10 hives, how large an extractor?
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  1. #1
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    Default 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    I'm trying to plan for the future.... My plan is to run 10 hives for honey production.

    I've had a horrible year due to finding AFB, and I only have 8 supers to extract but I'm tired of borrowing equipment.

    If I didn't shave my head I'd pull out my hair. I have gone back and forth, and forth and back over an extractor for 2 years. I wanted to build my own out of stainless, but I just don't have time. I have it narrowed down to a Maxant but I can't pull the trigger.....

    In a perfect world, I'd like to be able to extract 10 hives of honey in one day. I have no idea if that's even possible, but will I need the 20 frame extractor to pull that off, or will the 9 frame do it? Obviously it would be much faster with the 20 frame model but there is sure a large price increase for that convenience.

    Any advice appreciated.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
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    Cullman, Alabama, USA
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Not necessarily advice, but perhaps insight... 10 hives, how many supers/frames? How long to
    Spin a batch?, & how long is your "beekeeping day" ? (A couple of hours after 10 hr's at the salt mine, or "can to can't " on Saturday ?)
    One of my neighbors runs 200 hives, spins several hours per day after day job shift during the harvest.
    CE
    Started summer of 2013, just another new guy, tinkering with bees.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    I'm in a similar position as you with the number of production hives, and I think a 9 frame extractor would work out just fine. Good extractors have excellent resale value, so if you would need to upgrade at some point in the future you could sell your 9 frame at a good price and upgrade to a larger one.

    A 20 frame model would be nice if your budget allows it, but with just 10 hives it might be a bit of an overkill at this point. JMHO.
    To everything there is a season....

  5. #4
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    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Any advice appreciated.
    Twenty frames.
    David Matlock

  6. #5
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    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    The 'choke point' for the number of frames/boxes that one can extract in a given time may not be the extractor capacity.

    Are you extracting with a helper? How many frames can you uncap in between the time of starting the extractor cycle and the end of that cycle? How often will you be distracted from uncapping to adjust/increase the speed of the extractor? How often will you need to change buckets/strainers/etc during a cycle? As the boss, how many 'breaks' do you get per day?
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  7. #6
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    May 2014
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    Lexington, SC, USA
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    481

    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Maxant 20 frame. You won't regret it, if you can manage it. Quality machine, but large. I have issues with storing it for 51 weeks of the year.

  8. #7
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    Hamilton, Alabama
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Brad, I have a 50 year old motorized Kelley 4 frame tangential extractor. I would not hesitate to use it to extract from up to 70 colonies. It holds 8 shallow frames in a load and can spin them out in about 3 to 4 minutes swapping sides after about 2 minutes.

    The average hive here produces about 60 to 80 pounds of honey. That works out to about 2 or 3 shallow supers. One hive will fill up the extractor 3 or 4 times. Allowing 5 minutes per load, each hive will take about 20 minutes to extract. Ten hives would equal 200 minutes or about 4 hours of your time.

    I would get the Maxant 3100P motorized extractor or if you feel like you may get more than 10 hives, get the 20 frame radial. Your next question should be about honey handling equipment. You will need a 100 gallon stainless steel tank with honey gate and some basic gear to uncap the frames.

    Maxant 3100P motorized
    100 gallon stainless tank with honey gate
    Uncapping screens for the top of the 100 gallon tank, uncap into the top of the tank
    Plastic drip pan to set the frames on as you uncap them
    Stands or legs for the extractor and tank
    Uncapping knife

    That is about as low tech as you can go while still getting the job done in a reasonable time.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  9. #8
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    Liberty Hill, Texas
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Family and grandkids enjoy it I would imagine.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    I had that question years ago when I was at 7-8 hives. Prior I had a Kelly 2 reversible hand crank. It became my bottleneck as I grew, so I was watching the used market. Long story short I bought a used Dadant 20-36 that needed refurbishing. In hind site, financially it was a draw if I would have been better off buying new but I had fun getting it back up and running. Where am I going with this? For 10 hives you'll be very pleased getting a Maxant 20 or Dadant 20/36. If you get bigger than the 10 hives you've got you'll REALLY be happy you went with either of those. I started out with 2 telling my wife I don't see getting more that 5. I really didn't, until I figured out how to sell honey and make money. That was over 10 years ago and I've got over 40 production hives now. I'm now considering getting another extractor as with all the other equipment I've got to speed extraction (mostly Maxant, great stuff) my bottleneck is now my extractor again.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  11. #10
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    I'm with Mike on this one. A 9 frame extractor will spin out 6 frames by the time one person can uncapp 6 frames using a hot knife, hot plane, steam knife, or cold knife. I say 6 frames because only loading 6 frames into the 9 frame extractor does a much better job of extracting. If you load 9 frames into the extractor, you will need to hang 8 frames somewhere while you are extracting 9 frames. Extracting 9 frames puts a load on the extractor at the beginning, necessitating changing the speed of the cycle while spin is in progress.

