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I dont have a unlimited bee budget, and am trying to settle on how to spend what i have available.

i intend to purchase more bees this spring as well as doing splits of my two current hives. i intend to spend some of my bee dollars on woodware , frames and foundation.

If i purchase an extractor now i can afford less bees and woodware, how ever, i wonder how important it is to re use comb. will i get more honey from fewer hives if i have comb for them.

Part of me wants to wait until next summer and get a larger extractor than what i can now with bees and woodware.
 

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rb, if at all possible join a bee club that has a "club extractor" for rent or for free. Or, find a local beekeeper that you might "hire" to let you use his/her extractor with his help...you might could trade it out in beeyard labor (which would be a win-win for you as it would give you some experience under an experienced beekeeper)...it might strike up a good friendship, too! :)

If you have enough to extract you probably will have a little to sell. I made honey my first year but gifted it all away or ate it. ;) The next year I sold a little over $400 worth (and ate some...ok, a lot :D ). This year I figure I will match last year's sales and maybe a little more. All of this is going to the "extractor fund". But, I've been blessed to have a mentor that looks forward to me bringing my supers over to his honey house to extract.

My recommendation on woodenware, if you're in the same boat as I am...no woodshop but owner of a circular saw and a few other tools, is to purchase supers and to build covers from AdvanTech plywood/subflooring (basically a souped up plywood that is moisture resistant). Covers are expensive (especially telescoping covers)...out of a $30 sheet of AdvanTech I think you can get something like 10 covers. Bottom boards are a little more complex being as I'm using screened bottom boards with oil tray traps. These are purchased screened bottom boards. Hopefully in the future I will start building these also. But, if you're going with solid bottom boards then AdvanTech again will give you some very low-cost and durable equipment.

Drawn comb is good to have on hand, but...not having it isn't the end of the world, though. Remember if you crush and strain that also opens up candle making, lip balm making, etc., to you. :)

I don't know what to tell you about fewer hives with drawn comb making more honey than more hives with foundation or foundationless frames to work with. Maybe someone will comment on that.

It sounds like this coming spring you are interested in making bees rather than honey...which is logical in establishing your beeyard. Even if you focus on making bees you will still produce some honey. Just don't get so wrapped up in the honey making that you lose sight of your goal of "increase". My first couple of years were kind of a crap shoot...I was hanging on for the ride. I ended up increasing my number of hives *and* making honey. I don't know if I'm any better at keeping bees (I like to think so, but then part of me says... :rolleyes: ) but I've slowly grown to eight colonies from my initial three. I hear of people jumping from two to twenty in a couple of years but I think I'm better off learning as I go and not overloading my derriere...I guess I'm a slow learner. :eek:

If you will be able to afford a larger extractor next year from earnings from your "day job", then I would wait and get the larger one...I don't think that trying to avoid crush and strain this year will warrants prematurely buying a "too small" extractor. Either "crush and strain" or find someone with an extractor that you can use. Either way, I would wait for the bigger extractor...matter of fact, I am still waiting. ;)

Best wishes!
Ed
 

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I have two packages started on all drawn comb who have three supers each I will be harvesting tomorrow. I also have 3 packages started on foundation who have one super each, I will also be harvesting. The drawn comb bees built up very quickly.
 

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Part of me wants to wait until next summer and get a larger extractor than what i can now with bees and wooden ware.
"get a larger extractor" that says that you have one already. Spend your money on wooden ware and bees until you don't have enough time to extract the honey.
 

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I agree with Ed "Intheswamp" advice about finding a local club with an extractor. Here is a local club to check with:
https://sites.google.com/site/rutherfordbeekeepers/about-us/home

An alternative is to use the services of someone local that is willing to extract for you. I found this listing on the Rutherford County Beekeepers Facebook page:

Steve Brown is looking to buy some honey. He will pay $150.00 for a 5 gallon bucket of strained honey or $60.00 for a super of honey, he will extract and give you back your super and frames.
His phone number is 704-473-9599

https://www.facebook.com/rcbees
That $60 per super may help you afford what you want to buy. :)

If none of the above are satisfactory, you could also join the Buncombe County Beekeepers (Asheville) group, and use their extractor , as mentioned here:
http://wncbees.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/North-Carolina-Master-Beekeeper-Program.pdf
 
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