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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bardstown, KY, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    This year in a drought in Kentucky, I harvested 9.5 gallons of honey from 5 hives. My other hives, I split as I seen the drought coming and they were not making honey (just some comb in the supers - I am feeding them right now).

    I always look for the things that didn't go well during my harvest. One problem I am having is straining / filtering honey. I presently use a stainless steel double strainer. However, I have to strain all my honey twice and I have to clean the strainer too many times from wax capping, etc. I am looking for suggestions of how other successful bee keepers strain / filter their honey.

    My thought (and I am new - 4th year) is I would like to find a strainer that had a disposable filter like my coffee maker. Then when it got too full, I would just remove on and place another filter in a go. However, I need to understand what more people are doing.

    Thank you for your insight,
    Phil
    Grandchildren are the best.... Bees a close second....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,227

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    Phil, tell us a little more on what you are doing. How do you uncap? What size screens are you using? How are you cleaning them? Are you trying to do successive screening in one pass? Do you use a settling tank? What type of extractor are you using?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,487

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    We have been using a nylon mesh bag for "filtering" honey -- I don't care if it's a bit hazy. A paint filter works well, or a "hop bag" from the home-brew supply store.

    If you use one of these on top of the stainless steel screens, likely you will trap much of the wax and bee parts in the nylon, so the screens will not plug so much.

    If you are heating your honey (we don't, we filter it cold directly into the jars from the extractor, at least so far), you will have to heat your screens while rinsing them to well above wax melting point since the wax will stick to them as the honey goes through. If they cool off a bit, the wax can plug them, and it won't come off easily once stuck unless you use near boiling water.

    Peter

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,933

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    I have explained this in an earlier thread, but here is the short version. I let the large stuff float to the top in the bucket before filtering. It doesn't take long, but depends on temperature. Usually in an hour I have a good layer of large wax on the surface. So I have one bucket on a sturdy table that has a gate. Below that gate I have a bucket with the stainless filter on it. When the bucket with the gate has set for 30 minutes to an hour I start running the honey out of the gate and through the strainer.

    You will be surprised how fast it goes through and how much honey you can filter without cleaning the filter. When the layer of wax/foam gets to the gate I stop the filtering and pour in another bucket of honey from the extractor. Again I wait for a few minutes for the wax/foam to float and start the process again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Greene County, NY, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    I uncap into a basket and put frames right into extractor. Strain with double stainless steel screen right out of extractor. Honey was nice and warm between 80- 90 deg and had about 120 lbs go right through with out any backups.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Brookshire, Texas
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    Pre-Strain out all the big stuff first with a kitchen strainer/collander like those used to rinse/clean vegetables in the kitchen sink. Cheap and easy to clean out with a large slotted spoon.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
    Posts
    9,227

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    beedeetree that is the settling take method. The light stuff floats to the top and the heavy stuff sinks to the bottom. If you wait long enough you don't even need to screen but the screening give you a feel good about your product. Filtering with pressure and elevated temperatures are used by the big boys to hurry things up.

    Ice or freeze the screens and then flex them to break out the wax. Use luke warm water to rinse off the sticky honey first. Don't melt the wax.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Garfield, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    I just bought the set of 3 filters from Brushy Mountain and they work great! As for cleaning them, my dear wife took them to the laundry tray and cleaned them so now they are like new. Didn't even realize that she was gone from watching me fill jars it was so quick.
    BTW, I had not tried the filters before. Just used a nylon filter.
    Dave

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Brookshire, Texas
    Posts
    112

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    If you nest all 3 filters/strainers together and use them at the same time they work great. The 600 micron size catches all the larger stuff, then the 400 and finally the 200 takes out the rest of any small particles but leaves the pollen in the honey. Pollen is between 2.5-200 microns in diameter though it comes in all shapes. Even using the 200 micron strainer you can see particles in the honey with a 35 power hand lens, especially tiny flecks of wax. If I am extracting a lot of honey, and to speed up the process, I only strain with the 600 micron unit at the extractor and use the finer mesh indoors at a later time when I am not in a hurry. When extracting honey I like to get the empty built out foundation back into the hives as soon as possible.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,824

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by beedeetee View Post
    . I let the large stuff float to the top in the bucket before filtering.
    That is the trick, don't let the big stuff hit the filter till the end. I sometimes skim it off the top.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,236

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    Filter bags or material from Brushy Mtn or Mann lake. Warm the honey to 115-120 and pour through filter bags. Done.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Madison, WI, USA
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    I just use a 5 gallon plastic bucket with 1/2" holes drilled in the bottom. Captures all of the waxy bits and doesn't seem to blind off.
    life is finite while knowledge is infinite. - Zhuang Zi

