We’re ready to extract our honey, or at least pretty darn close. We set up the equipment we purchased from our friends over at Blue Sky Bee Supply in Ravenna, Ohio. Christine researched what we needed, and found them to be the best value, with the added benefit that I could simply drive over and pick up everything we needed. We got an uncapping “tank” (a big plastic and metal box with a gate at the bottom of it) and an extractor (a big metal centrifuge). They were on sale and came with some free goodies. In all I think we spent around $450.
It’s recommended you rent or borrow extracting equipment first, but frankly we’ve got three hives so we’ll need it at some point and by time I borrow or rent the stuff, it’s just as easy to buy,with the luxury of working at our own pace. With our budget, I think we’re fine not getting the ‘Cadillac’ of extractors – judging by what I’ve seen, the equipment we purchased will work just fine for us as new-bees (get it? “new-bees”…like “newbies” but I used the word “bee”…it’s 5am, what do you expect).
The uncapping tank didn’t come with instructions but I figured it out easy enough. The wife found a picture online and was able to figure out what the pieces and parts were for. She’s really smart when it comes to this bee stuff, whereas I’m pretty much useless. What I thought was a lid…maybe it is a lid as well…this big metal pan is actually a big metal pan that you set this serrated shaped strap form on – it holds the hive frames before you uncap them. It’s mildly clever I suppose. The tank itself has a frame stand so you can “uncap” the honey; that is take off the top layer of wax that holds the honey in the little hexagonal cells.
There wasn’t much to assemble on the extractor, just the legs and handle. Both of which weren’t overly well designed in terms of assembly. I design stuff for a (meager) living so maybe the simple details bother me more than most. As for the handle, the nut that comes with goes between the arm assembly and the black handle and acts as a spacer. Otherwise the bolt in the handle intersects the plastic cover on the arm subassembly which is bad. It’s one point where you can see where they tried to save cost.
Assembling the legs was simple enough once I figured out what size socket I needed; of course it was the only one that was missing from my set. No less than five trips to and from the garage before I came back with a 10mm socket on a screwdriver handle. As for the design of the leg assembly, the bolts are set up in such a way that you can’t get a good grip on their head so they spin endlessly as you try to tighten them. Once again I can see why they did it this way but it made for a maddening ten minutes trying to single-handedly assemble the legs. As with anything in life, a second set of hands would have been helpful.
I gave the extractor a few spins and it runs smoothly. We’ll find out how well it works in the next few days I suspect. We still need to order bottles. We’re going to use 8 oz. tall round bottles, because of their contemporary feel. As well, we’ll order some 4 oz. ones for gifting honey. I suppose I need to come up with a label as well.
Because we don’t have one singular source of pollen in the area, our honey will simply be “wildflower”.
Yesterday we caught a glimpse of mama deer and her twins frolicking out back. I was able to snap a quick pic.