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We have a few first year beekeepers who have never bottled honey or packaged cut comb before.

Can members describe how they do things ? from how they clear the supers to how they label.

I am sure we will all get some good tips from the thread.

Do you bottle monofloral honey ?
Heather Honey ?
Cut comb ?
Do you spin your frames or crush and strain ?
What size jars do you use ?
Do you purchase labels or make your own ?
Do you sell your honey ? how do you market it ?
 
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Okay - well as a fairly new beek and small scale I'll start this one off.......

Last year I got the massive amount of 5lbs of honey. I cleared used Porter bee escapes, to be honest they weren't that succesfull, as there were still bees in the super the following week............I don't know how that can be, maybe somebody can enlighten.

This year for my spring honey I didn't have any full supers, but several sealed frames (10) so I just picked them out and brushed the bees off. It took two goes, the first over the hive, then I put them to one side and covered and then had another brush when I'd finished everything else, it was easy, but I wouldn't want to do a large amount.

I extract using a tangential 6 frame. I uncapped using my very sharpe knife, I put the cappings into an aluminium tray in the sunlight in my kitchen, then spun the frames. I seived to get big lumps out through a normal kitchen seive, then I put the honey through a jelly bag (I make a lot of jam and it is nylon and used for hanging fruit pulp) including most from the cappings tray. It took 2 days to eventually go through, then I put a lid on the honey container and stirred several times a day with a big whisk until I couldn't any longer - this inadvertently creamed my honey for me :)

In the meantime I put the remaining cappings and the trimmings from the supers into a saucepan, added rainwater and brought to the boil, strained it through muslin into a plastic container. When the wax had set, I took it off and did the whole thing again - twice I think, till I had pretty clean wax. The first lot of water which had the most honey in I put it in my feed container with some thymol mix and have re-fed it back to a couple of nucs I made.

To bottle the honey, I stood the container in a sink of hot water for several hours till it was moveable again. The water never got above 49c and I kept topping up with hot to keep the temperature correct. My honey bucket didn't have a tap so I ladled an amount into a hard plastic bowl. Gave it a 30 second zip in the microwave which upped it's fluidity and helped any air bubbles rise and then poured into jars. I have proper tareable catering scales so that bit was easy. I used 340g (12oz) hexagonal jars which I have lots of as I use them for jam (I sell) bought from Brisol Bottle (Bottlesouth). Gold twist grip lids - from Thornes and labels also from Thornes.

I'm selling through my local shop and also privately and will eventually get a sign for my field gate.

It sounds fiddly, it was my first real go and there are things I will change, I'm going to make a warming cabinet as it was a terrible waste of time hanging round and keeping the water topped up. Last years (summer) honey never set so was bottled easily.

I haven't got a big kitchen or area to use so I will probably extract another super next week, I was going to do it today but not enough was capped.

I got 27lbs - 35 jars

Frisbee
 

Mosquito 

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I use Porter bee escapes and only find around 10 bees left after 48 hours.
You have to make sure the wires are spaced apart and not touching.

I uncap using a Bread knife.
Tryed a heat gun and did not get on with it.
Plus I get some wax using a knife.
I put the capping into a bowl and give it back to the bees to clean.

I use a nine frame plastic extractor.
Pour it into a honey bucket, through a normal kitchen sieve.
Store my buckets in my cupboard.
Wait till I have 2 to 4 buckets of honey.
Then put then into a honey tank through a Conical nylon straining bag.
Then bottle into 1 lb Jars.
I buy the labels ready made.
Sell my honey from my house.
And alway sell it all for £3.00 a jar.
 
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crazy_bull 

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I used to use porter bee escapes however they require 2 visits to the apiary and even then they sometimes didn't work. Due to my hectic schedule i now use a leaf blower to clear the supers with a piece of mesh over the air intake to bee's being drawn in. With two people you can clear alot of supers quickly.

The supers are then taken to the honey room, which depending on time of year and honey type may be heated to 30degrees for an afternoon. (Great for OSR thats got a bit cold during the journey home).

I uncap using a heated knife and all cappings are saved until i have 100kg+ then they are all gently heated in a warming tank to remove as much honey as i can, after that the whole lot is heated up further and water added to reclaim the wax.

The frames are extracted in a 15 frame stainless extractor and the honey is put into the same warming tank and gently warmed (if needed) and allowed to settle out, the debris is scraped off the top, then the honey is tapped off into buckets for storage.

