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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
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    963

    Default Single frame "harvest"

    We've pulled a single frame of "honey" (probably including a large fraction of sugar syrup) just to say we've done so. Looks like this year the bees get to keep the rest. We do have an extractor but I'm reluctant to make a mess of it and run it imbalanced.

    We've cleaned off one side of a green drone frame of its honey-filled crazy-comb and extracted that by crush and strain, but we'd like to preserve the drawn comb on the one good medium frame we've pulled (drawing comb is our main goal for this startup year). So far I've sliced the caps off and inverted it in a plastic container to drain. At the present rate, we should have a jar of honey by about mid-September. I'm a little surprised it is this slow ... somebody was selling a frame stand for the kitchen table that is supposed to provide honey for your pancakes.

    Right now it is in the back of an SUV catching a little sun to warm it up. We're getting about a drop per minute.

    Any tips for coaxing it out a little more efficiently?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Redmond, WA
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    Crush is really the only method I can think of using if you don't want to spin. Allowing it to drip out will take forever and even then you won't get most of the honey out; I assume you mean you'd have honey by mid-September 2015 because that's likely what it will take.

    I've seen videos of people spinning a frame in a plastic container on a rope; not sure how well it works but it was fun to watch. Maybe an option; I don't know.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roanoke, VA, USA
    Posts
    194

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    Especially if you didn't freeze, be alert for wax moths and Small hive beetles which can make a mess while it is dripping. I think first honey is among the best!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,084

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    > Allowing it to drip out will take forever

    In my experience that is an accurate prediction. Forever. I will never come out...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,063

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    This is the only way I can think of to do one frame at a time

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0tbPhWWrFo

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    963

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Craig View Post
    This is the only way I can think of to do one frame at a time

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0tbPhWWrFo
    Cool! Since I already have the thing in that type of plastic container, maybe I should find an open spot in the lawn and let it rip!

    What have I got to lose (unless I knock over some potted plants)? This particular frame of honey is probably mostly sugar syrup anyway. And I don't want to wait to September 2015, or forever.

    Logistically, we could have loaded it in to the extractor with a counterweight, but we brought the frame home and uncapped it, so now that would be a 130 mile trip with an uncapped frame.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bastrop TX USA
    Posts
    216

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    I had an idea to put it into a large plastic bucket, leaning at an angle, then just swing it around 8 or 10 times. Turn frame over and repeat. Have not had a chance to try it. If you do let me know how it works.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    963

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    My wife vetoed the "swing it around" approaches.

    Five days in the back of an SUV in the sunshine drooled enough to fill a "honey bear". Today I looked at the comb and decided that the honey had come from just a few cells, and those were drained dry. The rest were just hanging there. So I took a blunt-ended round toothpick (you could cut a round toothpick in two) and used the blunt end to press into the cells. This expels some honey and lets air in if you do it right. It should start drainage. I started working the cell systematically, hoping to produce faster drainage.

    I think this method may get most of the honey out of one frame by mid-August (2014). Labor required may only be, oh, say, about 5 hours. But the whole time I get to think about how much work the bees had to do to make it.

    All this is to avoid crushing the comb. As somebody said on another thread recently, "Drawn comb is gold." And it would have to be for this to be worthwhile.

    Still, it is working and will be satisfactory for this year's hugely unambitious one-frame harvest goal.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Bloomington, IN
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    My bees just drew & filled 9 frames of medium frames in 2 weeks. I think the difference was adding a high volume top feeder (they were going through a gallon of syrup in 2-3 days). I'm not so concerned about saving comb anymore as it seems they can draw it pretty fast if they want to.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Fenton, MI
    Posts
    254

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebee View Post
    I took a blunt-ended round toothpick (you could cut a round toothpick in two) and used the blunt end to press into the cells. This expels some honey and lets air in if you do it right. It should start drainage. I started working the cell systematically, hoping to produce faster drainage.
    In a few years, if you are still keeping bees, you will look back at this post and shake your head.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,084

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    >I took a blunt-ended round toothpick (you could cut a round toothpick in two) and used the blunt end to press into the cells.

    I don't consider it practical, but if you are going to push something into each cell individually, use a 1/4" dowel with the end slightly rounded and you'll displace a lot more honey a lot faster...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    963

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    Jackam, I'm shaking my head NOW.

    The sad part of this is that, having said we didn't need one this year, my wife got wind of a deal on a small extractor. The thing is just sitting in the garage all shiny and underutilized. And I think the bees could have spared 2 frames instead of just one, or we could have counterweighed the load. Honestly, cleanup probably would have been no worse than what we'll end up with, and extraction would have been far more productive.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Campbell River, BC, CA
    Posts
    524

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebee View Post
    Jackam, I'm shaking my head NOW.
    Honestly, cleanup probably would have been no worse than what we'll end up with, and extraction would have been far more productive.
    Not really. The first couple frames will turn into your 'slippage' from using the extractor. We used to extract using the club 2 frame very very old maxant. The honey doesn't really start to flow till you've put in the second load, the first load just wets the whole thing down with honey, and covers the bottom, but doesn't quite make it to the gate. Two frames is just enough to get the extractor into 'needs cleaning' state, but not enough to get any appreciable amount into that bucket under the honey gate.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    963

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    Well, then maybe this method is not too bad for a patient beginner just looking for a taste. The one frame, fully capped on one side and about 1/4 capped on the other, has so far produced about a pint of honey, and looks like it has more to give.

    Michael's probably right about making a fatter toothpick, but that requires a slightly larger Round Tuit than I had at hand when I started messing with it. If you can get air into the top of the cell using a probe of some sort, the cell does drain pretty thoroughly overnight.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    963

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    Final result.

    One normal-sized bear of honey, and two tiny ones. About 10-12 fluid ounces.

    The frame was still pretty gooey and had a lot of honey in it when we stuck it back in the top super on Friday, replacing an empty. It was rather beat up looking but looked salvageable.

    Two days later we pulled it out to check it. It was totally cleaned out and repaired, a perfect comb ready to go again. Just in time for Mountain Mint, which they have acres and acres of and are working like mad.

    The bottom line is, the method works, but is an awful lot of effort for very little honey. It met our goal, which was a taste of honey, harvesting only one frame, and preserving the comb for a further harvest.

    It is madly inefficient, but for a new beekeeper, maybe OK as a one-time experience.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Clinton, Iowa
    Posts
    623

    Default Re: Single frame "harvest"

    I think I'd rather eat it one bite at a time.

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