I have noticed a Cappings Scratcher in a bee supply catalog. Is this to be used instead of the electric knife to remove the cappings when extracting honey? If so, which is best?Or, is this used for something else?
Some people use it to remove caps in general, but most people just use it on the low spots.
Sometimes the nectar flow quits when a lot of comb is only half drawn and half filled and the bees cap it. You can't easily get a knife into it so some people use a cappings scratcher. I have one, but have to admit I don't use it much. I usually use the tip of the knife. I've gotten pretty good at getting the low spots with the knife instead.
Somtimes I use the scratcher to poke holes in a very small spot that I can't get very well with the knife.
One of the reasons I don't care much for the scratcher is that it tears up the walls of the comb more. Maybe if I was better at using it, this wouldn't happen.
I use the knife as well. I never even tried a scratcher. I have seen them, and would agree that if you mess up the comb, if not used right, (like I would do!)
A capping scratcher works great for sampling drone brood for varroa.you can pull about 6 at a time. Jack
Grumpy, I use a capping scratcher to get to the areas that cannot be reached by a knife. I don't use an electric knife. I am a small operation and find a serrated edge bread knife works very well. Depending on how careful you are the capping scatcher does minimal damage to closed wax cells and the bees don't have much repair to do. I feel it doesn't hurt to have both the scratcher and a knife (whatever knife you choose). Steve
I have used just about everything from a cappings scratcher, heat knife, steam heated vibrating knife to the automatic uncappers.
With a few hives the scratcher works best as both the limited amount of scratchings and the extacted honey can be handled in the same way and at the same time.
Scratching harvest much less wax and leaves the combs looking rather ragged after extraction but its not a problem for the bees who repair any damage quite easily. Both the honey and capping can be allowed to seperate in 5 gallon pails which are skimmed of wax.
I don't fire up the heated knives anymore but use the scratcher exclusively. I only spend one long day extracting with my two frame, hand powered extractor. The scratcher works great for this amount of beekeeping.
Still scratching his combs