Honey extractor choices
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Colbert Washington
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    5

    Default Honey extractor choices

    I am new to the hobby as of this spring. Like many of you here I have a love for bees and keeping them. I started with two hives and made splits to make 4 going into winter. I will most likely stay between 4-8 hives in total and I just got my brother-in-law and father-in-law into the hobby. They will each only have 1-2 hives. I am looking to buy a community extractor and am ok with the buy once cry once philosophy. I am thinking of the Maxant 3100p with the 9 frame basket. Is this the best choice or would it be better for me to go with a cheaper Vivo extractor since I do not have that many hives? One more note. I plan on only keeping 3 supers per hive, this means that I will have to harvest honey at least twice a year. Thanks in advance for your help.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    1,469

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    I own a 3100P and am very pleased with how fast it extracts and how clean(of honey) frame and comb are after extraction. It takes about three minutes to spin three deep frames to near dry. One needs a second person uncapping or need to stop to uncap. Really need one person attending the extractor to monitor getting out of balance and ramping up the speed. It is quality made but I wouldn't call it robust. The wood portion of the frame is close to dry after extraction. Extractor is small enough and light enough to be moved around readily.

    The deep frames can only be processed in tangential mode which I don't mind at all. I have not done medium frames in radial mode, but think one could do 6-9(depends if you load the 3 frames in tangential mode) frames in 10 minutes. In tangential mode, it is near impossible to blow comb/foundation due to good support grillage of basket. This design allows for extraction of foundationless frames and wax foundation frames with little damage to comb/foundation.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    1,809

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    I can't speak to the "other" extractors but I have no complaints with my 3100P and I only use mediums for supers. It wasn't cheap but it's built to last my lifetime plus.

    Good luck on the 4-8 hives; 2-3 hives with a taste of honey was my original goal.
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    622

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    A quality stainless extractor like a Maxant will hold hold its value and can easily be resold.
    A cheapy ends up in the trash.
    PS. Buy extra supers.When the honey comes ,you need to grab it!!

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Colbert Washington
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    How many should I have? I am in eastern Washington and my specific location has abundant nectar sources. I got 11 gallons from one hive last season that was started from a Nuc.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1,469

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    I have 4 10 frame deeps per hive. This allows three supers on the hive above two deep broods. I pull the bottom honey super, drop the other two down one position and put the empty, extracted comb, super on the top on a 4-7 day schedule. I get a heavy flow during canola field bloom(about a three week window) and bees will fill a 10 frame deep(give or take 45 lbs of hone) in 4-7 days. Five deep supers is high enough for my back. 80 lb supers at chin high is too hard on the back.

    If you want to go less frequently to pull supers and extract, figure out how fast honey is being collected by the bees and how many empty supers need to be on the hives. Otherwise your losing honey and setting conditions up for swarming.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Colbert Washington
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    I will be keeping better records this coming season on how and when they are filling up the supers. Any other advice on the extractor question?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Bucks County PA
    Posts
    373

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    We have the manual Lyson 4 frame (we use mediums only) and it works fine for us, but I can see it "getting old fast" if we went above the approximately 6 colonies we currently try to maintain. I'm even toying with putting a motor on it.
    Humble assistant to beek Alison as well as family purveyor of luxury Bee condominiums and Paparazzi activities...

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    1,469

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    I concur. I've been around manual extracting, helping a friend with a two framer and it gets old fast.

    I believe three frames stays more balanced and less wobble of the extractor. The power is a pleasure to operate and one can get near all the honey removed.

    A controller that automatically ramps up the speed, similar to the bigger extractor would also be nice to have.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  11. #10
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    @thechristalfamily - please add your location so we all can more easily make comments in the future on issues that are location specific.

    Extractor, I don't know the Maxant, but everyone speaks good of it. I build my own and have found several issues helpful:

    All swivel caster wheels took the imbalance of my unit,

    The frequency drive on the motor (3ph) makes life much easier when extracting. It costs money, but it is so much easier on speed-up and speed-down, with possible settings for startup to go to higher speed after x time and the whole unit runs itself.

    I believe one could stay with a smaller unit if it is setup properly not to be babysit all the time.

    Amount of supers, same as mgolden says, four per hive, max. three on, one spare.

    JoergK.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    1,469

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    Joerg, I saw a neat extractor design at a Hutterite Colony. They had built it themselves. Stainless steel.

    The collection area below the frames in the extractor was a flat sloped floor, higher at the back. At the front was a small well and the valve was threaded into it. Heating elements was installed below the floor, so the sloped floor could be heated to ?105F.

    I think it would function quite a bit better than a inverted cone bottom. I can never get the perimeter of the cone to fully drain and eventually get a build up of crystalized honey on the perimeter.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    350

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    Hi Murray, Yes, they are handy fellows and seem to have an expert for every task.