Bottleing is done throughout the year (flat out at the moment) by re-warming the buckets of honey and then straining using the 'strainaway' filtering system (40micron for set/creaming honey 60mcron for clear honey) and then bottled. Weights are checked using an approved set of scales (to keep the trading standards man happy)

Lables are printed by Thornes and are lot numbered by hand.

Jar sizes are 4, 8, 12 oz and 1lb,

Bucket sales are in 3lb 5lb and 30lb

Selling is done via the door or to farm shops/deli's/local shops etc




C B
 

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Don't disregard the cappings

I am always amazed by how much honey comes off with the cappings, no matter how carefully, and thinly, I have removed them. I tape a short piece of batten across the top of a clean honey bucket. The batten has a small nail tacked into it; the nail point is useful for holding the super frames while we uncap them. I also use a serated bread knife, regularly dipped in a jug of hot water.When I have taken off all the cappings, I leave them in a honey bucket, propped up so that the honey drains out slowly into a bowl. Leave it overnight in a warm place, next to the AGA ! and by the next morning I get another jar of honey (at least) which we use for home consumption. The cappings are then put in an empty feeder box and left on top of the supers for the bees to clean up. This takes about a week. The cappings are then melted down for wax exchange.

We're averaging 25 - 30 lbs from each super. Any more and I would be struggling to lift them, this why I stick to Nationals!
 

chalkie 

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Frisbee: which size of labels from thornes did you use for the 12oz hex jars as i have the same jars.

thanks
 
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Thanks, whats the quality like, you wouldn't have a picture of them on a jar would you.
I just put one on for you only to find the battery in my camera is flat, so it's on charging and I'll do it later, gotta go and put my chooks to bed, so it will be done in about an hour and a half :)

I like them.

When I was over at gandalf/Widdershins at the weekend we were talking labels there and they were showing us some of the poorer quality Thorne's labels, they were pre-printed with a design and then overprinted with the wording and they did look rubbish, but these are plain gold so okay.

Frisbee
 
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chalkie 

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I had been looking at the L1 and L26, did you bother with any of the other tamper and granulation labels.
 

chalkie 

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Thanks for taking the time to post picture, still undecided, good shelf life there i noticed :)
 

minature_hero 

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Bottling

Some great little ways of doing things here but one thing that is taking the time for me is getting the honey from the honey bucket to the individual jars. At the moment I decant some to a jug and fill the jars from there but how do others do this bit?
A honey bucket with a tap at the bottom?

I'm looking at a way that will speed things up a little :)
 

jezd 

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Some great little ways of doing things here but one thing that is taking the time for me is getting the honey from the honey bucket to the individual jars. At the moment I decant some to a jug and fill the jars from there but how do others do this bit?
A honey bucket with a tap at the bottom?

I'm looking at a way that will speed things up a little :)
http://www.swienty.com/shop/vare.asp?side=0&vareid=110896

that has to be the way?

:cheers2:

Joking aside, has anyone seen this working?
 

Chris B 

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I used a beer brewing tank for a year or two. For a small amount of honey it's fine but as mentioned before it's slower than a proper honey valve.

I also used a homemade warming cabinet for a long time. It was just an old freezer but with 2 standard light fittings put in so I could set the heat from 40 watts up to 200 watts by switching bulbs. It would warm up to 45 degrees within 24 hours, anything up to 120lb honey depending on outside temperature, but without a thermostat it needed checking to avoid cooking the honey. I got to know the timings better eventually, but every now and again a few buckets of "cooking honey" provided a good excuse for honey cakes etc. With hindsight I think a decent fan heater with thermostat might have worked better.

Cappings can also be pressed through muslin by hand. Again, only to be recommended for smallish amounts or it becomes a real chore. If you warm a bucket of cappings to 45 degrees for a few hours you'll find the top inch or so becomes dense cappings and below that is about 90% honey. You just skim of the cappings layer. You can also buy a small fruit press for a few hundred quid and press cappings more efficiently, and use it for fruit too.

I've never found a good uncapping knife that is comfortable for more than a few supers. I just use a cheap bread knife.

Finally, propolis on the kitchen floor will test any relationship. It will appear there whatever you do. Get a good scraper to remove the bulk and then a suitable cleaning fluid. I've found washing soda works, but slowly. I'm sure there's something better. Anyone?
 

oliver90owner 

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Dish-washing powder - if you can find it, as most supplies in supermarkets are now tablets - and borrow a motorised floor scrubber from your local school or college?

Regards, RAB
 

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