Was in the hive this weekend. As this was my first winter, I left all the honey for the bees. Well as it turns out it looks like they are going to have plenty to take them through till spring. So I harvested (1) frame just to see what my honey taste like. I couldn't resit as I have been wanting some since August last year. i don't own an extractor I plan to use the one that belong's to our local club should a large crop be produced. But I scraped this fram down to the foundation, and strained it all through a colander the first time. Then I strained it through cheescloth into a glass coffee pot. I have about six cups of honey as a result of this process. It was great fun form me and my almost 4 yr. old daughter. Beekeeping has been a great hobby for us, she helps with everything including checking the hives. Anyways I would like to hear experinces of other squeezers, pressers, and hand extractors. I didn't think it was that bad or tiresome of a project of course I only did one frame. can one give the wax back to the hive - will the bees reuse the wax?
Bees DO take wax from one comb and use it on another within the hive some times. I've NEVER seen them reuse wax that you filtered from extracting. You may as well melt it down and use it for something.
I rasied bees for 25 years without owning an extractor. I cut a lot of comb honey, but I also strained some. I would use either starter strips or unwired foundation and I would cut all the comb out and crush the combs with my bare hands and squeeze out as much honey as I could.
This I have tried straining in various ways, but I would recommend buying an uncapping tank and putting wire screen (like screen door screen) on top of the queen excluder (that usually comes with the uncapping tank). You can put the crushed combs on that and let them strain for a day or two. Then you can filter that honey into a bucket. another possibility is to buy or build the double bucket strainer and use it to strain the combs. The point is to have enough room for most of your crushed combs for your "extracted" honey crop so you can let it drain for at least a day or two.
http://www.gsu.edu/~biojdsx/tbhonhv2.htm has more information on what some people do to "extract" honey without an extractor.
I give cappings to the bees to clean the honey out, and they take that wax and build it into all sorts of shapes. I've long suspected that some of it will end up in comb. The way to check would be to give them bits of coloured wax and see if they ended up with coloured comb.
>I give cappings to the bees to clean the honey out, and they take that wax and build it into all sorts of shapes. I've long suspected that some of it will end up in comb. The way to check would be to give them bits of coloured wax and see if they ended up with coloured comb.
I would love to hear the result of this experiment. It would seem, though, if the bees were that keen on not wasting wax, they would not leave all those cappings to fall on the bottom board.