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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
    Posts
    178

    Question When it's time to harvest

    top bars of honey, what techniques have you all designed to transport these to where you process?

    What do you think are some good ways of carrying a number of these bars? I'm thinking of rigging up some sort of box with a lid but I'd be very interested in your ideas on how to do this efficiently and easily.

    Thanks,
    Stone

  2. #2

    Default Re: When it's time to harvest

    I have a kids wagon. I keep a tbh on it.

    As I am going through bars and I find some that can be pulled, I place them on the wagon hive and place an empty bar in the original hive where I pulled the old one from.

    When back at the processing area, I simply cut the comb from the top bar into a pail for crushing and have the now empty top bar ready to be a replacement for the next time.

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: When it's time to harvest

    Cool idea. Can't never take the obvious for granted. I've got a good ole wheelbarrow that I can load a 36" top bar into.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: When it's time to harvest

    If I'm making liquid honey I just cut it into a bucket at the site, then put the top bar back, not sure why you would want to keep the comb intact just to crush it somewhere else.

  5. #5

    Default Re: When it's time to harvest

    never know what time frame people have to work in.

    Your method is just as acceptable as mine. casting dispersions on another method just because you don't see the value in it doesn't change the value the person doing it sees.

    I used to do it the way you describe until I began to have to carry multiple pails and make multiple trips from the beeyard just for honey buckets.

    the way I do it now, I can make just one trip and work at my own pace later.

    it's all good, just different.

    Big Bear
    No, I am NOT a bee "Keeper". Anything I post is just my opinion. Take it easy and think for yourself.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Delaware County, New York, USA
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: When it's time to harvest

    I also think it's a good idea to keep a few intact bars of honey stored for emergency feeding.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Dalkeith, Ont, Canada
    Posts
    206

    Default Re: When it's time to harvest

    I'm sorry if it sounded like criticism, I was refering to the weight, it would be the same ether way..

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Honduras
    Posts
    229

    Default Re: When it's time to harvest--in Honduras

    For the most part, I basically do the same as Sam-Smith. Everything is cut off the top bars and put into five-gallon pails right there in the bee yard. These top bars get put right back on the hive.

    I am generally harvesting between 20 and 40 hives at a time here in Honduras. I don’t want to carry in a huge bundle of top bars into the apiary to replace the ones that I would be taking with harvestable comb attached to them. I just want to take empty buckets into the apiary and take full buckets out—no extra equipment to carry. The closest the truck can get is about 75 yards away. If I happen to need a couple extra top bars, there are always some in the apiary.

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...andomiel01.jpg

    I also have a problem with the location of my yards. They are all outside of town, sort of in the boonies (I deal with Africanized bees so I can’t have them in my back yard). The roads are terrible, especially up in the mountains going to the coffee farms—lots of pot holes and rocks. The truck we take doesn’t ride smoothly either (a 30-year-old Toyota Land cruiser pickup—no suspension left basically). Most of the combs (especially the nice new ones that are the best for comb sales) would break off the top bar by the time I got back to town and leave a mess in the transportation box (smashed together with honey leaking out of the bottom of the box).

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...asmontan-1.jpg

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...smontanas0.jpg

    Lots of Hondurans like comb honey. A third of my honey can be probably sold this way. I was leaving some nice new comb on the very top of each bucket but it would never be enough for all my comb sales. Everything below it would get crushed/damaged or completely covered in honey.

    So I decided to make some trays that stacked together. They are just a wood frame with the tray fastened inside it. The tray is made from aluminum sheets I get from a printing plant—real easy to cut and fold. When we come across a nice comb to sell as comb, it’s cut off the bar and laid in one of the trays. The trays were made deep enough that the top one doesn’t come into contact with the comb below it. It doesn’t matter how rough the road is then, these combs get back home in good shape.

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...ombtrays01.jpg

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...ombtrays02.jpg

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...ombtrays03.jpg

    I’ve been lining the trays with a piece of plastic. This helps me to remove the whole comb from the tray to lay on a queen excluder for slicing in pieces and draining.

    Ideally harvesting for me is a three person operation—especially if we want to get in and out a bit faster. The Africanized bees don’t make this a real pleasant job. I’m the one who is usually in the hive pulling out the harvestable combs and taking a quick peek at the brood. My wife or someone else is at the bucket cutting the comb off the top bars. And then there is ideally a third person who is mainly smoking (again, I am dealing with Africanized bees here) and doing other grunt work like taking the covers on or off the hives, carting the combs over to where the bucket person is and carrying the full buckets out to the truck.

    I use one of my tbh nuc boxes to carry five or six combs at a time. My helper carries them over to the bucket person (about twenty or thirty yards where the bees are a bit calmer) and an empty box is brought back with the replacement bars.

    If it is later in the season and the bees get Robbie (actually they are always kind of robbie), all the pails are kept inside a clean feed sack. I don’t put the lid on tight until the bucket is full—which means they don’t stay bee proof. If we need to stop for a bit, the sack is pulled up over the bucket and folded over. When they are finally full the sack is tied off and eventually they are carted out of the yard and put into the truck.

    Harvesting top bar hives with Africanized bees is not real easy. Forty hives is a days work here in Honduras. Where as when I was working for a commercial beekeeper back in Wisconsin, we would easily do four or maybe five yards of 40 Langstroth hives in a day—pulling two supers off each hive.

    In Wisconsin I also have some of my own hives I started with my brother. They are out in the field/woods behind his house. They are top bar hives but some are also supered with regular Langstroth frames and boxes. We take the four-wheeler with the wagon behind it. We move the four-wheeler as we go down the row of hives. The buckets never have to leave the wagon. The bees are shaken/brushed off the frames are put into an empty super in the back of the wagon. Then we drive everything into the garage where we can close the door and do the processing and extracting. After extracting, the supers are taken right back out.

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...yharvest01.jpg

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...yharvest02.jpg

    http://i155.photobucket.com/albums/s...yharvest03.jpg


    ----------
    Tom

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