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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    909

    Default 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    I would love to hear from beekeepers with a similar size operation and hear what they are using for:
    - uncapping ( I use an electric knife and we are happy with it)
    - dealing with cappings ( we use solar but not possible when it is cool)
    - rendering wax ( we use an old wax melter or the sun)
    - screening the honey ( we run it through 3 SS screens - works well)
    - bottling ( we use normal nylon plastic gates ( OK but they can drip)
    - cleaning the sticky gear ( we use a gearny - fantastic!)
    Most of our hives have full size frames as a brood box with Queen excluder and one FS honey super and sometimes a 1/2 box. We regularly harvest the honey and this works well for us.
    I brush the bees off the frames ( no blower, no chemicals)
    We us AJ beetle traps and I'm trying the Beetle Blaster from Mann Lake - SHB are a pest here but no Varroa - YET!
    If you look at the photo thread you will find a few videos ( a while back) which show our little operation.
    Here is the link, it needs up-dating as we have made some improvements: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhhBB...06C385260B1EA1
    I find this forum very educational and the work so many are doing and the information you are sharing inspirational. I have kept bees for many years but it is easy to make the same mistake year after year.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    DeSoto County, MS, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Max2 my operation is close to your size 19 hives. For uncapping I use a cold uncapping knife works well. Whether I am dealing with cappings or rendering wax I will normally use solar. I will strain the extracted honey through two filters that I purchased with my extractor. I extract with an extractor that will hold 6 shallow or 3 medium or 3 deep. To clear the bees off of the frames I use a fume board and a product for running the bees out. For small hive beetles I will use a shb bait made of soy flour, boric acid, canola oil. this is placed in a thin line cd case and placed on the bottom board.

    Dave

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama, USA
    Posts
    101

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    I am very interested in this thread, as I am planning to expand from my backyard to a nearby farm next year where I would like to start with about 20 hives. Getting a good idea of what sort of equipment will be necessary would be very helpful.

    I would especially be interested in knowing about how much honey people with this size of operation can produce in a year: Low, high, average, etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    DeSoto County, MS, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Yucca Patrol, the amount of honey this size operation will yeild will be dependent on the forage they have available, and how many of the hives actually produce honey. Sometimes a hive will not produce like we think it ought to and that cuts down on the amount of honey produced. Last year 6 of my 10 hives produced around 450 pounds of honey which is 75 lbs per hive. According to the stats I have seen the average hive in MS last year produce just over 100 lbs per hive.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    504

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by max2 View Post
    I would love to hear from beekeepers with a similar size operation and hear what they are using for:
    only thing you didnt mention which im really interested in is how large an extractor you use. hand crank or motorized?

    Id like to build to about 20 but i have a long way to go (currently 3) especially if dont catch any swarms this year and splits have always had so so success with.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,191

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    We have 3 hives we use for honey, our extractor holds 6 mediums radially. We average 100-150# per hive.
    I'd suggest you get a larger extractor maybe a 20 frame radial.
    We use an electric uncapping knife,
    I've heard some of the guys say they prefer the handheld uncapping plane.
    Dan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tyrone, Pennsylvania,USA
    Posts
    353

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Max2,I have 17 hives this year last year i had about a 12 or so.Pulled 500lbs of honey from them . I use a nine frame home made extractor and a bread knife for uncapping i also have an electric uncapping knife but i do not like it.Solar wax melter also.In my area i can average 100lbs per hive if they are healthy and the weather is right.For uncapping i use two bus boxes stacked with holes drilled in the top box.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Great Falls Montana
    Posts
    4,258

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    I had 12 last fall, wintered ten and by some accident I think I have 48 now and the queens I ordered for early May splits still aren't here! Only 2/3 of them will make any honey but If the Lord is willing and the creek don't rise, I gotta buy a lotta buckets.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Dothan, Alabama
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    I run anywhere from 17 to 30 hives depending on if I sale a few each year, I was using a four frame hand crank extractor but what a difference the Maxant six frame radial extractor has made! I use the stainless strainers (cant remember the size) and an electric knife for uncapping. I have found that the local Lowes store is now selling food grade five gallon buckets, I purchase those for storage.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    909

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by schmism View Post
    only thing you didnt mention which im really interested in is how large an extractor you use. hand crank or motorized?

    Id like to build to about 20 but i have a long way to go (currently 3) especially if dont catch any swarms this year and splits have always had so so success with.
    I use a 4 frame, motorised extractor. At this point it feels like the right size for the operation. It is possible to keep up with uncapping and keep the system going pretty well all the time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    909

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Hi DC Bees " a nine frame home made extractor"
    They are expensive here. With my 4 frame extractor I can load 4 full size frames or 2 FS frames or 8 x 1/2 size or 4 x 1/2 size. I like this flexibility and I'm used to it. I have mostly 10 frame ( full size) boxes and most have 10 frames in them. Very rarely would I pull more then 8 frames , leaving some for the bees.
    Before the wet or when weather and flowering conditions are difficult to predict, I work on 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 - 1/3 approx brood, 1/3 approx honey for the bees and 1/3 honey for me. I can honestly say that I can not remember ever starving a hive and I never had to feed - indeed I don't own a feeder.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    909

