Filtering Honey

How do people filter dirty honey with debris.

I just run mine through a couple of layers of flywire but I don’t show it or sell it.


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Depends on how much honey. I used to do traditional extraction (uncapping knife and spin). In that case we may have had 50kg of honey with wax bits in it, and we would strain it from the centrifuge into a large tank with a pair of fine mesh ladies tights (new and unworn!) acting as a strainer in the top of the tank. Just knot the legs and stretch the tights over the tank.

You can also buy stainless steel honey strainers on eBay, if you are too embarrassed to buy the tights. :smiling_imp: They are pretty cheap - around $20.

My first batch of Flow honey didn’t need straining. However this year, I emptied some frames which had an uncapped arc in them. There was a lot more wax in the honey for some reason. As I only had about 5kg, I used a fine mesh kitchen strainer, pouring it from one 2 liter jar slowly into another. It took about an hour to strain it all. Not difficult, just took time as I was using a 10cm diameter strainer to fit the jar neck.

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I don’t filter honey taken from the flow frames. Yes, I get the occasional piece of detritus but it’s practically non-existent. I do advise people that accept my donated honey they might find the odd bee leg, bit of wax etc as it is straight from the hive and unfiltered. 99.9% of people are happy with that.

The above being said if I let the honey sit in the bucket for a couple of days I usually get a few bits settle on top that I just scoop out with a spoon, so I always take a quick look before opening the gate to a fill a jar.

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Not difficult, just took time as I was using a 10cm diameter strainer to fit the jar neck.

That’s a big jar mouth!

Two litre jars have big mouths. :blush:

I am like the others that have commented. The honey from my flow frames I have not had to filter. The frames that I uncapped and emptied with an extractor I had it flow out into the metal sieve and into a 5 gallon bucket.

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You can buy the right thing, a pair of strainers of 2 mesh sizes, on EBay or your local bee gear supplier for about $20. I use that to filter all of my honey to have a better looking and more saleable product. The little bit of extra time taken is worth the effort.


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I have just done about 9 litres of honey with this item - a tea infuser -

It took a bit of time and some thick honey benefited from a a few seconds in the microwave to make it easier to work with. If it was a warmer day it probably all would have been fine.

The infuser is cheap and stainless steel so will last forever and it is a good size to sit in the top of a jar and strain the honey into it - I had tall 1.5 litre jars to work with. It gets out the little bits and pieces that you sometimes see and even with honey that looked pristine I got a couple of little bits of wing that you saw in the strainer.

I’m sure these types of things are available from many places but I found it worked well.

Hope that helps people.

Specifically made for the job…in 200, 400, and 600 micron sizes…have used these for several years now and they hold up very well. For finally packaging of liquid honey for retail sale we use the 200 micron size but the honey has to be heated to around 40C…this temperature is the upper limit and doesn’t damage the honey quality from our experience and penetrates the filter nicely. Also the 200 micron size removes small honey crystals that are suspended in the honey at 40C. If these crystals are not removed, the granulation process re-occurs…granulation occurs with the honeys we produce within weeks of removal from the hive…including Flowhives.

Our first Flowhive harvest…the beehouse is full of Flowhives and a collection system routes the honey outside where it is filtered (400 micron) before it flows into 5 gal pails. These filters do not remove pollen suspended in the honey.


Such a clear honey Doug, very different to around here, I’ve always considered the darker the better however the opposite seems to be the case in the Northern Hemisphere. What is it’s source?

For the most part our honey is a combination of clover, alfalfa and depending on the year, canola…all plant sources producing a water-white (top grade in our part of the world) honey. We do get an early spring flow from willow and dandelion that is slightly darker…but not much. Packers often buy this light colored honey to blend with dark, stronger flavored honeys…but the light honey is the retail preference for most folk.

At the Apimondia conference 2019 Montreal, Canada a honey judge from Ireland suggested it was made from sugar syrup!

My personal preference is for stronger flavored honeys…from other parts of the world.

Photo above…they seem to like it also in Japan…

To help keep it light colored, we continually recycle dark comb. In the photo below is shown such a frame…dark comb is scraped off the plastic foundation and replaced with new white comb by the bees. A strip of dark comb in the center of the frame has been left untouched for comparison’s sake.

