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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Middlesex County, MA, USA
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    16

    Default "cost" of crush and strain

    I''m small and perfectly happy doing crush and strain for now and maybe forever, but I'm trying to determine at what point of production volum an extractor makes financial sense for me.

    It's easy to determine what an extractor costs, but what does it cost in forgone future honey production to do crush and strain. Does any one know the production of a hive given supers that are drawn out verses supers that are not drawn out? Are there any rules of thumb about this or does any have any personal experience to share.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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    276

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    I`ve never done crush and strain but if you want to figure it out...

    It takes about 7 pounds of honey to make one pound of wax. So, weigh one sheet of foundation in whatever size frame you use. Now count the frames you`re gonna do c&s with. Then, after you have done all your straining weigh the wax left over. Subtract the weight of the foundation. The result will be the new wax or drawn comb that the bees have made. So now multiply this weight by 7 and estimate low.

    Example:
    1 sheet of foundation weighs about 4 ounces.
    You c&s 50 frames. (4X50=200 ounces=12.5 lbs foundation)
    The wax left over weighs 30 pounds.
    30 - 12.5 = 17.5 lbs (new wax)
    17.5 X 7 = 122.5 pounds.
    So theoretically, had you given the bees drawn comb you could have ended up with about 100 lbs more of honey. I estimated low because this formula doesn`t take into account the weight of the cappings. The cappings will be made whether you use foundation or drawn comb. If you can figure out what the cappings weigh then you can get more precise. But in any case you can see there is definitely a cost.
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you`ll be among the stars!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    dallas, tx, usa
    Posts
    515

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    I would like to see someone actually point to the study where someone "discovered" the 1 to 7 ratio of honey to wax. Seems like an old wives tale.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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    276

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    Quote Originally Posted by mythomane View Post
    I would like to see someone actually point to the study where someone "discovered" the 1 to 7 ratio of honey to wax. Seems like an old wives tale.
    Yes I agree this is a bit of guess work. But it does cost the bees something. They are giving their wax glands a pretty good work out so it stands to reason they need to fuel this activity. Also, if you consider the time spent... every bee busy building comb is not busy foraging so there would be less honey coming in. But hey, this ain`t no science!
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you`ll be among the stars!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Middlesex County, MA, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    MichelinMan,

    Perfect!
    Now to determine what cappings weigh and to verify the 1 to 7 ration and it should be possible to estimate the "cost" of drawing out the foundation.

    Also another question that factors in. Are honey comb frames cycled out after a certain number of years? I'm only a 2nd year beekeeper so mine are still in good shape.

    The sale price of wax is another factor too.

    If your figures are accurate and not hypothetical, it seems like it doesn't take too many hives to justify an extractor. I actually like my "system" of crush and strain because I have plastic frames and just scrape them down (kind of like aggressive uncapping) into an uncapping and straining setup and then just bottle from there and I don't have to clean an extractor, but if my percentage of lost honey production is too much it doesn't seem worth forgoing an extractor because I do sell my honey at retail prices.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,427

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm#expenseofwax

    From Beeswax Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products, Coggshall and Morse pg 35

    "Their degree of efficiency in wax production, that is how many pounds of honey or sugar syrup are required to produce one pound of wax, is not clear. It is difficult to demonstrate this experimentally because so many variables exist. The experiment most frequently cited is that by Whitcomb (1946). He fed four colonies a thin, dark, strong honey that he called unmarketable. The only fault that might be found with the test was that the bees had free flight, which was probably necessary so they could void fecal matter; it was stated that no honey flow was in progress. The production of a pound of beeswax required a mean of 8.4 pounds of honey (range 6.66 to 8.80). Whitcomb found a tendency for wax production to become more efficient as time progressed. This also emphasizes that a project intended to determine the ratio of sugar to wax, or one designed to produce wax from a cheap source of sugar, requires time for wax glands to develop and perhaps for bees to fall into the routine of both wax secretion and comb production."

    The problem with most of the estimates on what it takes to make a pound of wax is they don't take into account how much honey that pound of wax will support

    From Beeswax Production, Harvesting, Processing and Products, Coggshall and Morse pg 41

    "A pound (0.4536 kg.) of beeswax, when made into comb, will hold 22 pounds (10 kg.) of honey. In an unsupported comb the stress on the topmost cells is the greatest; a comb one foot (30 cm.) deep supports 1320 times its own weight in honey."
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Middlesex County, MA, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    If you only have a couple of colonies it probably doesn't matter too much, but if you get up to 5+ hives it may be worth the investment to at least purchase an inexpensive small hand crank model.
    Mike, Thanks. Funny you should mention five hives. That's exactly what I have. so maybe that's why I'm thinking about this so much. I can see, that like most things in beekeeping that answer is not simple.

    The one option that I don't think I will do though is to get an inexpensive hand crank. After borrowing a hand crank tangential extractor from a friend I did decide that when/if I get an extractor it will be a motorized one and probably radial. At 58, I'm not sure my shoulder would last with a hand crank model.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Valley Center, CA
    Posts
    190

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    Quote Originally Posted by teebee View Post
    Also another question that factors in. Are honey comb frames cycled out after a certain number of years?
    My boss has been a commercial beek for almost thirty years. He's bought equipment from other beeks who have bought equipment from other beeks. I've seen frames stamped '1976'. We use them till they break & can't be fixed.
    KI6FCI

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    dallas, tx, usa
    Posts
    515

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    reteveng

    I am not dismissing/accusing anybody. I already said I think most of the above posts are correct as relates to drawn comb. There is an obvious advantage. I am not a scientist, nor pretend to be, and am not really qualified to do a scientific test of that nature. My issue is with this 1 to 7 ratio. You state there are reputable people who have done studies. I am less concerned about their reputation as their method. You say there are scientific studies. Help me out here and show me this information.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,380

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    I don't have any facts and figures but from past experience there seems to be a notable advantage to using drawn comb. Beyond the savings of honey that was detailed above there is the element of time. Typically our honey flows are of a relatively short duration and we want to have the maximum amount of empty drawn comb in place for the bees to process the nectar during that flow. If they are busy building comb then not only are you wasting honey on comb building but you are also losing valuable time during the flow. If you have a good flow taking place a few days wasted in drawing out comb rather than gathering and drying nectar can really add up.

    If you only have a couple of colonies it probably doesn't matter too much, but if you get up to 5+ hives it may be worth the investment to at least purchase an inexpensive small hand crank model.
    To everything there is a season....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Pinellass County, Florida
    Posts
    1,105

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    If you have a local club see if they loan out

    Also don't think it was mentioned but with cs you get more wax to render

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,464

    Default Re: "cost" of crush and strain

    In my opinion, crush-and-strain works great for foundationless approach. Extraction by centrifugal force is suitable for classical frames with foundation. I also noticed that in my case, foundationless frames have always thicker comb than frames with foundation in the same beehive - thus, more honey per frame since I am mostly foundationless. It is amazing how little wax is in freshly made honey-comb! Another advantage of the crush-and-strain method is that it is easy to scale - from kitchen pot to barrel if necessary. Sergey
    Серёжа, Sergey

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