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Rosti 

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Last year (autum harvest) I decapped with a hot serated knife, it was okay but would have cost drawn comb and I suspect yield.
Spring 2010 de-cap was done using a hot airgun set at 350'C (low heat) and simply played over the comb (at about 40-50mm distance from comb) until cappings melted back.

Seemed to work well and mess was kept to an absolute minimum. Good extraction yield, good comb definition and depth retained on extracted frames, a very small minority of cells did not extract fully, very little wax debris found on filters, no collapsed frames. (limited experiment, I only had 2 supers x9 to extract).

I was pleased with the outcome but can you improve on the technique I used? Are you a traditional knife de-cap supporter or a strong advocate of a completely different de-cap methodology?
 

Poly Hive 

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There are two good reasons for "deep uncapping".

Bear in mind I used Manley frames so there is a substantial amount of honey in my cappings when I extracted. Hence my spin drier trick.

However reason one is it gives the wax workers work to keep them from playing with building queen cells.... and generally idling and losing queen substance and so on.

The other is wax it's self. Very useful source of income is wax esp when turned in to value added products such as polish and candles.

Which is why I am not keen on the hot air gun technique.

PH
 

rae 

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We just used a sharp smooth-serrated bread knife to do 5 supers at the weekend which worked well. I suppose we had about two pounds of honey in the cappings, and about 90lb in the bucket.
 

Jimmy 

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I tried the hot air gun technique but found it too fiddly and just involved spreading sticky/propolis hands onto yet another surface/tool. The layout of my kitchen (= my extraction room) didn't make it straightforward in terms of physical logistics and also put me off.
I currently decap using a cold bread knife with the cappings dropping into a large bowl. For me, it means less mess and a far simpler operation.
 

Rosti 

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Jimmy, we've had very different experiences, very limited mess, I just did mine over a large s/s tray and straight into the extractor.

PH, if I am not interest in a wax yield but want to pick up on your point about giving the girls some work to do. Can I simply melt frames back further after extraction to leave a good comb bed but some work to do? I am a hobbyist remember so I can afford the effort! ... but ...

With regard giving them some work to do, does this have greater emphasis on the autum harvest for draw out in spring? Spring harvest to Autumn, is out of main swarm season so leave the full comb length?

I haven't perceived returning too much good comb to a hive as a problem. A relative problem no doubt given I am a 2nd yr beek so have limited drawn comb at this time anyway.
 

VEG 

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Rosti I too use the hot air gun method. Used it last weekend and no mess anywhere, the extractor was very clean and again the filters had very little in them. I have put the empty combs back in the supers but have gone from 11 frames to 10 on castellations.
 

Poly Hive 

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Once extracted why not just cut them back with a knife? Best of both worlds?

PH
 

VEG 

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Poly do they cut easily once the cells are empty of honey or does it do some damage? Only asking as I have never tried cutting empty comb with a knife.
 

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