First honey of the season

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Steve A 

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Whatever you do don’t put labels on until you sell it and invest in one of these
Ok but how do you extract the honey into the jars easier & less messy than spinning ? I'm thinking of making my own two frame spinner but you suggested an easier way
 

Erichalfbee 

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Ok but how do you extract the honey into the jars easier & less messy than spinning ? I'm thinking of making my own two frame spinner but you suggested an easier way
I don’t think there is a less messy way. Crush and strain is an awful way of extracting any amount
Run your supers without foundation and eat the comb?
 

drdrday 

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Could you please tell me (newbee) more about jarring & how it works 🙂
I'm no expert, it's only my third year, but I have a system now. I know others will have different systems, but for me, with just a couple of hives this works for me.

Get bee proof!: For me this means shutting myself in the kitchen - all windows and doors closed - not pleasant on a hot day! Make sure there's no bees in your supers either. I have some big plastic gravel trays, so I put one of these on the floor to save it from all the honey and propolis and then stack the supers I'm extracting on the tray. I have an empty tray beside it to put the finished supers.
Uncapping: I have a big stainless steel roasting tin. I uncap a frame at a time over this to keep the honey drips and cappings contained. I use either a heat gun or an uncapping fork - don't really have a set preference yet! As soon as a frame is uncapped it goes straight into the extractor. At the end of the day I scrape all the cappings and spilt honey from the roasting tin into a strainer over a bowl. This honey is kept just for me, and the cappings are stored ready for rendering down.
Extracting: I have a cheap plastic 2 frame manual extractor. I stand this on top of a small table, so that I can put my settling tank (just a big plastic bucket with a honey valve) on the floor underneath the open honey valve of the extractor. A double strainer sits on top of the settling tank. Because it's a tangential extractor I spin slowly and not too long on the first side of the frames before flipping them and going all out on the second side, then flipping and finishing the first side again. This stops your frames from blowing out from the weight of honey on the side you haven't spun yet.
Straining & settling: With the honey valve in the extractor open the honey can just drain through the double strainer straight into the settling tank. Once I've finished or filled the settling tank I lay a piece of cling film over the surface of the honey and put the lid on before leaving it for a couple of days. Once it's settled I can just carefully lift off the cling film taking all the bubbles and little bits of wax with it. I love the honey scraped off the clingfilm as it's almost creamy!
If I don't want to jar the honey up any time soon I just transfer the honey out of the settling tank into a bucket to store it, but most of the time I end up jarring straight away from the settling tank.
Jarring: If I had a dishwasher, I'd use that to clean my jars/lids, but unfortunately I'm the resident dishwasher. So I wash each jar and lid in hot soapy water, rinse and put the jars in the oven at about 150C for 15-20 mins. I know honey's not sterile, so I don't really do this to sterilise the jars as much as get them perfectly clean and dry. I have a tray I've made out of wire mesh that I can load up with jars and easily lift in and out of the oven. I learnt quickly that I hate trying to get loose, slippery, hot jars off of the oven shelf without smashing them or knocking all the others off. The hot jars then go on a couple of cake racks to cool enough for me to be able to handle them.
I made myself a simple honey bucket tilter (like this: Honey bucket tipper - The Apiarist - mine just has coarse sandpaper instead of the bucket stops) which is invaluable. I put this on top of a huge upturned casserole pan on the counter, then put the settling tank on it. The upturned casserole is just to give me enough height to be able to put my digital scales with a jar on underneath the settling tank's honey valve. Then it's just a case of filling all the jars, making sure the scales are zeroed with an empty jar on. To be safe I always go a couple of grams over whatever's stated on the label.
Labelling: With only a couple of hives I usually jar up honey and label the jars straight away. I usually run out of honey rather than have it hanging around too long. Each jar gets wiped and polished up to get rid of the honey drips, then the tamper proof seal and label added.

Anyway, hope that helps! Above all I can't recommend a bucket tilter enough!
 
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Jonnyl 

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Whatever you do don’t put labels on until you sell it and invest in one of these
I've seen these for sale and thought about getting one but there's no OSR around me so I'm not sure of it's worth to me. Are there any other advantages to having one which I'm missing? TIA.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I've seen these for sale and thought about getting one but there's no OSR around me so I'm not sure of it's worth to me. Are there any other advantages to having one which I'm missing? TIA.
Yes. You jar four buckets of honey and sell it straight away.... great
You don’t sell it all and in three months it’s started to granulate and looks awful. A water bath lets you melt the honey beautifully which you can do because you don’t have labels on.
Or you keep two buckets in the shed and a few months later it’s all set solid ( any honey will. It doesn’t have to be OSR)
If you have a jam maker/ tea urn thing then you pop the bucket in for a couple of days and your honey is melted.
 