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    "Lowes store is now selling food grade five gallon buckets"

    Here in Australia I found buying directly from the manufacturer was the cheapest way to get the buckets.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    909

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Vance G " and by some accident I think I have 48 now" - we all would like to know about such accidents!!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,062

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Max,
    Nice video, that is a very beatiful area you are luck to live there!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    10,134

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    I liked the video too and your comments about the beetles which puts my mind at ease as to what is a problem or not. If I saw that many beetles I would freak.
    I noticed that your inner cover sits right on top of the frames. That means no bee space. Don't you squish a lot of bees with that?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  16. #16
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    White, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Hello Max
    Nice YouTube channel.. Good videos..
    This is our first year keeping bee's... We've started with 4 hives of package installs to date (have 2 more pkgs arriving late next week), but have 10 hives in total (6 empty-ready to go PLUS 2 of the 5-frame Nuc boxes w/medium frames)... Our decision to keep bee's was three-fold... We wanted to ensure good pollination of the plants on our farm, provide raw honey for our personal use and assist in maximizing the population of honey bee's for the good of the bee's and humankind.

    WOODENWARE: We chose to use all 8 frame medium supers so it would be easier on us all the way around.
    EXTRACTOR: We chose the MAXANT 20 frame so we weren't spending more time than we had to spend extracting. I'm anxious to use it, but won't be doing so until next year.
    UNCAPPING: At this point we have a couple of uncapping forks/capping scratchers, a cold serrated uncapping knife and I'm looking in to the heated plane. I'd like to hear reviews from those who are using the heated handheld planes before making a final decision.
    BOTTLING/STORAGE: 5 gallon bucket system w/a stainless steel double sieve... We intend to store any excess honey in 5 gallon food grade buckets.
    WAX: We intend to construct a solar wax melter.
    HIVE BEETLE CONTROL: We're using a similar type of trap that you have. We seek and kill any we see during inspection.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,767

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    I run between 25 to 50 hives. Right now I'm at 50. I run deeps for brood and a mix of mediums and shallows for honey. Excluders are used on all production hives.

    Uncapping: cold knife
    cappings: I set them out far away from the hives and let the bees clean them up then they go into a solar melter.
    screening: use a stainless double screen during extraction, then a 600 micron bucket screen to catch any remaining junk. This last screen is inside the bottling pail.
    bottling: 5 gal pail with nylon gate.
    Extractor: 12 frame motorized Dadant
    clean up: soap and water.
    removing bees from frames: a quick hard shake and brush stragglers, then frame goes into a different box. It helps to have two people.
    beetles: nothing

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    St Louis County, MO
    Posts
    69

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    I have 12 production hives and 6 started from nucs this year. I plan have around 20 hives until I get time for more or run out of energy for that many.
    Uncapping - bread knife and scratcher. I saw a thread and youtube video a while back about using a heat gun. I'm going to try that once.
    Extractor - 10 frame Maxant radial (old). Only have that because I got a good deal on a used one
    Clean with soap and water
    Fume board to remove bees from supers. I also then brush stragglers frame by frame and transfer to an empty box as I go.
    I use two deeps for brood boxes and mediums for honey supers. But I've been thinking about going to all mediums or 8 frame equipment or both.
    I melt cappings in a crock pot for now. Haven't gotten around to building a solar melter but it's on the list.
    Store in 5 gal buckets and bottle from a 5 gal bucket with nylon gate. I want to go back and buy the Maxant bottling tank that was available from the person who sold me the extractor but I don't really have a place to put it. You should have asked about honey houses too. I extract in the garage, store and bottle in the basement. But I'm looking at getting a 14 X 24 or so shed for a honey house.
    "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts," Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    909

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    I liked the video too and your comments about the beetles which puts my mind at ease as to what is a problem or not. If I saw that many beetles I would freak.
    I noticed that your inner cover sits right on top of the frames. That means no bee space. Don't you squish a lot of bees with that?
    The inner cover is pretty light.
    I give them a puff of smoke before I gently place it on their strong, muscular shoulders(!) I have never seen a dead bee under the covers. There is space around the cover and over many years of using these covers I have not had a bad experience. The inner covers do help to insulate during hot weather and pretty well stops any burr building.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Crystal Water, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    909

    Default Re: 20 hives - what sort of gear do you use?

    Hi Jaele,
    "I'd like to hear reviews from those who are using the heated handheld planes before making a final decision."

    I have tried to find out too. On the video it looks great but it shows the plane used on 1/2 frames. They are very easy to uncap anyway and I would like to see the plane used on FullSize frames.
    You will not be disappointed with the pollination - the bees are fantastic to have around.
    I'm always surprised by the size of extractors my US friends are using and wonder why you choose a 20 frame extractor?
    About storing honey in 5 Gallon buckets. make sure you bottle before the honey crystalises! It is a job to get honey out of a bucket when it has set!!
    SHB - nothing better then the sound of a squashed beetle!
    PS - if I would start again now I would use only 8 frame boxes too. Good choice!

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