How Can I Extract Honey From a Wild Beehive?

By Gertrude Cryan; Updated April 24, 2017
A wild beehive houses thousands of honeybees.

Humans have been extracting honey and beeswax from wild beehives for hundreds of years. Wild honeybees build hives and harvest honey in hollow trees, old logs, rock caves, or between walls in houses or barns. Accessing the wax honeycombs require destroying the wild hive, leaving 30,000 to 50,000 homeless honeybees, so consider contacting a local beekeeping association, and ask about relocating the colony before extracting the honey. Otherwise, prepare for angry bees by wearing long gloves and protective clothing to reduce bee stings.

Locate the bees entrance holes.

Build a small, smoky brush fire near the entrance and fan the smoke toward the opening for a minute or two. The smoke calms the bees.

Break open the hive to create an opening big enough to put your hand in the hive. You may need to use a saw or crow bar. Remove the comb by breaking it. Depending on the hive, you may be able to create an opening big enough to use a knife to cut the wax comb.

Cut the dark pieces from the comb; these are brood cells, not honey. The brood cells are usually at the bottom of the comb.

Break up the honeycomb into a strainer, over a pan.

Mash, press, and crush the comb to extract the honey through the strainer.

Pour the honey into containers for storage.


Melt the beeswax into bars for future wax projects.


Do not attempt to disrupt a beehive if you are allergic to bee stings.

About the Author

Since 2008, Gertrude Cryan has been a student of research and freelance writing. Her articles have appeared on various online publications including genealogical research websites. Cryan covers a variety of topics including genealogy, software, computer hardware, mental health and volunteerism. She attended Indiana University.