Comb Honey

If you want to make comb honey, you won’t need a honey extractor or associated equipment. Frames for comb honey must be above the queen excluder and the wax used is a Thin foundation, or alternatively a narrow strip of this attached to the top bar will allow the bees to build their own comb out. No wires are needed.

It will take the bees perhaps 10 days to create the comb honey. To ensure they produce this, if you have a box of honey above the queen excluder, nearly capped, you can take one frame out and replace it with one with no wires, but with a narrow strip of thin foundation beneath the top bar. A ¾ frame will not take long to fill out especially if there are no empty supers above. The comb frame will store exactly the same amount of honey as a conventional frame. Ten frames in a box will be a little tight for comb honey, 9 is the optimum, but nothing less. Otherwise you will have trouble finding a container big enough for the cut comb. And there must be a small amount of space left over because squashed cappings don’t look nice.

Removing the frame from the box just before it is fully capped ensures avoiding tracking marks over the new wax. Then cut the comb into sizes which will fit whatever containers you may have like plastic sandwich containers or boxes especially made for the purpose. Leave these portions on a queen excluder on a tray for 24 hours to drip off, then place in the containers and store away. If you don’t allow the portions to drip off before packaging, they will create a mess in the containers once they are packed. There will be quite a lot of drippings in the tray. You can store comb honey in the fridge or the freezer where the honey will remain liquid indefinitely as honey does not freeze.

If you are putting your comb honey in jars with extracted honey, the comb will want to float up. To stop this from happening heat your jars before putting the comb in the jar. Thus when you place the comb in the jar a little of the comb will melt and attach itself to the bottom of the jar. Now when you fill the jar with honey the comb will not float.

If you leave a narrow strip of foundation under the top bar when you replace the frame, the bees will build comb again from that. Thin foundation is used because medium is unpleasant for the end user to chew. Unfortunately thin might not be easily obtained because shops don’t readily stock – they might have 50 boxes of foundation, but only 1 of thin. Accordingly, perhaps members who are interested in making comb honey could look at combining to order a box?

Comb honey removed from the hive immediately it is capped is white, although the foundation will be more yellow as it has been processed.