    My eight frame extractor slops to the 1" valve welded in to the corner where wall and bottom meet and I can raise it to nearly have all honey run out by gravity, expect for a spoon or two. I can lay a cheap room heater with ventilator under the extractor that blows heat against the bottom and it works like the one you describe without having to have a second floor with water for the heat elements. I use around 36-38°C.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    1,469

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    Sounds like you are way ahead of me and just as handy.

    I don't think it was a water jacket below nut rather a method of heating the honey drain floor from below. It's been a while since the tour but I believe it was something around the 32 frame size.

    This Colony was also manfacturing and painting the Rotoshear(I'm sure you know but for others-a hydraulic motor powered rotating knife for divider boards for swathing canola). They had a very impressive plasma cutter for 4 x 8 sheets of iron and paint booth.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,294

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    Just to add my $.02. I have a Maxant 3100H that I converted to a P this last season. It is exactly what I need at this point with 20 or so hives. The inexpensive extractors are for the wannabees and one to two hive guys. If you are at around 10 hives total, buy the good stuff now because the inexpensive ones will end up being money down the drain once you figure things out. If you get out of bees later, this is the one piece of equipment that will hold it's value over time.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    I bought a 20 frame extractor in my second year with 3 hives ( 2 died). I always buy good tools - sometimes over-done. What drove my decision was the diameter and time to extract "clean". The bigger the diameter, the greater the extraction force - farther from the center of rotation greater the extraction force. Honeycomb should not be close or overlap the axis of rotation. The larger the diameter more frames can be loaded as well as a tangential option using a basket. I can load deeps and mediums into mine but I am 95-100% mediums now.

    I thought it was a misuse of money, over-done, until I had to extract more than 800 b. this year - from 7 hives! Fortunately I had bought extra medium frames - there were no "extras" by mid-summer nor spare supers as I rotated frames from super to extractor . Mine is AC or DC powered, Dc motor (unique! In case I have to or want to run on a battery or in a field ). It has a timer - load up 20 frames and walk away and do something else. Also a good place to store frames until I can uncap - I often pulled capped honey frames to open up storage space during the flow. If I did not have this powered 20 framer I would not have an arm left - lost sleep. It is also nice to help out other people too. Bigger extractors or salad spinner as I like to call them, are more difficult to balance. The solution seems to mount the extractor on a dolly with swivel wheels. I will do more like add mass/weight and attach a couple of dampers. I once forgot to de-cap one frame, walked away, and the spinner "walked away" as other frames were spun dry! Honey on the floor! Bucket goes on the the dolly.

    One final reason - I really clean my frames and spin at maximum RPM for 20 mintues after ti think they are dry. As part of my hygienic efforts I never mover honey from one hive to another, not even a wet frame. I rinse them out.

    Best of luck in your choice.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Colbert Washington
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    My 2 choices now are the Dadant ranger or Maxant. The Dadant is almost $180 cheaper than the Maxant after shipping

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    4,294

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    The $823 electric powered Dadant Ranger can only do 6 mediums or shallows radially. If you want to do deeps, you have to purchase an optional set of frame inserts for $92. It has a direct drive motor.

    The Maxant does 6 med/ shallows radially and it can also do three deeps tangentially as is. Motor has a belt so if stuff "happens" and the basket locks up, the belt will slip and potentially save the motor.

    Did I mention I like my Maxant?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    622

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    If you are new,I wouldn't rush into an extractor purchase.Have you joined your local or state bee club?Almost all have loaners or rentals.
    Have you been to any meetings where there are equipment vendors.Some vendors will have a show special or demo units and almost all will bring your order so you can save on shipping.
    I have heard many stories of beginning beeks making early impulse buys only to find that either they lose interest or they find that their hive numbers go up and they wish they had a motor or had a larger extractor.
    In the short term you can keep you eyes open and put the word out to local dealers and on social media for gently used equipment.
    What you save on a used extractor can go for a nice stainless uncapping tank.With 8 hives and a good flow atable top unit will be too small.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Colbert Washington
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    That is interesting about the Dadant extractor. I run 2 deep boxes for my brood nest and use mediums for honey supers. I am a member of my local beekeeping club and will ash them about extractor purchases that could save on shipping. I got 11 gallons of honey from one hive this first year and a single gallon from the second hive as it became honey bound. I split the honey bound hive and had 4 hives going into winter. I have no plan nor desire to ever have more than 8 hives since I have other hobbies that take a good amount of my time. I will also be lending the extractor to a friend who has 2 hives and two family members who have a hive each

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Pensacola, Florida
    Posts
    164

    Default Re: Honey extractor choices

    [QUOTE=mgolden;I think it would function quite a bit better than a inverted cone bottom. I can never get the perimeter of the cone to fully drain and eventually get a build up of crystalized honey on the perimeter.[/QUOTE]

    I had a 20 frame extractor and I put a 2x4 under the back of the tub (under the feet if have a stand or under the tub on top of the stand. It drained the extra honey out after a while.

    Just an idea you might want to think about.
    Peaches
    The Beekeepers Friend

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