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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Guatemala
    Posts
    244

    Post

    Most beekeepers in this forum are small scale, so I wonder if anyone has come up with a home-made cappings spinner or other form of separating cappings from honey.

    The traditional draining method is quite slow and it takes some container space. Cool nights will slow draining even more.

    Heating to melt wax will ruin honey unless very closely supervised.

    So, in my opinion, some kind of specially designed , yet simple, wire mesh baskets could be loaded with cappings and put into the extractor.

    I know for a fact that there are several very industrious, creative folks reading this. Please share your thoughts and experiences.

    Down here in Guatemala, rural beekeepers have very little access to factory items; that is why I request for home-made gadgets.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Williston, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,779

    Post

    My first two harvests, I'd gather the cappings into a mesh paint filtering bag and squeeze the honey out. Messy, messy. This year I just left the cappings in the top of my uncapping tank for a couple of days. (The method I assume you're referring to as "the traditional draining method") The wax was dry and free of honey and the bottom half of the uncapping tank had quite a bit of honey which I just poured through a strainer into my honey bucket. So easy!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Guatemala
    Posts
    244

    Post

    Thanks for your input Tia. I guess letting cappings drain for a couple of days is good if that is all the cappings you have.
    For a small operation, some 30 + hives, cappings may accumulate to overfill the uncapping tank, so extra draining baskets may be needed.
    There is one issue I didn´t bring up before: honey in cappings is like a thin film,and exposing this honey to humid environment could easily bring moisture content above the desired level of 18%.
    I have not measured the moisture increase for cappings honey when exposed a couple of days, but ist is a fact that honey will absorb moisture. One such proof is the recommended procedure for taking a sample from a barrel: don´t take the surface honey . . . it will be thinner than honey down deeper.

    This forum has not approached the topic on cappings, or maybe I have missed it. Please let´s elaborate.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Inver Grove, MN
    Posts
    1,462

    Post

    I would think if you were to build a frame similar in size to your hive frames, or even somewhat thicker, and covered the sides with mesh, plastic or metal, you could fill the frames with cappings and spin them in your extractor. Maybe just have the mesh a couple inches short on one side so that you have access to the interior.

    You would have to be careful to balance them for spinning.

    I think I've seen this kind of thing sold some place.

    I put my cappings in a bag and press them like some folks press combs. Because I don't have a nice stainless steel device to do the pressing, the cappings honey has to remain for my own use.
    Linux - World domination through world cooperation

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    172

    Post

    Does anyone think it would be o.k. to spread the cappings out in a tray, place it about 20 feet from the hive, and let the bees forage?
    \"It is an Ill Wind that Blows no Minds...\"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    West Newton, Pa.
    Posts
    915

    Post

    ainsof,

    You can do this if you are the only beek for miles around and you only have one hive. If you are not, this could start a robbing frenzy that would prove detrimental to your bees.
    Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jenison, MI
    Posts
    1,514

    Post

    It works great to let the bees clean the cappings.
    If you have more than one hive or any in the area, you will want to go further than 20ft due to robbing concerns.

    **Edit: sorry, I see you posted the same thing just before I did**

    [size="1"][ January 30, 2006, 12:18 PM: Message edited by: ScadsOBees ][/size]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Evansville, IN, USA
    Posts
    2,837

    Post

    ainsof . . .

    Place wet cappings (in a pan inside empty super) INSIDE you hive(s). Robbing wont be a problem.

    [size="1"][ January 30, 2006, 12:36 PM: Message edited by: Dave W ][/size]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Marshall, VA USA
    Posts
    136

    Post

    I spread out my cappings on a white sheet in the backyard. In about an hour they were covered with foragers and I didn't see any evidence of violence. They were quite some distance from the hives to prevent a robbing attack on any of the hives.

    I'm glad I put it out of the way since the traffic coming and going was VERY busy. The UPS guy stopped by, saw what was going on, and just tossed the package out of the truck. The bees cleaned up the cappings to where they were bone dry.

