A Beekeeper’s June

Smokey Ridge is at the Maryville Farmers’ Market the First Saturday of the month at Founder’s Square 9am-noon.

The Beekeepers’ June

This month it is important to keep plenty of honey supers on your hives. Bees are hoarders and if they see empty space, they fill it. This month, encourage them to store lots of honey by making sure they have room to put it.

Although we should not treat for mites or other pests while the honey supers are on, it is a good time to start reading and planning for which medication(s) you will use as soon as the honey supers come off. Additionally, it is a good time to start planning for honey extraction. Lastly, if you are brave enough to go for the prized sourwood honey in the mountains, you must have your hives inspected by either the local county or state inspector.

For extraction in July you’ll need tubs, extraction knives, an extractor and something to strain your honey through like a nylon sheer. If you’re already a member of the Blount County Beekeepers’ Association then you can use theirs free of charge. If you are not a member, you should consider joining. It is a great organization with lots of knowledgeable people who are always willing to help. Here’s a link to the application and an address to mail it to:


Smokey Ridge also sells all the equipment you’ll need to extract the honey you and your bees have worked all year to produce. We also carry medications you’ll need next month and can give you advice about which is best for you.

If you are in the market for an extractor, here is some basic information about the types of extractors and cost. The two basic types are tangible or radial. The biggest difference is that tangible only extracts honey from one side of the frame at a time, then you have to stop scrape the caps off the other side, turn it around and spin the honey off the opposite side of the frame. Radial extractors allow you to cut off caps from both sides and then spin it to extract from both sides at once. Additionally, tangible extractors usually hold 2-4 frames while radial extractors can hold 4, 6, 9, 32 frames depending on the model. You can find either style in hand cranked versions or motorized versions. Either way, it is important to turn slowly at first and then as the honey starts flowing out you can speed up. After extracting you will want to strain your honey to remove any impurities. Don’t use cheese cloth! It will leave little white specks in your honey! We use nylon curtain sheers. If your honey is hot it goes much faster. We prefer a strain of 400 microns, which allows the healthy nutrients from the pollen to pass through.

If your honey is capped and you remove it and extract the same day then moisture content will not be an issue. If it is uncapped or you wait, then fermentation could begin unless you remove humidity. So, ideally you would remove capped honey and extract it the same day. If not then you will need to put it in a room with a dehumidifier and the moisture content needs to be 16.5%. You can measure this with a water in honey refractor, which apparently you can find cheap sometimes on ebay. Most beekeepers don’t own this because they wait for capped honey and extract the same day.

Other things to shop around for this month are jars and labels for your honey. Tennessee state law requires that any honey given or sold must carry a label that includes your apiary name (or your name), your address, phone number and the weight in ounces and grams.

As always, if we can help you plan for next month, give us a call.