Hi everybody, I have 4 medium super full of honey and no extracter. What is the best way to get the honey out without an extracter. I thought I would mash up the comb and drain it on a queen excluder into a pail, Any better methods out there ?
My first year I had no extractor either. I uncapped the comb with a hot knife, and let it drain, for a long time. If you can heat the combs some way, it will drain faster. The other option, if you can, is rent an extractor, or pay somebody to do it for you.
I have done it for years various ways, but I think I would buy either an uncapping tank or a double bucket. (every supplier seems to have the uncapping tank. Brushy Mt has the double bucket strainer.) Or try making your own bucket strainer. I'd put some screen wire on the bottom of the bucket and don't use the cloth that comes with it. Or make a double bucket yourself. It's two five gallon buckets. The bottom of one is cut out with a lip left to hold a metal disk that has holes in it. The bottom of this bucket is glued (silicon chalk?) to a lid with a hole the same size in it. This is put on a normal five gallon bucket or one with a honey gate.
Then, yes, I mash it up with my bare hands and let it drain. Be careful if there is wire in the foundation you could cut yourself.
I'm not sure if it would work very well to uncap and drain them because I've seen the bees hold honey in odd position just with the surface tension of the honey. I don't think you'd get much of it out. But I have thought of trying to build a box that would hold ten frames upside down and put this on top of an uncapping tank and let it drain.
Uncapping and letting it drain. It will work, but like I said, it takes a while. You can mash all the comb, but then you are left with no comb, and starting all over. Choice is yours. And like I said, heating it up will help it drain. Even if you put an entire super in some enclose heated with light bulbs, and get it to about 95 degrees, it will drain...
[This message has been edited by Hook (edited October 12, 2002).]
I harvested my honey this year without an extractor the way an older German lady told me. She cuts the comb with a knife around the support wires, leaving about 1/2"-3/4" around all wires and edges of the frames. She then gives the frames back to the bees and feeds them sugar syrup so they have something to use to make more comb on the empty frames. It has worked fine for me so far. I heard horror stories about the bees making wild looking combs but by leaving the small amount of old comb for them, I guess they have a pattern to follow. After the comb is cut from the frames, sell some of it as cut comb and whatever you want to use as plain honey put in a large pot on the stove. Heat, but don't boil, it very slowly until it all mixes together and there are no lumps. It will look like motor oil with water mixed in it. Turn off the heat and leave it in the pot, covered if you prefer, overnight. In the morning, the wax will rise to the top and the honey will be below that. Remove the layer of wax and save this for candle making, waxing bowstrings or whatever. Pour the honey through a couple layers of cheese cloth or a 5 gallon bucket strainer (got mine from Dadant's) into a 5 gallon bucket with an airtight lid. Then pour the strained honey directly into jars. Wipe the tops of the jars, put on lids and labels, and you have a delicious, marketable product. I sold almost 15 gallons from 2 hives this year and barely saved enough for my own use! The heating isn't enough to harm the honey and everyone I sold it to said it was the best honey they've ever had. Good luck.
Melting does work, but loses some of the nuances of flavor. I prefer to crush, and drain first and then melt the wax as described above to get the last of the honey. The heated honey, I just feed to the bees.
the first years of keeping bees I used to buy a new panty hose or knee highs and scrap off all the honey with a large spoon into panty hose hang let drip takes most the night then in the morn you will have clean dry cappings and nice honey.
I would never put any heat to my honey as it kill most eminezines and taste.
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