Monday, July 16, 2012

Extracting My Honey

During the middle of last week I found time to visit my hive. I had taken 4 frames of foundation out to my hive with the intent to exchange them out for honey frames. My hive was looking marvelous! I was able to pull out 4 frames of capped honey and was reminded that I am dealing with insects that can sting (the girls pack a pretty good punch). 

Over the weekend I was able to uncap and extract my honey! Only having 4 frames, I did not find it necessary to run them through a Sideliner Uncapper. My weapon of choice was the Cappings Scratcher (would have been faster with a Cold Knife).

Uncapping Frame

Placed all of my frames in a Multi-Use Straining System while I uncapped one frame at a time. Included is a cross bar with a nail to rest your frame upon. Using the Uncapping Scratcher, I slid the forks slightly underneath the caps and lifted perpendicular to the frame. Working small sections at a time, I was able uncapped all 4 frames in little time.

Cappings Scratcher

 At the beginning of the nectar flow I was unsure if I would even be able to extract any honey this year. Now that I am able to work in 4 frames to extract, I was not prepared to invest in an extracting kit. Another benefit of joining a bee association or having a mentor is the ability to borrow some equipment until you are ready to invest in your own. 

With this being my first year as a beekeeper I did not want to put a lot of money into an extractor that I might grow out of in a couple of years. I was fortunate enough to use someone's extractor. The extractor I was allowed to use was an 18-frame motorized extractor. I only had 4 frames and one of the important things to make certain during the extracting is that your frames are evenly spread out in the extractor for balance. 

Frame in Extractor

Once all the frames were loaded, I started the extractor off at a slow speed. As i gradually increased the speed, I was able to see the honey being 'flung' from the frame.

Honey Coming Out of Honey Gate

Before I began extracting, I opened the honey gate and placed a bucket with a strainer to catch the honey as it flowed out. The strainer made certain that I had nice, clean honey (free of debris). 

Bee in Extractor

The bees that had followed me into the extracting room were drawn to the extractor as the honey was being drawn out of the frames. All in all I was able to extract 8-10lbs of honey. As it was coming out of the honey gate I had to sneak in the finger taste test. 

Best Honey I Have Ever Had!

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