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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
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    731

    Default If you crush and strain

    Do you have a problem with having enough drawn comb?

    It seems that is the biggest problem that I face. It seems to take a lot of time and energy for the bees to get comb drawn.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Hampton CT
    Posts
    360

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Thats why most beekeepers use frames and extract then reuse the combs. Crush and strain is a waste of wax and the bees time. Pretty tough to extract with top bar and similar type hives. Some people use crush and strain until they can manage an extractor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Edmonton AB Canada
    Posts
    705

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    I don't but I would think you need to let them more honey for themselves just for that reason. Somebody might have a better answer. Crush and strain never made sense to me.
    Grow shrubs & trees,...it's good for bees!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Warrior, Alabama
    Posts
    1,068

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    It only makes sense for the poor man without an extractor they can use.
    Old Guy in Alabama

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    309

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    I have a single hive and a couple of Nucs, so it doesn't make sense to buy an extractor.

    I could rent one from my club, but I had only a super's worth of honey.

    My wife wants wax to make lip balm. I don't sell my honey, and the bees are making wax anyways.

    It seems like there's a lot less mess, and a whole lot less to clean up.

    My two cents.

    Tony P.
    There must be a harder way to do that... let me find it for you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,496

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    We had a huge discussion on recent research regarding accumulation of the pesticides in the comb. The idea is that when comb is recycled, pesticides do accumulate in the comb in detectable amounts. So, some beekeepers expressed concern on this matter. Crush-and-strain do not have this problem. As a novice in traditional beekeeping, I personally do not see any advantage of using extractor. Crush-and-strain is straight-forward approach and may be easily scalable from a few pounds to tonnes - just use bigger container. How much you help bees by providing already drawn comb is debatable. Sergey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    How much you help bees by providing already drawn comb is debatable. Sergey
    How much it helps may be debatable, but it seems likely that it does help. I wish that I had a couple supers of drawn comb right now.
    Last edited by ralittlefield; 07-25-2012 at 06:10 AM.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    This is my first year so I am no expert, and I am just a hobbyist, not in it to sell honey, but in my readings the following have come up:

    1. bees may NEED to make wax to be happy and healthy, so providing drawn comb may not be optimal for them
    2. fresh wax means clean wax for baby bees to grow in
    3. wax production may not impair honey harvests as much as we all fear it does (lots of possible reasons here, more research needed, but just off the top, the bees that are gathering nectar may be in a different age group than those comb building...so no point not keeping those little comb builders busy, especially when the weather is poor...they are at home and might as well be making comb!)
    4. we use more beeswax candles in our home than honey...if I could place an order with my bees, it would be "please make a few quarts of honey for me to give away as gifts, but then make me lots of wax for candles!"

    I did harvest a couple of frames (plastic foundation) last week and following the video instructions from Linda's Bees, did the crush and strain method. It was very easy and straightforward, worked like a charm, and as soon as I had stripped the frames I put them right back in the hive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Citrus County, Florida, United States
    Posts
    258

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Just like everything else in beekeeping...it has it's place. If you're on a production model, crush and strain will probably result in some added costs. But then again, most seem to be in it for the honey and the money these days on these boards.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Rockford, MI
    Posts
    2,581

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    I think that some commercial beekeepers have pushed the envelope on recycling comb just to boost production. On the same token they also add to the chemical content to they honey the sell by doing so to a small degree.
    We all have to make the responsible decision when it comes to beekeeping, not just to the bottom line.
    I have an old extractor that I plan on using with my TBH. Maybe I'm not seeing it, but it doesn't look like it will be a problem.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Middlesex, MA USA
    Posts
    310

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Quote Originally Posted by cerezha View Post
    How much you help bees by providing already drawn comb is debatable.
    Wild bees do just fine, so they can accomplish the job. However, beekeepers are frequently on some sort of schedule, and particularly in the spring, drawn comb can accelerate colony expansion - ready-made nurseries. At least that's the stance taken by the local bee guru.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,496

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Quote Originally Posted by WesternWilson View Post
    I did harvest a couple of frames (plastic foundation) last week and following the video instructions from Linda's Bees
    Linda did not tell you that when most of the honey extracted, you just add some water to remaining wax-honey mixture, filter out the wax and use the liquid to make a delicious mead! And yes,you have already washed wax material for candles. 100% recycling! Sergey

