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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Victoria, Texas
    Posts
    76

    Default Solar extractor?

    The last time I had bees I had a single hive with a captured feral hive. I used a solar extractor that I made to harvest the honey. My foundation was made of wax, and I don't recall seeing any wires.

    All of the foundation I found on Dadant's site was made with plastic.

    Are solar extractors no longer used?

    Am I making my bees weaker if I go back to this method, since I wouldn't have an empty comb to return to the hives?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    cool ridge, wv, USA
    Posts
    171

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    Dadant still sells wax foundation-- understanding that each pound of foundation uses 6-8 pounds of honey to create that is entirely your decision. on a smallhobby scale it may not be a consideration- good luck with your beekeeping endevor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Knox, Pa. USA
    Posts
    3,913

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    Everything is a trade off, forcing the bees to make new comb can reduce honey surplus. But I do it when I do comb honey. I have a great demand for drawn comb so I would not destroy any unnecessarily. However if the bees wax has a value to you equal to or greater than that of honey. Why not solar extract. I know beekeepers that never take honey. one even says he doesn't even like honey.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    589

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    If I understand you correctly you place full frames in a "glass top box" and placed it in the sun to extract the honey? Or are you just harvesting the wax?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Victoria, Texas
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eikel View Post
    If I understand you correctly you place full frames in a "glass top box" and placed it in the sun to extract the honey? Or are you just harvesting the wax?
    Well, plexiglass, actually.

    I would pull one or two frames from the hive, stick them into an old (but clean) pair of my wife's panty hose, then place them in a tray in the extractor. The sun would melt the wax. The hose would filter out any impurities, and a second tray would collect the honey with a layer of wax on top.

    I ended up with jars of honey and wax.

    I couldn't afford an extractor at the time, so this was the poor-mans version of honey extraction.

    This was also before we had an internet. My only source of information was books and catalogs.

    This time around, I'll have two hives, access to a lot more information, and can probably afford an extractor, if I decide to go that way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    589

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    Thanks for the feedback, I'd not heard about a solar extractor.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Victoria, Texas
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    I found a photo of it from 1984. It looks like it needs a bit of repair.

    The hardest part of building the thing was finding the metal trays (not shown). My father in law had a welder friend who built those for me.

    1984 05 Solar Extractor.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    8,951

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    An alternative honey harvesting method that does not involve an extractor is "crush and strain". The comb containing honey is mashed in a container, the result is poured through one or more strainers to filter out wax, bee legs etc, and then bottled.

    Here are two related threads, with some photos and even a video in the second thread:
    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...-w-o-extractor

    http://www.beesource.com/forums/show...c-3-min-video)
    Graham
    . . . . . . "those who want to see, can see". - - [Oldtimer - 2016]

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Victoria, Texas
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    The solar extractor wasn't messy at all.

    At the time, my wife taught school and hose were a weekly purchase.

    She rarely wears them any more.

    Do you think women would think I'm weird if I went up to them and asked for their used panty hose?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gloucester County, New Jersey
    Posts
    321

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    I just haven't seen a measureable difference in honey harvest between having a good strong hive draw out new wax vs giving a hive drawn comb. Last year I got 4 supers of honey and the bees had to draw all new wax vs the year before when I got a bit less honey and the bees already had drawn supers. A lot of variables such as weather and strength of flow but that's my observation.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    859

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering Man View Post
    Well, plexiglass, actually.

    I would pull one or two frames from the hive, stick them into an old (but clean) pair of my wife's panty hose, then place them in a tray in the extractor. The sun would melt the wax. The hose would filter out any impurities, and a second tray would collect the honey with a layer of wax on top.

    I ended up with jars of honey and wax.

    I couldn't afford an extractor at the time, so this was the poor-mans version of honey extraction.

    This was also before we had an internet. My only source of information was books and catalogs.

    This time around, I'll have two hives, access to a lot more information, and can probably afford an extractor, if I decide to go that way.
    Wax melts at about 144 degrees F. So using a solar extractor may heat the honey to the melting point of the wax, and perhaps significantly higher. Is that a concern for you?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Victoria, Texas
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    The honey always tasted fine. We produced more than enough for two families. Our honey outlasted the hive by a couple of years.

    If the heat had any effect on the honey, I don't know what it was.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    589

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    Do you think women would think I'm weird if I went up to them and asked for their used panty hose?
    And yes, they'd likely call the authorities

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Victoria, Texas
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by ralittlefield View Post
    Wax melts at about 144 degrees F. So using a solar extractor may heat the honey to the melting point of the wax, and perhaps significantly higher. Is that a concern for you?
    So, now I'm curious.

    Should I be worried about the honey being heated?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Heber Springs, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    139

    Default Re: Solar extractor?

    Heating honey to 144 degrees probably kills all the enzymes, antibodies, etc. It can't help the taste either. You may as well be eating flavored corn syrup.

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