Extracting Honey from Warré Hives

My first Warré box extraction involved mashing the parts of the comb containing honey, draining the honey through a sieve, passing the honey through a nylon mesh and pressing residual honey out of the comb with an improvised press. The whole procedure is illustrated here. This method is extracts a lot of pollen that is hidden under capped honey and therefore produces quite a turbid result.

I have since found that either pressing large chunks of comb or whole combs, or slicing combs with a sharp knife and draining over a sieve produces a much clearer honey. I illustrate the latter method here which extracts at least 80% of the honey with 24 hours draining, and the remaining honey is recovered by pressing.

Warré combs are cut free of the walls of the Warré box and lifted out onto a stainless steel tray. The photo below shows an almost full comb with a few pollen cells. Often there is more pollen hidden under capped honey. Large areas of uncapped pollen and/or empty cells are cut out. If there is any honey in comb that has not had brood -- indicated by it's light colour and location immediately below the top-bars and especially at the sides -- it is taken for packaging as cut comb. The comb is sliced with a serrated stainless steel knife, e.g. a bread knife, making cuts sufficiently close together to cut open every cell.

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The sliced comb is placed in a stainless steel strainer over a stainless steel bowl. The strainer used here is from a 60 kg Saf Natura ripener.   

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After 24 h draining in a warm room (~21ºC) the comb fragments are placed in a cloth bag and pressed.

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The resulting cake of comb is rigid, indicating that it is freed of most of the residual honey.

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The honey is transferred to a ripener (settling tank) by filtering through a nylon jelly bag to remove particles of wax that passed through the strainer.

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The cutting of comb prior to draining has been mechanised by Gilles Denis in his invention 'La Moulimiel'. The principle is likely to be similar to a familiar kitchen utensil:

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A device for chopping honeycomb based on the same principle has been made by Oscar Perone ( http://www.oscarperone.com.ar/images/basemoledor1.png ).

David Heaf's Warré beekeeping index