According to Merriam Webster, extraction is the act or process of getting something by pulling it out, forcing it out… In terms of honey, extraction it is simply how to separate sweet, luscious honey from its natural container, or comb.
There are two basic methods to extract honey.
The first, and most rudimentary is the crush and strain method. This is exactly how it sounds. You simply take frames of honey, scrape them into a bucket, and mash them up. This will open up each individual cell containing honey. Then it’s poured through a strainer which separates the honey from the wax comb.
This is certainly the easiest way and the least expensive. All that is needed is a bucket, knife, and something equivalent to a potato masher. While this is done worldwide and while it’s simple enough, I don’t like it. Bees expend a huge amount of resources and energy to make comb. If the comb were saved, they could use this time making more honey instead of new comb. This is why I choose to use a honey extractor.
A honey extractor is also fairly simple. Using a knife, you cut off the very end caps of the honey comb, thus opening the cells. Then the frames of uncapped honey are placed in the extractor and spun around. Through centrifugal force, the honey flies out of the honey comb, thus preserving the comb to be re-used.
The honey still needs to be strained to remove the wax cappings, but beyond that, it’s then ready to bottle.
While this isn’t the most fun or "sexiest" part of beekeeping, it is the final effort needed in order to dip you finger into a jar of sweet goodness!