THIS IS MY FIRST TRY AT BEEKEEPING. IS THERE A WAY TO HARVEST THE HONEY WITHOUT AN EXTRACTOR? IF NOT WHERE CAN I FIND A SMALL HAND OPERATED EXTRACTOR MADE FOR SOMEONE LIKE ME THAT HAS ONLY ONE HIVE. I DONT WANT TO BUY ONE OF THOSE LARGE ONES I HAVE SEEN IN SOME CATALOGS
If an extractor is not in your plan or budget, you can put cut comb wax foundation in your super frames and harvest the honey in the comb or smash up the comb and strain the honey out. This method ruins the comb and you will have to start fresh each year with foundation.
Small extractors can be purchased from many of the suppliers listed at: http://www.beesource.com/suppliers/usequip.htm or you might try contacting a local association http://www.beesource.com/suppliers/association/tn.htm
to see about using someone elses.
This is a good reason to belong to a bee club. Many clubs have extractors and other tools for member use. Careful about extracting in the kitchen, though; it's been known to cause divorce...
Also, some beekeepers do custom extraction for 8-12 cents per pound, which is pretty cheap, until you get enough hives to be worth setting up a honey house. Personally, I wouldn't set up a honey house for less than 100 hives.
Barry mentions cut comb. You only have to use foundation once. Then when you cut the comb out, leave at least one row of cells along the top bar. Bees will follow this pattern to draw comb back in the frame again. If you have some drawn comb, you can put one empty frame in every other position between good comb frames. Cut comb foundation is expensive, very fragile, and a pain in the neck to install.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Pollinator:
Barry mentions cut comb. You only have to use foundation once. Then when you cut the comb out, leave at least one row of cells along the top bar. Bees will follow this pattern to draw comb back in the frame again.
That's good to know. I've only done cut comb once, the first year I started beekeeping, and we all know what happens next! New extractor, more hives, more ... more....more. It was the thought of buying the cut comb foundation every year and working with it that helped me decide to buy an extractor.
So as long as there is one row of cells left on the frame, they will follow that size and not enlarge to drone? Haven't tried it so don't know.
>So as long as there is one row of cells >left on the frame, they will follow that >size and not enlarge to drone? Haven't >tried it so don't know.
Ummmmm, Barry, now you're putting words in my mouth....drone cells make nice looking comb honey, too. And you don't have to mix sizes, as you are going to leave the top row for another go-around.
It depends mostly on whether the bees think they need drones. A young queen in a fast building colony may draw all worker comb. Older queens, especially in the spring will almost always lead to drone comb. They are already thinking "swarm."