The honey extractor is probably among the most expensive individual equipment pieces that a beekeeper will likely buy. But if you are lucky enough, there is a chance that your association already owns one or several extractors that you can hire or borrow when needed. However, if you ever use one, it is important that you thoroughly and completely clean the equipment before you return or store it.
No matter what you do, never, ever heed the advice of some beekeeping forums or websites that tell you to just leave the extract outdoors and allow the bees to clean it instead. It is not a good idea and this feeding frenzy might actually form the recipe for spreading diseases.
Cold Water, Hairdryer, and Patience are a Must
When used, a honey extractor will have a significant amount of residual honey stuck to the floor or sidewalls. You could scrape this out with the use of a flexible silicone spatula although this process can be very messy and will almost guarantee that you will end up covered in honey.
Thus, it is easier if you will follow these steps instead:
- Make sure that the honey gate is closed securely.
- Tip up the extractor at a steep angle to let the honey flow to the gate.
- Turn up the heating inside the room then leave this overnight.
The next morning, most of the honey should have drained down already to the honey gate. You can then put this in a bottle for personal consumption or you can use it to make marmalade or mead. It is common to get a pound of honey or more this way. It might be less well-filtered and a bit frothy but you will still find it delicious.
If you like to wash the honey extractor of residual honey, propolis and wax, here are the steps you should take:
- Level your extractor.
- Check to ensure that the honey gate is closed properly.
- Fill this up completely with cool or cold water then leave this overnight.
- Empty the water out and rinse it well with more cold or cool water.
- Use a clean kitchen towel to wipe away the dregs.
- Set the hairdryer on low to dry it out.
Never use hot water since this can melt the residual wax and make it more difficult to clean. The simplest way of completing this wash is to let the extractor stand in the garden later in the evening when the bees are no longer flying. Fill this up from the hosepipe then empty it early on the next morning. By then, most of the honey residues are already resolved. You can now wipe out the extractor and dry it using the hairdryer.
You can also hang the hairdryer inside the honey extractor for 30 minutes. Set this on the lowest heat setting then reposition it every now and then to cover all corners. The extractor’s stainless steel drum can warm up fast to transmit the heat all over the equipment.