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Honey production

Techniques in bee-keeping

Honey is usually ready for harvesting between six and nine months after bees first nest in a hive. The best time for collecting is after sunset or, during hot seasons, early in the morning.

The keeper, wearing protective clothing, puffs smoke into the hive to warn the bees. They think they are under attack, produce pheromones, a smell that warns the others. The smoke neutralises the smells and the bees become disorientated. They also eat lots of honey which makes it difficult for them to sting.

The keeper quietly opens the hive and cuts away the honeycombs with a hot, sharp knife. To encourage the bees to remain in the hive, some intact combs are left.

Honeycomb caps are cut off and honey poured into a clean container. Hot knives are again used as cold ones cause small bits of wax to get into the honey and that makes straining difficult.

From the hive to the shop shelf

Different types of hive

The tools of the trade

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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