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Extractor choice

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andynorton 

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I'll probably only have a small number of supers to extract this year, but hoping to get another couple of hives next year, to bring my total to 4 or 5.
I'm not sure if I'm going to buy an extractor this year yet, (depends if I can borrow one or not!) but if I do, I'm not too sure what to buy.
What advice would you give someone buying their first extractor?
I'm reasonably happy with handling the hives now, but other than reading the books, and being shown very briefly on a course, I've got no experience in harvesting the honey.

Is the Thornes bees on a budget extractor of very poor quality? (I guess yes)

https://secure.thorne.co.uk/popup/package4.htm

Other than it having a 2 frame capacity and being very slow to use, would I be better spending three times the money on a quality item?

They all seem to have a very high residual value when you see 2nd hand ones advertised on ebay, so I guess I can change my mind later without losing much money?

Your advice would be much appreciated!
 

East Yorks New Bee 

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You guess wrong, the bees on a budget extractor is really well built, the only draw back with it is that it only takes two super frames at a time, and with it being a tangential extractor, means turning the frames round to extract from both sides, so it is time consuming and if you have a large number of supers to extract it will take you ages.You are better going with a radial extractor with a bigger capacity for frames.
 
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Hivemaker. 

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Nine frame stainless radial,with screens,is a nice size for a few hives.
 

OXFORDBEE 

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Make sure it has a motor if you get a nine frame radial as it can take a while to extract. Also, the extractor can be quite light and needs to be fixed to a board as it can bet unbalanced easily, especially if some of the combs are partially set...

I use commercial supers so it can get even slower with only 6 frames being held due to the small barrel size. Mind you a 9 frame extractor easily fits through a doorway.

Screens are essential... and don't forget that tangental extaction (using screens) is quicker and more efficient than radial extraction.

If you get a manual 6 frame tangental that might be a better bet for less than 10 hives. You'll also be able to extract if the lights go out....
 

Poly Hive 

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Tangential extraction is SLOWER than Radial even with swing baskets.

If you are considering Heather at some point then Tangential is the way to go.

If Heather does not feature at any point in your plans then Radial is the obvious way to go.

PH
 

OXFORDBEE 

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> Qicker even though you need to put the frames in and turn them twice before removing them?

Just going back to my youth when using a 6 frame hand powered tangental extractor and comparing it with a motorised 9 fame Universal I had until recently. I'm certain I read about it somewhere, and turning the combs does not take much time.

It's also a personal opinion. if I had a choice between a manual 9 frame radial and a manual 6 frame tangental I'd go for a tangental, but then that's me.

Poly Hive certainly has much more experiance than I have and if he states that swing basket tangentals are slower than Radials then he's right!
 
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OXFORDBEE 

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I'd be interested to know too. I've heard about heather being thixotropic and it can be aggitated then extracted using needle type aggitators. I also understand tangental extractors with cages for frames can be used to extract viscous honey.

How long does aggitated heather honey remain extractable for .. is it too short a time to extract it radially (efficiantly that is..)..?
 

marcros 

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be warned that needle agitators for heather are very expensive!
 

Poly Hive 

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Basically the pressure is insufficient and so the combs need to be presented at right angles to the barrel to give enough oomph to get the heather out.

You re quite right to say that agitation is needed as well and so I had/and still have one of these:

http://www.swienty.com/shop/vare.asp?side=0&vareid=107331

I used a 6 swing basket extractor for mine, usually taking off a ton per year. If I had thought for one moment I could have used a radial I would have both one as extracting blossom with a swing basket is a bit painful.

PH
 

OXFORDBEE 

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Ahh.. found the extractor reference: Manley's Beekeeping in Britain in the Appliances for Bee-keepers chapter (page 148):

“Probably the small bee-keeper will be well advised to purchase a good tangential machine. It will do all he require of it, and will not be nearly so tiring to use. The radial principle is quite effective, but for the removal of the honey is much slower, and radials have to be turned for a much longer time to do the work. These machines, however, hold four or five times as many combs as tangential extractors of comparable size, so the time factor is in favour of the radial reckoned at per comb extracted: the snag is that to go on turning an extractor by hand for fifteen or twenty minutes, as may be necessary when dealing with viscous or cold honey, is a trying job. The fact that radial extractors are really power machines: harnessed to power, they are first rate. I would not, myself, recommend small hand-power radials; but my personal experience is limited to one season when I borrowed one. I managed to extract honey well when combs were taken right off the hives and extracted while still warm. Cold honey I could not extract at all with it; but I have no doubt that had I cared to go on turning it long enough, I should have got it out in time.

If you think of setting up forty to one hundred stocks, you might be well advised to buy a twenty-comb radial extractor and arrange for it to be driven by a small electric motor-if you have current available; otherwise I think I would get a four-frame tangential machine.”
 

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