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Discussion Starter #1
I am in my second year and may get some honey this year. I MAY get some! Anyway, I have 4 hives this year and two started as nucs 2 as packages.

What equipment does a fella need to uncap and extract and bottle on a small scale? I see all the stuff in the catalogs and for the most part, that is the most expensive equipment in beekeeping. I just dont know where to start. I kinda need some input from folks that have been doing it for a bit.

If I can manage my bees through the winter, I would like to gradually expand the number of hives next year and so on. What are you all doing to extract on a smaller scale? I would also like to try some comb honey or chunk honey. I am only gonna maybe have one or two that make any this year, so we are not talking about much. Even for the next few years I probably wont be extracting 5 hives or so at the most. Just considering luck and nature!

Rob
 

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I'm not aware of any way to extract without using a device that exerts centrifugal force. When I say "extract" I mean cutting the cappings, and removing the honey leaving the comb intact.

Short of having an extractor, you can squeeze the honey out of the comb using a homemade press. Or you can just harvest comb honey.

Or you can borrow/rent an extractor.
 

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All you need at a minimum is a knife to cut the comb from the frame, kitchen collander, some cheese cloth and kettles. Crush the comb and let the honey drip/strain through the cheese cloth in the collander, into a kettle or pail. (This assumes you are using wax foundation or foundationless frames.) Everything else is optional. A pail with the bottom honey gate is very useful as a bottling unit; just let the honey settle for a few days, wax and such will rise to the top and you bottle sparkling honey out the bottom. The stainless steel stainers are mesh cloth you can buy are a nice step up from the collander, but again, optional.
 

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I borrow an extractor and use our church kitchen for extracting (Pastor gets honey and I leave everything spotless when I'm done).

I bought a honey gate, an uncapping fork, and a double strainer from the bee catalogue. I also bought two sizes of bottles with caps.

I bought plastic tubs & storage containers at Walmart for uncapping, holding frames after they've been uncapped, drip pans, etc.

I got food grade plastic pails for free from a local bakery. I put the honey gate on one pail and use it when I'm putting honey in bottles.
 

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I had two hives to harvest last year. I bottled 82 pounds. Probably would have had more but these two hives had split from one and had to build up foundation. I had a Maxant 3100H hand crank extractor and my husband and I managed. But we are not getting younger and my bee "collection" is expanding so this year I bought the motor for that extractor. I do not plan to have more than 4 hives tops. So this size extractor is perfect for me. But I would have been better off in the pocketbook if I had bought the same extractor with the motor to begin with as its more expensive to add later.

My advice is to search your heart and put a maximum on the number of hives you plan to have and buy large enough to start with or if you will stay small, get motorized to start with. Just my 2 cents. Susan

P.S. I got my free food grade buckets from Walmart bakery. I use a simple scraper not heated. Susan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How is the best way to get the bees out of your supers when you are ready to extract? Do you prefer to use the escape & fume boards? If so what are the most favorable types to use and how long can you expect it to take to run the bees out?

Rob
 

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I use fume boards w/ bee-go, 5-10 minutes bees are clear and supers can be pulled. Using multiple boards and rotating them ahead of us as we go we can pull a lot of supers quickly. Some also prefer a bee blower, never used one but have seen them used and they are effective if properly used.
 

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I take the full super and stand it on it's side for a couple of hours, by then, bees think that this super
is not part of their hive and you can continue to work with shorts & t-shirt, using a leaf blower and blow them out.

I like to use the fork to lift off wax.
http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c97/fruitnut_/Honeybee/IMG_4795_1_2_1.jpg
Lift off wax with fork in one pass, consider using a extractor and save your comb for the next
load of honey,...makes it easier for the bees.

Konrad
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nice image, good looking frame of honey! Do you get an escape board for every hive, or do you just rotate it out from hive to hive? How much of that bee go do you have to use?

Rob
 

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Im small scale, 1st year and the same amount of hives but i became a member of a local beekeepers assoc that i have access to 2 extractors. The one extractor is on a trailor that you can pull to where ever you want to extract the honey from the frames. you might want to look in on maybe finding out where a beekeepers assoc is near you by going to ky beekeepers assoc web site. The state bought these extractors just for the club! So they might of done the same thing for the other clubs. You never know, you might beable to save your money for now!! Worth a shot!!

Here is a list:
http://www.kyagr.com/statevet/bees/association/index.htm
 

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Bee-go, just so you know what your dealing with, (if you go that route) is the same stuff the guy's on the show Whale Wars, use to throw on the whaling vessels. You really REALLY don't want to spill it in the truck.
 

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I use Fischer's Bee Quick. It gets about 90% of the bees out and I brush the rest. Never tried Bee-Go, but from what I've read, I would rather brush a few bees & take longer than take a chance on spilling it.
 
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