When nectar is brought into the hive by the bees they convert it into honey by adding enzymes, and reducing the moisture content from around 80% down to about 18%.
On achieving this level, the honey is said to be “ripe”, and the cells are then sealed with a beeswax capping, forming an airtight container. In this condition, the honey will keep almost indefinitely.
In order to extract the honey from these cells, the cappings have first to be removed. This is done by holding each frame in a vertical position, and using a long bladed knife to cut off the cappings on each side of the comb.
This is best done over a tray or other receptacle, which will catch the cappings as they fall from the frame. They will have quite a lot of honey sticking to them, and this will need to be separated, and dealt with at a later stage.
Once the cappings have been removed, the frames can be placed into a honey extractor, where the honey is be spun out of the cells by centrifugal force.