holmbee 

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Yes. You jar four buckets of honey and sell it straight away.... great
You don’t sell it all and in three months it’s started to granulate and looks awful. A water bath lets you melt the honey beautifully which you can do because you don’t have labels on.
Or you keep two buckets in the shed and a few months later it’s all set solid ( any honey will. It doesn’t have to be OSR)
If you have a jam maker/ tea urn thing then you pop the bucket in for a couple of days and your honey is melted.
These are an excellent addition for honey processing. If you have clear honey that tends to granulate rather fast then put the jars in with tight lids and heat (50 to 60 )for a short while (about 45 minutes) then remove and chill very fast (in a sink with cold water and ice). This usually prevents granulation for several months.
 

simonwig 

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I made myself a simple honey bucket tilter (like this: Honey bucket tipper - The Apiarist - mine just has coarse sandpaper instead of the bucket stops) which is invaluable
Thanks drdrday, had a quick look and just spent a couple of hours knocking one up from various bits and pieces around the workshop. Hopefully a bit better than balancing the bucket on various books!
Simon
 

drdrday 

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Thanks drdrday, had a quick look and just spent a couple of hours knocking one up from various bits and pieces around the workshop. Hopefully a bit better than balancing the bucket on various books!
Simon
You're welcome! Glad it was useful. If there's one place other than here I can waste hours reading about beekeeping it's David Evans' site. He's always got valuable info or good tips.
 

Jonnyl 

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Yes. You jar four buckets of honey and sell it straight away.... great
You don’t sell it all and in three months it’s started to granulate and looks awful. A water bath lets you melt the honey beautifully which you can do because you don’t have labels on.
Or you keep two buckets in the shed and a few months later it’s all set solid ( any honey will. It doesn’t have to be OSR)
If you have a jam maker/ tea urn thing then you pop the bucket in for a couple of days and your honey is melted.
Thanks Eric, I'll be sure and nip down and get one tomorrow, they're on sale. Thanks very much.
 

Erichalfbee 

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why do you suggest a preserving machine for honey?
It’s a water bath for melting crystallised honey. Quick and easy for small amounts.
How do you melt yours?
 

Steve A 

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I'm no expert, it's only my third year, but I have a system now. I know others will have different systems, but for me, with just a couple of hives this works for me.

Get bee proof!: For me this means shutting myself in the kitchen - all windows and doors closed - not pleasant on a hot day! Make sure there's no bees in your supers either. I have some big plastic gravel trays, so I put one of these on the floor to save it from all the honey and propolis and then stack the supers I'm extracting on the tray. I have an empty tray beside it to put the finished supers.
Uncapping: I have a big stainless steel roasting tin. I uncap a frame at a time over this to keep the honey drips and cappings contained. I use either a heat gun or an uncapping fork - don't really have a set preference yet! As soon as a frame is uncapped it goes straight into the extractor. At the end of the day I scrape all the cappings and spilt honey from the roasting tin into a strainer over a bowl. This honey is kept just for me, and the cappings are stored ready for rendering down.
Extracting: I have a cheap plastic 2 frame manual extractor. I stand this on top of a small table, so that I can put my settling tank (just a big plastic bucket with a honey valve) on the floor underneath the open honey valve of the extractor. A double strainer sits on top of the settling tank. Because it's a tangential extractor I spin slowly and not too long on the first side of the frames before flipping them and going all out on the second side, then flipping and finishing the first side again. This stops your frames from blowing out from the weight of honey on the side you haven't spun yet.
Straining & settling: With the honey valve in the extractor open the honey can just drain through the double strainer straight into the settling tank. Once I've finished or filled the settling tank I lay a piece of cling film over the surface of the honey and put the lid on before leaving it for a couple of days. Once it's settled I can just carefully lift off the cling film taking all the bubbles and little bits of wax with it. I love the honey scraped off the clingfilm as it's almost creamy!
If I don't want to jar the honey up any time soon I just transfer the honey out of the settling tank into a bucket to store it, but most of the time I end up jarring straight away from the settling tank.
Jarring: If I had a dishwasher, I'd use that to clean my jars/lids, but unfortunately I'm the resident dishwasher. So I wash each jar and lid in hot soapy water, rinse and put the jars in the oven at about 150C for 15-20 mins. I know honey's not sterile, so I don't really do this to sterilise the jars as much as get them perfectly clean and dry. I have a tray I've made out of wire mesh that I can load up with jars and easily lift in and out of the oven. I learnt quickly that I hate trying to get loose, slippery, hot jars off of the oven shelf without smashing them or knocking all the others off. The hot jars then go on a couple of cake racks to cool enough for me to be able to handle them.
I made myself a simple honey bucket tilter (like this: Honey bucket tipper - The Apiarist - mine just has coarse sandpaper instead of the bucket stops) which is invaluable. I put this on top of a huge upturned casserole pan on the counter, then put the settling tank on it. The upturned casserole is just to give me enough height to be able to put my digital scales with a jar on underneath the settling tank's honey valve. Then it's just a case of filling all the jars, making sure the scales are zeroed with an empty jar on. To be safe I always go a couple of grams over whatever's stated on the label.
Labelling: With only a couple of hives I usually jar up honey and label the jars straight away. I usually run out of honey rather than have it hanging around too long. Each jar gets wiped and polished up to get rid of the honey drips, then the tamper proof seal and label added.

