Extract Honey from a Beehive

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Extracting Honey
Extracting Honey

Looking for unique bucket list ideas? Here’s an experience you may not have thought of: extracting honey from a beehive and becoming a beekeeper for a day.

Fortunately, you don’t have to have the space to own a beehive to have this experience, there are experience days you can book onto all around the world (there are a ton in the UK, or search “beekeeping experience” and your state in Google to find them), or if you’re incredibly brave, you could harvest honey from a wild hive, but this isn’t recommended if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Bees are incredibly important to life in this planet, and they are becoming more and more endangered – so much so that scientists are trying to create tiny robotic bees to replace them if we were to lose too many of them. Simply, at this time, if they die out, we’ll have a hard time surviving as they pollinate the food we eat, and the food of the food we eat. That’s why beekeepers are doing such an important job: they are giving these bees a safe place to call home and thrive.

So, what happens on a beekeeper experience day? Well, you’ll have to don a white jumpsuit first, then gloves and a mask to ensure no skin is exposed. Bees only sting if they are extremely agitated and it can kill them, so they’ll only sting if they have to. Most keepers use a smoker which subdues the bees, so they are less likely to get upset.

Becoming a beekeeper for a day
Becoming a beekeeper for a day

Then, surrounded by an intense buzzing, your guide will lift the lid and pull out a frame to see a year’s worth of hard work by the bees. These frames will be full of honey and likely covered in bees, which you’ll use a soft brush to separate the bees from the honeycomb. You’ll do this with numerous hives until you’ve done all available frames.

Sometimes, these hives turn out to be dead – this can happen if the bees are contaminated with farmers’ pesticides, through starvation, feeding, or if the queen dies. Most keepers will know when this happens, but if there are a lot of hives in a small area, they may not be able to tell until they lift the lid, as some bees go in to scavenge what little honey is inside. 

Most beekeeping experience days will also include the next steps of removing the honeycomb, and some include wine tastings and food, depending on where your experience day is in the world.

Looking for more unique bucket list ideas? We have a ton more great experiences on our site, where you can also plan your bucket list using our bucket list maker, or you can download the Buckil app, available on iOS and Android, to take your bucket list with you so you can add to it on the go.