Learn how to efficiently uncap frames and use a honey extractor for your best harvest ever.
Beekeepers enjoy taking advantage of the fact that the honey bee will store more honey than the colony will consume throughout the year. A typical hive can store a surplus of 60 to 80 pounds of honey in favorable conditions. Those that have set their goals on harvesting, extracting, filtering and bottling this sweet liquid, here are some helpful tips:
There are many tools to choose from when beekeepers get to the point where they are ready to uncap and extract their honey. The number of frames you are uncapping and the time you want to spend during this step is dependent upon the method you should proceed with.
The tool that Shane Gebauer, president of Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, showcases in the video is the Rolling Uncapper. A Rolling Uncapper will roll over the capped honey and pierce the cappings.
The Cappings Scratcher is an easy to use tool that works great on small sections of capped honey. This is the “go to” tool for many beekeepers.
A Cold/Hot Knife will slice away larger sections of capped honey from the frame.
Beekeepers new to the hobby are always excited about their first extraction. As with the uncapping tools, there are different types and styles of extractors. There are three main questions you need to ask yourself and the answers will point to the extractor that best fits you.
You do not want to outgrow the extractor. Growth in your operation will equate to more honey frames for extraction.
An extractor is a large investment. There are different alternatives if an extractor isn’t in your budget. You may be able to borrow/rent an extractor from your local bee association; you can uncap and let the honey drain from the frames; you can strain your comb through cheese cloth; other methods are available.
Extracting is not a ten minute process that will happen in an afternoon. Each extractor will hold an allotted amount of frames. The more frames an extractor will hold, the less cycles you will need to run to extract the honey from the frames.
Time consumption for the extraction depends on the Extractor being tangential or radial. Tangential extractors seat frames parallel to the center and only extract one side during the spin cycle. Radial extractors seat frames perpendicular to the center and will extract both sides at once.
Brushy Mountain Bee Farm is here to help you get started and grow as a beekeeper. Visit them online for more resources or give them a call, 1-800BEESWAX (233-7929), with any questions or concerns.
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