Honey harvest is a September activity. After the first frost, or sustained temps of less that 50 degrees, I personally don’t like to breech the integrity of the hive and expose the bees to cold temperatures.
After the hives have been broken down and readied for the winter, I bank honey frames in the freezer for spring supplementation for the hive if necessary. Lastly, I bring in the surplus frames to harvest the family’s share.
Our family does have a centrifugal force extractor. It was gifted to us by a dear friend. If we ever have a multi-site apiary or a large apiary we will use it to harvest. Our current apiary only has 6 hives. When we used the extractor last year, we noticed the inefficiency created waste we could just not tolerate. We only harvest 2-3 gallons a year, and every drop is precious to us.
Since we are so small scale, we harvest the very old fashioned way, by gravity. After scraping the framed we first strain the through a large strainer. This is just to remove the largest particles of beeswax.
After the honey has been strained through the large strainer by gravity, it is then double strained through smaller strainers to ensure that what is bottled up is 100% pure honey. It takes our family about 2 weeks to gravity process our honey for the year.