I need some feedback on an idea before i set thing in motion. Feel free to be as critical as you like, I'd rather learn here then from my wallet.
I'm switching all of my brood box frames to foundationless to help combat veroa.
I know that i can extract foundationless frames, but i was thinking that instead of extracting, I could crush and strain the combs. After thnking along those lines, I was toying with the idea of rolling the comb through two stainless steel rollers to press it out. ( Think of a old wringer washer type set up....).
I know that there would be a trade off between wax production and honey yield, but I'm intrested in setting up some serious candle production anyway. I also thing the combs would have to be at a cool room temperature, instead of the usual hot room pre -extracting temperature.
Does anyone here hrvest honey in a non extracting format?
Feel free to pick this idea apart.
I crushed and strained for about 27 years. I finally bought an extractor three years ago.
I started out just putting it in a sieve over a large bowl but as I got more hives it got less practical. I also did a lot of cut comb and chunk honey.
I finally built a double bucket strainer. Topbarguy has nice pictures of one. I bought one from Brushy Mt. once too. I really like it the best for crush and strain. Beleive it or not, I think the easiest is just crush the combs with your hands. You can squeeze most of it OUT and then let it drain OFF of the balls of wax you make. If you REALLY want to press it Brushy Mt. sells a press that costs as much as most extractors. But you could also just throw the comb in the double bucket and mash with a clean stick I suppose.
Here's topbarguy's pictures:
Pick "Harvesting Honey"
It doesn't seem to work right now, but I would guess he will fix it soon enough.
Also look in a Brushy Mt. catalog for the double bucket strainer to get a pictue or buy one if you don't want to make it.
I just put house screen wire in the bottom.
I will say no matter how you extract your honey, extractor, press, whatever, the strainers ALWAYS clog up. I like a coarse strainer for a number of reasons one of which is it doesn't clog as much but also any pollen or small bits of propolis will go through.
From time to time you have to clean out whatever your strainer is. The finer the strainer the sooner it clogs. After a while the screen wire gets wax stuck to it so much it's not worth trying to unclog it anymore and I get a new screen.
> I will say no matter how you extract your honey,
> extractor, press, whatever, the strainers ALWAYS
> clog up.
To avoid this, one can use a sump and a skimmer,
but these are bulky and expensive for a small-scale
> I like a coarse strainer for a number of reasons
> one of which is it doesn't clog as much but also
> any pollen or small bits of propolis will go through.
How do you get propolis in the honey flow when you extract?
I have a hard time imagining the RPMs required to pull
propolis off a frame!
I never get more than a little wax, and I use a series of
gravity-feed straining sumps, from 1/8th inch down to
400 micron. That said, I've seen perfectly acceptable results
from folks who use nothing more than a colander nested in one
of the (Dadant and others) plastic "paint strainers" that
fits in the top of a 5-gallon pail (but the honey filtered in
this manner will not win any honey shows).
These "paint-strainer" filters are very nice, very low-cost,
and well suited to small-scale operations. Put the strainer
in a 5-gallon pail, slide the pail under the extractor valve,
and simply keep an eye on the level of the honey in the pail.
When the pail gets 3/4 full, swap in another pail and strainer,
and let what is in the strainer drain into the pail. As a hint,
two medium supers that are well-filled will nearly fill a 5-gallon
pail, so don't start spinning that 3rd super until you change
I too am interested in pressing a portion of my honey with some type of roller press. I am tempted to try and pass a section of comb through a hand crank foundation press... and kill a few birds with one stone. Has anyone tried this? Extraction is a potential area where I can involve special needs kids in the life of the bee (I work at such a school). We could use (an inch starter strip of) foundation for the brood chamber or rolling candles.
Jim Satterfield, the guy who had the first extensive TBH site on the net made a honey press with a car jack:
This is what I use, I find it fast and efficient and really love. It is not that complicated to make and is really cheap. I never dreamed it would work as good as it does. I think this would be an excellent choice for you. Just go to Satterfield's siteand they are some pretty good pictures of it.
I've seen the site before, and I admit its a great little set up, but if I'm pressing a 100 frame of comb, I think it would be a little too labour intensive. How much do you press? Can you tell me how long it takes to do one frame worth?
Ohhhh, I'll bet that you could easily make one to do 30-50 lbs at a whack. Of course I say this having never made one so take it for what it is worth.
[This message has been edited by kgbenson (edited July 27, 2004).]
I made a press for making cider and use the same setup to press the cappings and then run through the same strainer as the rest of the honey. I do not "filter" my honey as I like the pollen in there, its as close to comb honey as you can get without chewing wax.
I sold my extractor this year and strain all my liquid honey. You can see it at:
I too have pondered a roller type press for harvesting comb from top bar hives. Combs could go into one barrel, liquid honey into another and the empty top bar back on the hive.
It could be 12 volt electric and controlled by a couple of micro switches. Just brush off the bees. Insert the comb into the slot and presto. Even with just a few hives it's hard to get the commercial part of beekeeping out of a beekeeper if he has done it for awhile:> )
Temperatures really affect how fast honey can be strained. When the temps are 80 or above, a bucket of 'mash' will strain in about 24 hours. Below 70 degrees it can take days.
That's the problem I'm running into now. Daytime highs are in the mid 70's and night time lows are in the low 40's. My straining is very slow as it is done in an unheated building. It takes about 4 days to strain a bucket.
For a hobbiest like myself that's no problem, but if a guy needed some throughput he would be in trouble using a straining method with thick, cold honey.
Next year I won't wait until fall, yep it's fall in Wyoming, arrives and then harvest everything at once. I will stage a series of small and more frequent harvests when the weather is still hot.
I got to try that......
I extracted 4 frames of honey from foundationless frames in a handturned extractor(4 frame). I took it real slow and flipped it early then flipped it when I though I had about half then flipped back and finish and then finished. I know it was an extra cycle but it extracted and did not break the comb. I am thinking they may extract in a radial if you kept it slow. But most of my honey has been eaten comb and all.