Our two honey types…spring dandelion/willow on top…clover/alfalfa/canola on bottom…both types granulate eventually.


Hi Doug, as I’m not a honey connoisseur, what makes it “top grade”? Is it colour, taste, texture?

Thanks for asking DarkEmu…There are a number of factors that allow Canadian honey to be classed as Canada # 1 in the retail trade and I wish it was based more on “taste and texture”.

Here is a link to the recently revised standards regarding labelling:

Canada No. 1

3. Honey graded Canada No. 1 must

  • a) be the food derived from the nectar of blossoms or from secretions of or on the living parts of plants by the work of honey bees;
  • b) have a consistency that is fluid, viscous or partly or wholly crystallized;
  • c) meet the composition requirements set out in section 10;
  • d) have a diastase activity, determined after processing and blending, as represented by a diastase figure on the Gothe scale of:
    • (i) not less than eight if the hydroxymethylfurfural content is not more than 40 mg/kg; or
    • (ii) not less than three if the hydroxymethylfurfural content is not more than 15 mg/kg;
  • e) have no deterioration seriously affecting its edibility, appearance or shipping quality;
  • f) contain not more than 17.8% moisture or, if its container bears the word “pasteurized” or “pasteurisé”, not more than 18.6% moisture;
  • g) be free from any foreign material that would be retained on a screen having a sieve opening of 0.1778 mm and made of wire having a diameter of 0.09 mm;
  • h) contain not more than 0.1% water insoluble solids or, if its container bears the word “pressed” or “de presse”, not more than 0.5% water insoluble solids;
  • i) have a flavour characteristic of its colour class and be free from any objectionable flavour, aroma or taint;
  • j) if its container bears the word “liquid” or “liquide”, be clear, bright, uniform in colour and free from visible crystals; and
  • k) if its container bears the word “creamed”, “en crème” or another word indicating that the contents are granulated, have a smooth fine texture and complete and uniform granulation.

As a commercial primary producer…my past experience was that a premium was paid based on color… the lighter the honey, the higher the premium…as per a Pfund Honey Grader reading. Of course that premium reflected the packer’s own need for that specific color.

Table 1: Colour Classes for Consumer Prepackaged Honey
Item Colour Class Designation on Honey Classifier Reading on Pfund Honey Grader
Darker than Not darker than More than Not more than

  1. “White” White 30 mm
  2. “Golden” White Golden 30 mm 50 mm
  3. “Amber” Golden Amber 50 mm 85 mm
  4. “Dark” Amber 85 mm

Table 2: Colour Classes for Prepackaged Honey Other than Consumer Prepackaged Honey
Item Colour Class Designation on Honey Classifier Reading on Pfund Honey Grader
Darker than Not darker than More than Not more than

  1. “Extra White” Extra White 13 mm
  2. “White” Extra White White 13 mm 30 mm
  3. “Golden” White Golden 30 mm 50 mm
  4. “Light Amber” Golden Amber 50 mm 85 mm
  5. “Dark Amber” Amber Dark 85 mm 114 mm
  6. “Dark” Dark 114 mm

In summary…consumer “top grade” these days doesn’t always relate to what is on the store shelf and labelled as top grade. But with our markets in this part of the world, the “extra white/water white” sells the best. There is a small percentage of our customers that prefer the stronger flavored, darker honey.


@Doug1 thanks for sharing. I’d love to see the collection system and hear how you harvest using it a little more. Are you able to share with out compromising any IP you need to retain?


Thanks Doug that was a very interesting read. I never had a clue.

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No problem AdamMaskew…Here is the first design we came up with…we learned alot about the dynamics of a multiple hive collection system from this prototype and have gone on to a much simpler and effective system…stay tuned.


The preference of light colored/flavored honey in this part of the world likely originated from poorer tasting dark honeys like melter honey left over from the wax melting process…delicious dark flavored honeys like you have in abundance don’t make it over here. Dark Australian honey is on our boxstore shelves allright but it has the burnt flavor that accompanies honey gone through the pasteurization process…a real shame.

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