    Mike'
    If you're not confused you just don't know what's going on.

  10. #10

    Post

    That would be an intimidating site for anyone unaccostemd to the peculiarities of bees.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Alpharetta, GA, USA
    Posts
    520

    Post

    >Place wet cappings (in a pan inside empty super) INSIDE your hive(s). Robbing wont be a problem<

    I've done this too and it worked well. In fact, I left the cappings inside the empty super above my inner cover for several days. When I came back to take the clean, dry wax out, I found that the bees had reorganized the wax into curved tunnels and other shapes. It was bee art! Truly amazing.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    172

    Post

    Very good ideas guys. Thank you!

    This, of course, raises even more questions...

    Bees won't rob honey from sources over 20' away?

    Is this to say that if my wife and I added another hive, we'd be o.k. if they were placed over 20 feet apart?

    What about pro beeks that place multiple hives on pallets/skids? Do they have alot of robbing problems?
    \"It is an Ill Wind that Blows no Minds...\"

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Lake county, Indiana 46408-4109
    Posts
    3,540

    Post

    ""Bees won't rob honey from sources over 20' away?""

    Don`t belive that!!
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Jenison, MI
    Posts
    1,514

    Post

    You can have almost as many hives as you want in almost as small an area as you want as long as you use common sense. Make sure the entrances aren't too close, use caution when feeding. Watch the weaker colonies, keep an eye on all during a dearth. Don't leave honey or alot of scrap comb around, especially during a drought or dearth. If a hive is getting robbed, take appropriate action (search and there is lots of info about this)

    There is a limit to how many hives per acre, etc but I don't know what that is.

    Most of the advise you received about feeding is supposing that you have more than one hive or other hives nearby.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Post

    It's just that putting it more then 20 feet away tends to have them looking for more honey 20 feet away. Putting it right next to the hive has them searching that area for more honey. The further away it is from the bulk of your hives the less likely it will set off robbing.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    172

    Post

    Aha! Thanks guys. Makes total sense now.
    \"It is an Ill Wind that Blows no Minds...\"

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    North Hills, CA USA
    Posts
    457

    Post

    Guatebee, did you see Michael Bushes' post in Equipment/Hwd. Rev. 11/4/05? I am going to try something like this on my next harvest.
    Walt

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bradley, TN, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: dealing with cappings

    I find that putting the cappings and extractor on my front porch for the bees to clean totally eliminates the problem of door to door salesmen, visits from my in-laws and (unfortunately) the Fed-Ex guy. When I can go out the door again I know the extractor is clean and the cappings are dry.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: dealing with cappings

    Naturelady - love it!

    Kenpkr - whoda thunk. I love that beekeeping encourages thinking outside the box (of rule following). I love rules. Beeking tests me to think about trying new things. May have to try that just to see what they do.

    Wondering what you with experience think about the idea that "open feeding" (or open cleaning") encourages transmission of disease. Saw a very interesting post by Rusty at Honey Bee Suite, where - due to disease sharing in addition to robbing - the only method recommended was within the super. I had never thought of this as an issue of transmission of disease till I read that post.

    Opinions?

    Link to article. Rusty writes a lot of very common sense items that seem to me to be well thought out. Great for a beginner like me.

    http://www.honeybeesuite.com/?p=5065
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Bradley, TN, USA
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: dealing with cappings

    Good point about both robbing and diseases. As much fun as it was to watch my daughters friends retreat to the drive and call the house from their cell phones I rarely put anything on the front porch any more. Its too close to my hives and has started robbing at least once. Fortunately I caught it early and closed the hive entrance down and all went well. It also attracts a lot of wasps, yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets. Now I usually put cappings in a tray above the inner cover, in an empty hive body, and then put a screened inner cover over that to prevent bees coming in under the outer cover. I still put out my extractor and an occasional small amount of cappings but try to do it late in the day when, I hope, not as many foragers from a distance will find it.

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