Honey Extraction Equipment

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JOF 

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Just starting my 2nd year (thankfully hive overwintered ok) as a new beek and thinking about honey harvesting equipment. I'm only likely to get up to 3 or 4 hives as it's a back garden hobby and wanted some advice please.

Uncapping knife - serated but not electric as more likely to burn honey?

Extractor tank - seen a good home made one with storage box, wire cake tray and mesh that I will build.

Extractor - 3 or 4 frame manual on market from £60-£300+. Seen one online (Kwasyo) for £150, but hard to tell if it's much better than lowest £ or worse than highest £? They all look the same.

Strainers - double stainless steel rather than plastic.

Settling/storage tank - 10l-25l. I'm in an urban area (parks and gardens nearby) so unsure how much honey I might get, but don't want to be extracting for days on end so was thinking one 25l.

Any views or top tips would be very welcome. I've read alot about flames here so would rather not have so much of that 😭 😉.
 

hemo 

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For the 14 years I have kept bees I still use the basic system I started off with for up to 7 or 8 colonies.
Uncapping is a SS serrated knife in to a dedicated large clean washing up bowl, I use hardwood rest with a drilled hole (for the frame lug) rested across the bowl.

Extractor I was in the right place at the right time, I acquired a EHTaylor tangential manual nylon model for £20. Late I upgraded it with a new Thornes 9F radial cage.
Sieves I have a double SS one but only use the coarse flat one t run the honey thru.
Settling tank not used, I coarse sieve straight in to buckets from the extractor and save the creamy froth (beekeepers honey) when liquefying later.
 
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WoodenBeam 

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Just starting my 2nd year (thankfully hive overwintered ok) as a new beek and thinking about honey harvesting equipment. I'm only likely to get up to 3 or 4 hives as it's a back garden hobby and wanted some advice please.

Uncapping knife - serated but not electric as more likely to burn honey? Un-Capping Fork

Extractor tank - seen a good home made one with storage box, wire cake tray and mesh that I will build. As previously said, washing up bowl

Extractor - 3 or 4 frame manual on market from £60-£300+. Seen one online (Kwasyo) for £150, but hard to tell if it's much better than lowest £ or worse than highest £? They all look the same. Join a local association and borrow theirs

Strainers - double stainless steel rather than plastic. Yep

Settling/storage tank - 10l-25l. I'm in an urban area (parks and gardens nearby) so unsure how much honey I might get, but don't want to be extracting for days on end so was thinking one 25l. Into 30lb buckets, invest in a rectank with valve for jarring up.

Any views or top tips would be very welcome. I've read alot about flames here so would rather not have so much of that 😭 😉.
 

WoodenBeam 

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As an alternative to the washing up bowl I can remember when we first started out using an English feeder to uncap over. This was then put straight back over the hive giving the cappings back to the bees resulting in a clean powdered wax left after a couple of days.
 

JOF 

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Useful advice. I will speak to my association mentor and see if we have an extractor. I still like the homemade uncapping tank which is effectively a bowl with some minor additions.
And will look into buckets/tanks.
The use of a feeder to clean the capping is a great idea so that they can do it without bees from other hives getting into a robbing frenzy!
 

Nannysbees 

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Will an elecric knife burn honey?
 

enrico 

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Get rid of the knife and use a hot air gun. It just pops the cappings open. Cuts out loads of mess.
A manual extractor is always a handy backup even if you later upgrade to electric. Make sure you get one that will do brood frames as well.one day you will wish you had!
E
 

Little_bees 

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Settling/storage tank - 10l-25l. I'm in an urban area (parks and gardens nearby) so unsure how much honey I might get, but don't want to be extracting for days on end so was thinking one 25l. Into 30lb buckets, invest in a rectank with valve for jarring up.
Or just use a hole saw to cut a hole in one of the buckets for a honey gate (£3.50 from EBay )
 

IndiBee 

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Just to add to the mix, have you explored wax as a product in itself?
I have made far more from wax than honey over the years and the equipment becomes much simpler.
Use starter strips instead of foundation
Cut and crush the wax
Spin or squeeze the mess (I spin mush wax in muslin in a device similar to an old spin dryer), but a simple press will do a good job as well.
Less money in - more money out!
 

Popparand 

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Get rid of the knife and use a hot air gun. It just pops the cappings open. Cuts out loads of mess.
A manual extractor is always a handy backup even if you later upgrade to electric. Make sure you get one that will do brood frames as well.one day you will wish you had!
E
I assume if you use a heat gun you can't retrieve the cappings for melting and resale?
 

