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Hello All,

Just completed my first extraction. Thought I share the experience, as many of you helped get me there.

First, I rented a four frame electric extractor, electric uncapping knife, and an uncapping fork. All of these came from my local beekeeping store.

I purchased a 5 gallon bucket that has a honey gate valve. I also purchased a double stainless steel honey strainer.

I had asked the other day how to remove the bees from the frames, and many of you offered ideas. I went with the shake and brush method. Once all the bees were off the frame, I loaded the frames into a large coleman cooler. This worked out nicely.

Then came the uncapping. I used a large rectangular tupperware-ish tub (the kind of thing that would hold clothes under a bed). I put a queen excluder on top of it, then a board with a nail pointing upward (to hold the frame steady when uncapping). Then I began cutting. The cappings would fall onto the queen excluder, and honey drained through. Turns out this probably isn't necessary, as the strainer I purchased does a good job of dealing with the cappings.

The extractor was simple, draining the frames in about 2 minutes/side (A nice warm day helped the honey flow easily).

Then I opened the valve and poured the honey through the strainer. The result was a gorgeous blond honey. Yum.

Still tallying the quantity.

After completing the work, I returned the harvested frames to the honey super on the hive. The bees appeared to be delighted with the return of comb laced with honey.

Thanks everyone for the ideas, help and wisdom.

Question: During the process, a few bees found out where I was working. I can imagine that with a large number of hives, an even larger group of bees would want to participate. Do most people wear a veil while extracting?

DG
 

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congradulations!

I had some trouble with bees breaking into my extracting room this year. Its best to seal off the room. I was frantically filling in the cracks of my dilapedated storage building with paper and a sheet as the many bees were trying to get in. A few would still get in ocassionally and I found if I turned of the light they would go to the one functioning window. (They are attracted to light.) I would then open the window and let them out. They don't seem to be aggresive in the extracting room. Just overwhelmed with the smell of honey. They seemed to have a hard time finding it even though it was everywhere. Because of all my sealing up from the inside I was traped in the super hot room until I was done. Well except for once when I ran the gautlent at the front door and did the window bee flush once I got back. Yes I wore the veil to "run the gauntlet"
 

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DG, I forgot to warn you to not extract with the honey gate closed on the extractor. I guess you figured that out yourself. but it could have caused problems had the honey backed up high enough to interfere with the rotation of the frame guides.

In addition, I don't think anyone tries to extract outside. If you got away with that, you were lucky and i hope you can find someplace better for next time. If not, YES wear a veil.

My Honey house(garage with cars removed and a fantastic cleaning) is kept hot with the heater the night before extracting. The heater (Space heater) stays on until extracting is done. Full frames are stacked next to the heater for max fluidity.

Let me agree with MichaelW...

congradulations!

Hawk
 

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Thanks All,

Ah, the gate closed on the extractor. You are right, I was lucky, and I didn't know it until I read your post.

Lucky is the operative word in terms of location. Next time, I'll be in some sort of glass bubble.

The final numbers are in. I had 65% frames (6.5 out of 10). I thought there were more last weekend. Kind of strange. Anyway, the yield was exactly 2 gallons. We are thrilled!

DG
 

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Thank you all! I sure can learn allot from this post, since it will be my first extracting too this Year! [ I have a two frame extractor and 2 hives]
I will be using the uncapping fork.

Some questions I like to get answered please are:

What is the minimum temperature needed for extraction?
When the honey runs out of the extractor, will it strain OK thrue a nylon cloth [bought especially for this], or do you just strain it first thrue a wire strainer, then heat up the honey a bit to poor it easy thrue the very fine Nylon?
Do you fill container directly, like small gift Jars when extracting, or at some other time?
How do you wash the extractor? Gardenhose and water OK?
I'm soon going to be in a "sticky mess" too!
Konrad
 

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<What is the minimum temperature needed for extraction?>

I use a heater in the room and take it up to 95. It also helps keep the grandkids out. OOps you're Canadian. That was Farenheit.

<When the honey runs out of the extractor, will it strain OK thrue a nylon cloth [bought especially for this], or do you just strain it first thrue a wire strainer, then heat up the honey a bit to poor it easy thrue the very fine Nylon?>

Mine runs out of the extractor directly into the wire strainer. No cloth needed. No additional heat used. The strainer sits atop a five gallons bucket with a honey gate on it. (Small time hobbiest). I fill the buckets and set them aside for two days to let the bubbles come up. Then straight into the canning jars.

I think the hose and water is okay for the extractor. I use bleach and then have to really work to rinse it out. But I'm picky about my food. BTW that 95 number was high too. I know a guy that uses 80 and I bet you could even undercut that if you needed to.

