Recently I switched to going foundationless. I had hoped to still use my extractor but without the foundation the combs are just too fragile and they blow apart. However, I am enjoying the convenience of foundationless beekeeping and my bees seem to like designing and building their own comb, so I will just need to modify my harvesting method to become crush-n-strain instead of extraction. What I've tried is 1) cutting the comb from my frames, 2) mashing it up 3) pouring this wax/honey mass into a strainer atop 5-gallon buckets. This gets about 50-60% of the honey, however how do I collect the remaining 50%, or don't you? Maybe crush-n-strain results in a lot of waste. Last night I took the football size mass of wax/honey that hadn't drained through my strainer and I put it into my oven, the strainer right on top of a metal pot. My oven's minimum is 170, which apparently was too hot because both honey and wax dripped through.
I would appreciate any thoughts or experiences on how to BEST separate honey from wax after that initial pass through.
Hand knead the wax honey mix to break the wax down to small bits you will never get the honey out if there are still complete cells etc.
Drain it in a warm room. For thick viscous honeys the room may have to be uncomfortably warm to make the honey runny enough for a good drain.
On a slightly different tack, it was mentioned crush and strain is wasteful, and indeed, it is. Apart from the bees re doing everything every time, it affects hive management technique because you cannot go and just throw a super straight onto a hive that needs more room for honey, you have to mess with individual combs & doing things in such a way that the bees will get to the top of the box & draw the comb.
My thoughts are a kind of compromise. The main claimed benefits to foundationless are for the brood area. Nothing wrong with using foundationed combs for the honey boxes if you want to use an extractor. Course, some folks just don't want to mess with an extractor so for them, yes, crush & strain.
I use a paint strainer bag inside a salad spinner to clean up my cappings and blowouts (after a thorough potato mashing). It's as much for cleaning the honey out of the wax as it is for the honey. It's an OXO brand and I can really get it spinning fast.
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