Anyway, hope that helps! Above all I can't recommend a bucket tilter enough!
I was going to thank you for the very informative assistance you provided but was beaten to it 😊 really appreciate your input for us newbee's though many thanks indeed 👍😊
 

bobba 

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Just put a clearer board on my 1st super of the season. It could not tell for sure if its 100% capped as it was raining and cloudy. But as best I could see without pulling frames its capped, and it had a fair weight to it so fingers crossed.

I am a huge believer in extracting in small batches. I normally do one super at a time. Each jar in my pic on the left came from a separate super, and 4 left most were from the same hive.

But extracting in batches of 3 frames, that's extreme.

One thing I would like to say about extracting for noobs is how much honey can end up in the capping.

I have a bucket with the bottom cut out, then one of those standard round honey strainer sieves just drops and press fits in perfect.

So I end up with a bucket that has a sieve for a bottom.

I place this "strainer bucket" above another bucket. Then I put my capping in there and mix them a few times over 2 or 3 days. Then I get another bucket filled with water and place it on top to press out as much honey as I can.

Its a great honey press for the £, and it will stack and store with your other buckets, so is great if space is at a premium. And just about anyone could make it.

Its a simon the bee keeper 10L bucket btw.
 

Erichalfbee 

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One thing I would like to say about extracting for noobs is how much honey can end up in the capping.

I have a bucket with the bottom cut out, then one of those standard round honey strainer sieves just drops and press fits in perfect.

So I end up with a bucket that has a sieve for a bottom.

I place this "strainer bucket" above another bucket. Then I put my capping in there and mix them a few times over 2 or 3 days. Then I get another bucket filled with water and place it on top to press out as much honey as I can.
I do similar and put it in the honey warmer
 

bobba 

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I do similar and put it in the honey warmer
Unfortunately I dont have a honey warmer. Maybe one day, I still have a lot of kit on the to get list.

But agree, a bit of warmth is essential to keep the honey runny and recover as much as you can.

I leave mine in the consevetory in the spring, or pop it in the airing cupboard in the autumn. Probably not as good as a warmer as temps in both places swing up and down. It may take a day or 2 longer but I think I get a good recovery in the end.

But for noobs starting out who want to keep things cheap its ideal.

Initially I had one sieve set, and used it both for straining honey and recovering from cappings, so only needed to ruin one bucket to make it.

So if you are short on cash starting out, you dont have to spend out on lots of kit, you can still get good results using inexpensive kit. Others have made simlar buckets with some cut outs and mesh in the bottom. Just be creative.
 

drdrday 

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I uncap with a heat gun a lot of the time, which means of course I don't get the cappings wax, but also means that I hardly lose any honey. These days I'll occasionally uncap with a fork every now and then, just for the wax. But my first couple of seasons, I found heat gun uncapping really easy to do and without needing any equipment other than a metal tray and a heat gun - which I already had.
 

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I uncap with a heat gun a lot of the time, which means of course I don't get the cappings wax, but also means that I hardly lose any honey. These days I'll occasionally uncap with a fork every now and then, just for the wax. But my first couple of seasons, I found heat gun uncapping really easy to do and without needing any equipment other than a metal tray and a heat gun - which I already had.
Heat gun -> less messy, less cleaning. Also the comb is intact.
 

bobba 

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I don't get the cappings wax, but also means that I hardly lose any honey.
I would like to know the true economics of uncapping vs heat gun. In terms of honey gained vs wax lost. I understand many prefer the heat gun as its quick and clean.

I dont think anyone could produce a true answer if it were to include factors such as less damage so less effort for bees to repair. But if anyone has a rough guess I would be interested.

I think the was is so thin that some of it just gets vaporized. Some melts back to the rims of the cells, then is probably chewed away when they rebuild.
 

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