with a honeycomb mass. Much of it was beeswax but I was sure it still had honey in it. I was hesitant to throw it away and thought of a way to collect the remaining honey.

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