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
    Posts
    1,496

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Quote Originally Posted by KelpticFest View Post
    ... drawn comb can accelerate colony expansion - ready-made nurseries. At least that's the stance taken by the local bee guru.
    Being amateur bee-enthusiast, I am free from many beekeeping dogmas including mentioned above. I do respect people doing things their way, but I also do understand that there are bunch of different ways to do beekeeping. For instance, there are Warre method; top-bar hive (TBH) approach; Rose method... practically every country has its own method! So, why to stick to this method? My position on it is that since beekeeping approach (classical) in US shows failure at large scale, why stick to it? Failure, because bees population in US was dramatically reduced under current beekeeping practice. It is just my personal opinion. Sergey

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    1,496

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Quote Originally Posted by ralittlefield View Post
    ...I wish that I had a couple supers of drawn comb right now.
    Ralph
    It may help. But,from another hand, consider this: drawn comb may help spreading diseases between hives; it accumulates dangerous chemicals; it requires place to store; it is a good food for wax-moth... it is quite a bit of maintenance... Sergey

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,855

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Ralph
    All beekeeping is local.
    In some areas the bees undoubtedly draw comb freely enough to make Crush and Strain practical - but not in Northern Maine.
    In Southern Maine I've seen pictures of hives with as many as seven supers taking advantage of the Spring flow. Around here I have never made honey in the Spring.
    If you are not ready to take advantage of the Fall flow with drawn supers you will miss an opportunity to make honey. Having the bees build the place to store the incoming nectar slows the process down and not as much nectar can be stored as is available.
    If you don't need or want much honey than Crush and Strain may work very well from you.
    The Tri-County club (based out of Prospect) has an extractor that they encourage members to use for free.
    And Wax Moths?? In Northern Maine?? I've not known anyone in the state that has or has had a problem with them.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
    Posts
    579

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    IMHO - Crush and strain is less work than a hand crank extractor. I'd never get a payback from an electric extractor for my 5 hives. For me, Just plain not enough information or investigation for wax vs honey production. Bees depend on stores for survival. I suspect they will build what they need to store all they can forage.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Santa Monica, CA, USA
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    1,496

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    The common critique of crush-and-strain method is that bees need to consume honey in order to create the comb. Thus, beekeeper has less honey. I feel uncomfortable with this statement and wish to investigate the origin of it deeper. My feeling is that it is a misconception - wax glands function does not matter what bee is doing. If bee does not build a comb, wax just wasted. Bee need some amount of energy to function anyway. Would be interesting to hear if anybody know more about this wax-honey conversion. Sergey

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Athens, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    I intend to harvest just 3 frames from a medium super next weekend for crush and strain. My previous 2 small harvests went well enough. I scraped the frames and put them back. They are wired wax foundation. I looked at the last one I did and they have cleaned it up nicely but they haven't rebuilt the comb much. I'm just taking a large serving spoon and scraping down most of the way for crush and strain. Anything wrong with doing this as long as I'm careful not to warp the plane of the foundation?
    The colony is big and strong but I want to leave a lot of honey for them as this is my first year. They are in a medium and 2 deep 8 frame boxes and this super is on top of that. Actually, the super is pretty full so I added another on top of it to see if they would draw it out. They're fiddling with it but not drawing it quickly.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tsawwassen, BC, Canada
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Since I had plastic foundation, I used a 4" plastic drywall scraper and zipped off the comb and honey. Easy peasy!

    I crushed and drained the result and am fortunate that our furnace cupboard is always hot (our heating system is boiler based) and has room for the bucket strainer system. Overnight tons of honey drained out and the cappings were spread on a cookie sheet and put out in the beeyard. The bees are very good at cleaning up the wax!!

    FWIW we got about 1/2 c wax from two 6" x 10" frames. So my daughter's perception that I will have loads of home made beeswax candles will have to be corrected: I don't think those two frames even gave me enough wax for one 8" taper!

    Sergey, I will ask my local apiculture rep about what amount of control bees have over their own wax production. I suspect they can turn it on and off at will, but he will maybe know more of the details of that process. But as I said earlier, this backyard beekeeper can only use so much honey, but with one hive, the more wax they make the better for me and my candle habit!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: If you crush and strain

    Quote Originally Posted by WesternWilson View Post
    Sergey, I will ask my local apiculture rep about what amount of control bees have over their own wax production. I suspect they can turn it on and off at will, but he will maybe know more of the details of that process. But as I said earlier, this backyard beekeeper can only use so much honey, but with one hive, the more wax they make the better for me and my candle habit!
    It will be interesting to hear what he says.

    I read/heard somewhere that they will produce wax only when they lack a place to store it and are forced to hold it in their honey stomach longer than normal.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

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