    For me, working alone, I put a 6 frame holder over the uncapping tub, spin 6, uncap 6, then unload and reload.

    I would go with the 9 frame unless you have help extracting. If you upgrade, there is a good market for motorized, 9 frame extractors.

    cchoganjr

  12. #11
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    You'd never believe it but I extracted from around 20-ish production hives last season using this old thing.
    20150709_084115.jpg

    In the future I'll buy a 20-frame. Would be able to extract ten at a time. Would like to keep each box separate. You can tell the difference in taste from box to box even frame to frame but you have to draw a line somewhere. Mixing it all up in a 55-gallon drum just don't quite seem right to me yet. Maybe I'll get there.

    Missed a 20-frame that was for sale cheap in Carson, Nevada.
    I think I could have talked the wife into taking that long drive to get it too.
    She's cranked the crank and learned to hate it quickly.
    I will keep the old one for when I need to extract a couple frames of deeps to give a hive more room to lay.
    Have had it since the 1970's/
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  13. #12
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    If you are looking for an extractor near Wisconsin, take a look at this one. https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/spo/6122145929.html

    Also, if you want to search craigslist, put this in the google search box: honey extractor site:*.craigslist.org
    Last edited by Fusion_power; 05-10-2017 at 07:49 PM.
    NW Alabama, 50 years, 20 colonies and growing, sideliner, treatment free since 2005, 14 frame square Dadant broodnest

  14. #13
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Okay, more info:

    Saturday, can til can't
    I do have a helper or two
    I have a hot knife
    I have a fairly decent source for cheap repurposed stainless containers

    and last but not least why does nobody seem to make a 9 frame radial? 9 frame would be the perfect size IMO if they were all done radially.

    I still want to make one and may just do it but then again, I may just not.


    EDIT: I was also under the impression that you needed to spin for 10 minutes or longer to get most of the honey from the frames.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    And if you wish to get an alert when someone posts a new ad to your local Craigslist with the term "extractor" (or anything else), IFTTT.com works quite well. It's free to use, and easy to set up.

    https://ifttt.com/discover
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  16. #15
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by aunt betty View Post
    You'd never believe it but I extracted from around 20-ish production hives last season using this old thing.
    20150709_084115.jpg

    Sweet mother of Mary... My hat's off to you for that.

    Years ago, after extracting 11 supers on a hand crank with a heated uncapping knife my hand was numb/sore/tingly. It fully motivated me to avoid doing it that way ever again.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  17. #16
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bee View Post
    and last but not least why does nobody seem to make a 9 frame radial? 9 frame would be the perfect size IMO if they were all done radially.
    There are several out there, here's one. This is a solid unit if you don't mind hand cranking.

    http://www.brushymountainbeefarm.com...oductinfo/802/
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  18. #17
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by D Coates View Post
    Sweet mother of Mary... My hat's off to you for that.

    Years ago, after extracting 11 supers on a hand crank with a heated uncapping knife my hand was numb/sore/tingly. It fully motivated me to avoid doing it that way ever again.
    Here at Yellow Dog Honey Co. we're flying on a shoestring.
    Don't have cash for an extractor right this second and despise credit.
    Will sell honey soon enough. When my sales dept (the wife) announces that we got fresh honey for sale it's gone.
    Have built up quite a customer list and they're all medical people.
    I'll have to use the ole thing a while more but for sure I'm looking at 20-framers.
    I want the one with the motor on the side and uses a belt I think. The worm gear ones scare me.
    Leaning hard towards the Maxant 1400 PL.
    Have to save a lot of pennies first.
    Internet credibility is an oxymoron

  19. #18
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bee View Post
    and last but not least why does nobody seem to make a 9 frame radial? 9 frame would be the perfect size IMO if they were all done radially.

    EDIT: I was also under the impression that you needed to spin for 10 minutes or longer to get most of the honey from the frames.

    Mine is a motorized 9 frame radial. Made by Kelly Bee Co. Works best when loaded with 6 frames.

    When set at the proper spin speed, 4 to 5 minutes is sufficient spin time. You want a speed that will empty the combs without blowing the comb out of the frame.

    cchoganjr

  20. #19
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    I have a 6/12 and with 3 guys working we do 30 supers in about 3 1/2 hrs
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  21. #20
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    Default Re: 10 hives, how large an extractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by honeyman46408 View Post
    I have a 6/12 and with 3 guys working we do 30 supers in about 3 1/2 hrs
    Great point you bring up. If you've got manpower you can use smaller equipment. I assume I've got none so when I do have some it's really fast but when I don't the machines and gravity are working as much as I am (uncapping, spinning, pumping, clarifying, etc.).
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

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