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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a beginning beekeeper, planning ahead for 2-4 two hives. When I finally get honey I will not have to access to an extractor and will have to crush and strain. I do have an antique apple press (without the inner bucket) and was wondering if I can put the comb into the press and just crank it down to crush the comb. There is a spout at the bottom to drain the honey into the strainer over a bucket. I am sure I can exert enough pressure to compact the comb quite a bit, but wonder if I will get it all out, or if I will trap some in the crushed comb.

Does anyone have any experience with such a device/method?
 

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It'll work but one of the most valuable resources for your 2nd year is drawn comb.
 

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It will take a lot of honey to coat all the area in that press You will get better yield just using a colander and chopping it up and letting it drain.
 

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Easiest way to do it... get one of those 5 gallon strainer bags for paint, put in the comb, put on gloves, squeeze and mash the comb while it's in the strainer bag then suspend it over your final container.
 

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I am a beginning beekeeper, planning ahead for 2-4 two hives. When I finally get honey I will not have to access to an extractor and will have to crush and strain. I do have an antique apple press (without the inner bucket) and was wondering if I can put the comb into the press and just crank it down to crush the comb. There is a spout at the bottom to drain the honey into the strainer over a bucket. I am sure I can exert enough pressure to compact the comb quite a bit, but wonder if I will get it all out, or if I will trap some in the crushed comb.

Does anyone have any experience with such a device/method?
I have had a lot of established hive removals to do and this is the way I ended up dealing with all the honey in the comb.
I checked the apple press too but this seemed a better solution. Still used the painters filter to keep it all inside the SS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-Ys-RV9Wgo
 

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there was an old joke about the guy that wanted the old time flavor of maple syrup. turned out that bugs and bird doo doo with rain water boiled down gave the old time taste. I think of this joke every time the crush and strain comes up. do what ya gota do. lol
 

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i haven't quite figured out the point of comb honey.. i like to pour honey on cereal and biscuits. having it in a jar or bottle makes that easier than stuck in wax.

crushing isn't efficient for commercial use but for a few hives at home it makes the most sense. not sure how it is much different than extracted if you use good combs and keep dead bees out.
 

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not sure how we'd know your comment was referring to cut outs.. the OP is talking about a few home hives.

Even doing a full super wouldn't take that long. a 5 gal bucket, strainer and a gate valve is still quite a bit more affordable than an extractor.
 

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I hope to have enough hives someday to justify an extractor, but last year, my first year, I only harvested a few deep frames of honey. It was easy to do, no bee parts. I mashed up the comb in a big bowl and strained it through a mesh kitchen strainer, and it worked fine. I did sort of hate to destroy all that beautiful foundationless comb, but I don't really see the point of getting a cheap hand-cranked extractor, If all you have are a few hives. It's probably less hassle to crush and strain than to extract when you're only doing small quantities. Plus, you get lots of beeswax that way. I got enough to make a couple of candles, and that seems a bit like magic.

cutcomb.jpg
 

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I crushed and strained the first year , it worked fine we got a little over 60 LBS of honey . The big down side is is your destroying all the drawn comb the bee's worked so hard to build , drawn comb is very valuable in the hive .
 

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Does anyone have any experience with such a device/method?
If you look at some cider making websites you will see that grooved separators are sometimes placed between layers of ground up apples before pressing. The divisions provide additional outlets from which the juice can exit. The same thing should help with combs of honey.

I would recommend that you simply buy a couple of 600 micron strainers, and maybe a pair of 400 micron strainers and food grade plastic buckets...
 

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Double what laketrout says! I did the c & s last year (my 1st year) and got about 9 3/4 gallons of great honey. Now I'm going to start scrambling to get them to draw out foundation in order to help prevent swarming.
If I had to do it all over again, with a tight beebudget, I would try to make a cheap 2 frame extractor to save the comb.
Last fall a neighbor gave me on old hand crank extractor that I refurbished over the winter so I should be OK going forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Great information, thanks everyone. I agree it is a shame to lose the comb, but short of extraction I have not been able to find a solution. Honey is apparently too viscous to just drip out out of an uncapped comb.

Why would the bees not recycle the wax if I just put a lump of it back into the hive? At least they would not have to make new wax.
 

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Why would the bees not recycle the wax if I just put a lump of it back into the hive? At least they would not have to make new wax.
If you put wax in the hive the only thing they will do with it is attach it right where you put it. They will rework the wax to fasten it to whatever it is touching.

They do reuse propolis and will collect it off of old equipment and take it back to the hive.
 
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