Good luck.

Hawk
 

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Thank you Hawk!

The Bee Coop said, the honey has to be strained thrue the nylon cloth before sale!

Does anybody know, how warm the honey should be for easy run thrue?

Can I stack like 3 honey suppers on top of each other and place a heater under [chimney effect] before extracting?
Konrad
 

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"Can I stack like 3 honey suppers on top of each other and place a heater under [chimney effect] before extracting?"

I would think that might over dry the honey. Don't know what other advise to give as I don't strain my honey.
 

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Michael, don't even think a minute about putting heat under the supers. Wax slumps quickly when loaded with honey and warm. It is a recipe for a fire disaster. We heat the honey house and then place a fan on top of the supers to circulate warm air accross the frames. In addition to warming your honey and being safe it will improve the quality a bit by dehydration. I'm with Hawk, a 95 degree room is the best way to keep everything flowing.
 

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I was serious. I know it's not necessary but I extract in a 95 degree room.

Konrad, justlet it happen. If it's going through too slowly then go for a heater.

Hawk
 

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Hey Konrad

I just got 3 strainers of various fineness (200, 400, 600) that fit in the top of 5 gallon plastic buckets. They're $4.10 each & washable at Dadant. Might check them out if you're interested.

Lew
 

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What I do is uncap and then pack at least ten frames into one of those "storage tubs" you can get cheap at Walmart, etc. that measures 20x12 inches. It's Rubbermade, and is translucent with a blue cover. I put the uncapped frames in it, cover, and sit in the sun for a while, til quite warm on the top. Feed into the extractor til it starts to bog, and then drain thru a collander/screen to get the wax bits Then repeat of course). I collect into my biggest pots, and after a day or two skim off the scum (mostly micro-bubbles). This I heat up by floating the small container on a larger shallow pan of heated water and you get a surprising amount of honey pooling under the last of the foam. I add the last of the yuck foam to the cappings for the bees to clean up. The bulk gets heated in a double boiler til just about my tap's hottest water temp (still just barely uncomfortable to a dipped finger tip) and it goes nicely thru the finest mesh nylon strainer piece stretched over another pot with lots of clothes pins. Remember to wet that screen with hot water and wring out before pinning to the pot and things will start out MUCH faster. Then I funnel into 2 liter clean seltzer bottles for storage. When ready to bottle into the size final sale container needed, it's easy to pour/squeeze those soft plastic bottles.
 

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>Question: During the process, a few bees found out where I was working.

How? Were you outside? If you were outside, I'm amazed you didn't get swarmed by a feeding frenzy.

>I can imagine that with a large number of hives, an even larger group of bees would want to participate.

If they can get to it, they will ALL want to participate. (except a few nurse bees who have to babysit)

>Do most people wear a veil while extracting?

I have never worn a veil while extracting.
 

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Michael,

I'm embarassed to say, but it was kind of an amateur-ish chain of events that led me outdoors. Then again, I am an amateur. I'll say it again with pride, I am an amateur! Ah, that feels better.

I began in my garage, and a couple bees found their way into the room via poorly fitting doors. Then I had the grand idea that the honey would flow more freely if I put the extractor in the sun (it was about 90 degrees outside). One thing led to another. She told a friend, and she told a friend...I think you know where this is headed.

Anyway, we dodged a bullet for sure. It could have gotten ugly, but it was just a slight inconvenience.

Epilogue: The remainder of Saturday and all day Sunday was wrapped in a certain bliss, as I reflected on the entire experience. I am so delighted by the whole beekeeping experience. First thing this morning, I made a PowerPoint slide show and shared it with all of my colleagues. They seemed interested...but then again, I'm their boss, and they had no choice but to watch, ooh, and ah. I mean, what can be more exciting than a still photo of honey flowing from a honey gate?

Cheers.

DG
 

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Hawk,

I'm still coming to grips with the trauma that seems to have passed me by. I can only imagine how insane that situation could have gotten. Absoultely frightening!

But, I think I'm ready to deal with the demon...so here it goes, "I will never attempt to extract outside." Ah, that wasn't so bad.

Thanks for the beekeeper intervention.

Cheers.

DG
 

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>Anyway, we dodged a bullet for sure. It could have gotten ugly, but it was just a slight inconvenience.

If it had been a dearth...

>I'm still coming to grips with the trauma that seems to have passed me by. I can only imagine how insane that situation could have gotten. Absoultely frightening!

I doubt that you can acutally imagine how insane it would have gotten. Unfortunately, I can.


You should always extract in a beeproof area. For me that's always been the kitchen.
 

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Thank you all!

garyl,
some good hints you have posted!
I like that mini greenhouse idea!
Konrad
 
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