Honey Extraction Prep

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.

The uncapping tank or bin. I'm guessing the frame rests on the angled arms as you uncap each frame.

The uncapping tank or bin. I’m guessing the frame rests on the angled arms as you uncap each frame.

This tray acts as a lid to the tank and provides a hand spot to rest frames before they go into the extracting tank.

This tray acts as a lid to the tank and provides a hand spot to rest frames before they go into the extracting tank.

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 found the design of how the legs attach to the extractor body to be mildly maddening.

I found the design of how the legs attach to the extractor body to be mildly maddening.

Our simple inexpensive extractor. The filtering bucket next to it is where the honey goes after it leaves the extractor.

Our simple inexpensive extractor. The filtering bucket next to it is where the honey goes after it leaves the extractor.

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”.

We use large Rubbermaid food safe bins to store our frames before extraction.

We use large Rubbermaid food safe bins to store our frames before extraction.

Yesterday we caught a glimpse of mama deer and her twins frolicking out back. I was able to snap a quick pic.

Our twins hanging out in my peach orchard.

Our twins hanging out in my peach orchard.

Daisy looking cute at 5am as I take photos for the blog.

Daisy looking cute at 5am as I take photos for the blog.

 

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7 thoughts on “Honey Extraction Prep

  1. Neat-o in a speed-o. This is very interesting how you make honey and the materials you need to get the honey out of the hive. I have no understanding of this and would love to learn (i would love to be brave enough to keep bees myself) so I am eager to hear what’s next. What lovely wild life you have there eyeing your peach trees. LOL!! Your little daisy is adorable and what the hell are doing up so early??

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    • We were scared for literally just the first day. After that it’s been a fascinating and rewarding endeavor. Our hives have faces many of the hardships one would encounter so it’s been a great learning experience.

      Highly recommend it. You’re garden and flowers will love you for it i.e. higher yields of veggies and flowers.

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  2. Very interesting learning about the extraction of honey. How often can you harvest honey from the average hive? There is a bee/honey farm close to my place, and I noticed that recently they have picked up some of the hives that they had out on different farmers properties. Do you think that they are harvesting honey already? I am kind of clueless about the whole honey process, so it is nice to know someone who has bees.

    Maybe after harvesting honey this year you can design a new and fantastic honey extractor that will revolutionize the honey trade. It would be easier to put together and use.

    Also I have found vista print a good company to order labels and any kind of print work from. It is fast and affordable. Maybe a possibility for your honey labels.

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    • Stay tuned as you’ll find out as we do how much honey we harvest and how often. You can harvest first thing in the spring whatever honey the bees didn’t use over winter, once the trees and flowers start blooming. Our hives are on weird schedules with all their re-queening and whatnot.

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  3. Daisy is about the only thing I can relate to. hahaha The things you and your family do are amazing and better left to people like you, who have somewhat of a clue. Me, well I am scared of bees, so it is a given I wouldn’t be making honey. hahaha Hats off to you guys!

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