Little_bees 

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I assume if you use a heat gun you can't retrieve the cappings for melting and resale?
But the wax stays on the frame where the bees can remould it to make new cappings, so it saves them producing new wax.
I think it takes about 8lb of honey for a bee to make 1lb wax.
 

Murox 

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But the wax stays on the frame where the bees can remould it to make new cappings, so it saves them producing new wax.
I think it takes about 8lb of honey for a bee to make 1lb wax.
So how many actual clean combs of wax to a pound weight?
 

IndiBee 

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But the wax stays on the frame where the bees can remould it to make new cappings, so it saves them producing new wax.
I think it takes about 8lb of honey for a bee to make 1lb wax.
I hear this 8 to 1 ratio spoken of often. But does anyone know how to upsell honey as much as wax can be upsold? Far more than 8x I can attest.
Highend honey can, at a push, sell for twice as much as other similar honey, but add just a ml of 'genuine bees wax' to a product and you are selling it at crazy prices.
Swarms produce wax at a prestigious rate in the first week, Give them a starter strip (or just a top comb left from cutting out a comb) and a VERY straight frame and they will make you money faster than honey.
 

Little_bees 

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So how many actual clean combs of wax to a pound weight?
I don't know, I've never actually weighed a drawn frame.

But Randy Oliver says
"Overall, it required the feeding of the equivalent of about a half gallon of 77% syrup in order to fully draw out a single deep comb of wax-coated plastic foundation."

That's syrup used when getting the bees to draw a new box but they use the same amount of honey when drawing at any other time.
I know it's not the same frame but his page on drawing foundation has lots of info re honey:wax ratios.
 

Little_bees 

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I hear this 8 to 1 ratio spoken of often. But does anyone know how to upsell honey as much as wax can be upsold? Far more than 8x I can attest.
Highend honey can, at a push, sell for twice as much as other similar honey, but add just a ml of 'genuine bees wax' to a product and you are selling it at crazy prices.
Swarms produce wax at a prestigious rate in the first week, Give them a starter strip (or just a top comb left from cutting out a comb) and a VERY straight frame and they will make you money faster than honey.
Well they do draw quickly (and fill it with brood).
But if you give the same bees drawn frames in a super they'll fill them with honey just as quickly.

I don't know how much people sell wax for but is it really 8x the price of honey?
 

IndiBee 

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Well they do draw quickly (and fill it with brood).
But if you give the same bees drawn frames they'll fill them with honey just as quickly.

I don't know how much people sell wax for but is it really 8x the price of honey?
If you provide pure beeswax in cosmetic products to the right markets (as I have for over 25 years), you will see it is way over 8x. Add a drop of royal jelly (which I don't) and the prices are crazy.
I sell honey, but that is not where the main income derives. The honey keeps my bees alive, not sugar feeding.
 

Little_bees 

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If you provide pure beeswax in cosmetic products to the right markets (as I have for over 25 years), you will see it is way over 8x. Add a drop of royal jelly (which I don't) and the prices are crazy.
I sell honey, but that is not where the main income derives. The honey keeps my bees alive, not sugar feeding.
I sell clean filtered beeswax @£1/oz to people wanting to make wraps etc.
Obviously I am doing myself out of a good market!
So you're selling the beeswax products or selling wax wholesale to a cosmetics manufacturer?
 

Ian123 

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Other than a commercial capping machine I’ve tried most the methods but give me a decent knife anytime. But not silly bread knives or a piddling thornes uncapping knife with tiny handle, that makes it hard/painful to grip after a period with a silly short blade that makes deep frames a pain in the rear. Get a large commercial bread knife or carver, they have long blades and large handles. Available from catering suppliers. Secondly don’t use self spacers in the supers 10 frames is good. Plenty of cell to cut and wax to salvage not scraping wooden frame.
 

IndiBee 

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I sell clean filtered beeswax @£1/oz to people wanting to make wraps etc.
Obviously I am doing myself out of a good market!
So you're selling the beeswax products or selling wax wholesale to a cosmetics manufacturer?
I make the cosmetics in France (where I still have apiaries). Many French ladies are a bit particular about what they put on their face. I can add honey into products, but it can never match the prices I get for the beeswax products.
My daughter has gone into aloe vera production in Germany and this is anther great natural cosmetics ingredient.
 
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