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Greenwich, NY, USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    https://kelleybees.com/Products/Deta...3334&grouped=1

    I use this stainless steel filter from Kelly with a nylon strainer bag. I have had it for 20 years and love it. The nylon strainers are disposable. When done extracting, I put a plastic cover over the bucket with the filter and let it sit and drain overnight. I can extract all my honey (10 buckets or so) and not have the nylon bag clogged so as to have to replace it. The filter does sit down into a bucket a little, so gets hard to fill a 60 pound pail without pulling it up, letting honey drain more and then moving fast to a new bucket. You also have to have your extractor up on a table to have enough clearance to pour from the extractor to the filter. It has 3 legs that support it on the rim of the bucket. It is built well and simply works.

    The filter is listed for $78, so perhaps is too much for a small operation, but is a good deal if you have to fool with those $40 stainless strainers a lot. I have no connection to the company other than as a customer.

    Chris
    Greenwich, NY

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ballard County, KY
    Posts
    348

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    I bought a big stainless steel screen strainer at the Kitchen Collection $14 in our local mall and a small package of cheese cloth $4. The strainer is big enough to set on top of my 5 gallon bucket. Double the cheese cloth in the strainer and it did great, I've had raves on our honey this year. Can also use it for canning making jams/jellies. Wash the cheese cloth after using and its good as new.

    A local beekeeper advised me to go buy a "new" pair of panty hose that they work well for straining but I have not tried this. I could not get coffee filters to work at all.

    Tim

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bardstown, KY, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    Phil, tell us a little more on what you are doing. How do you uncap? What size screens are you using? How are you cleaning them? Are you trying to do successive screening in one pass? Do you use a settling tank? What type of extractor are you using?
    Sorry - I should have given more info. I uncap using a "scratching comb." I am using a 20 frame motorized extractor from Mann Lake. I am allowing the honey to exit the extractor into a 5 gallon bucket that has a double, stainless steel strainer from Walter T. Kelley. I am not, but will begin to use a settling tank. That one suggestion, I believe, will be a large step in the right direction.
    Grandchildren are the best.... Bees a close second....

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bardstown, KY, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    Quote Originally Posted by beedeetee View Post
    I have explained this in an earlier thread, but here is the short version. I let the large stuff float to the top in the bucket before filtering. It doesn't take long, but depends on temperature. Usually in an hour I have a good layer of large wax on the surface.
    I believe allowing the honey to settle is the key step that will help me with my filtering problem. - Thank you.
    Grandchildren are the best.... Bees a close second....

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Bardstown, KY, USA
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    Thank you ALL for your insight and information! i will begin to set up for my operation next year.

    Regards,
    Phil
    Grandchildren are the best.... Bees a close second....

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Park City Ky
    Posts
    1,788

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    NewKYBee.. I like to use a 4 bucket system. Here is how it works. Onepair of buckets uses a 5 gallon paint strainer that you can purchase from Lowe's or any paint store. That pair of buckets has a drawoff valve on the bottom. This pair of buckets catches the large wax particles, and only needs to be changed after 75-100 supers has been run through it. Your honey will run through it very rapidly.

    The second pair of buckets has the micro fine filter from Kellys. (Nylon Cloth sewed like a bag in a "V" shape). Since all the large wax particles are gone the honey will go through it quickly. This one will last a long, long, time before it needs changing.

    Rinse both filters with a garden hose and reuse, or, wash in washing machine.

    What you need for this system is:
    4 5 gallon buckets Total cost approx $24.00
    1 5 gallon paint strainer Cost $1.75
    1 Kelly Cloth strainer Cost About $8.00
    2 Valves Cost about $22.00

    Total cost is approx $55.00. It is a great system. Use a three gallon bucket to transfer honey from extractor to filter buckets and they will hold themselves in the 5 gallon buckets draining and filtering while you are uncapping and extracting.

    You are only 48 miles from me, come down sometime, and I will show you the system. Works really well.

    cchoganjr

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,483

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    I am a hobbyist, I am filtering through nylon mesh cloth. My friends love really raw honey my bees produced. I do not see any point to use fine filter for the honey - more natural is better (and more expensive in Whole Foods). I am just curios - is any regulation on filtering matter? Sergey

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    2,280

    Default Re: Need Better Idea for Filtering Honey

    If you buy a settling tank, get the stainless steel screen for it too. Then take a 1x4 or 1x6, measure and cut it to make an X divider, to insert into the strainer, dividing the strainer into 4 compartments. Then use strainer cloth. As one section clogs, use another. When a cloth gets too plugged up, move it to a compartment to receive the clogged cloths from the previous three, and put new cloth in. When done, wring out, then rinse with garden hose or in sink, and reuse.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

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