Sunday, June 5, 2011

Extracting Honey the First Time

Today is the first time in three years of bee keeping we actually got honey. We didn't expect to get it today. Hubby went to work the bees and had frames in the lower boxes full of capped  honey. He had to remove them to give the bees room in the brood chambers.

Here is a step by step explanation of how we extracted the honey. This is on the small side of equipment. This is for a hobby bee keeper. We have 5 hives but hope to keep growing. We started out with 2 hives. We try to double each year using our own bees. hubby will start atleast 5 nucs this year. That will give us 10 hives by next year if they all do well.

 Here is a capping knife. It plugs into the wall and heats up. It then is able to slice off the wax caps that are over the honey.
 Here are filters that go over the food grade 5 gallon bucket that we put the honey into. We use the medium filter. It keeps all the bad stuff out.
 This is the basket for the extractor. The frames fit down inside it.
 Here is the out side part of the extractor.
 Here is the extractor chained down to the legs. If you did not chain it down it will walk off of the legs while extracting.
 Our extractor is a hand crank kind. You can buy a motor to go on top of it. I like the hand crank type but if you get it going to fast it tries to walk off. We had to hold it down when I got it going really fast.
 Here is the inside with the basket in it. It works like a centrifuge.
 This is called an uncapping tank. It has two layers. The first one has holes in it. To hold the wax and let the honey go thru.  The extractor, capping tank, and 5 gallon bucket have honey gates on them. That is a valve that lets the honey out. You lock them down when in use and when you want the honey to flow just open it up. Like a water faucet.
 Here is a pretty frame of capped honey. The yellow is the wax cap the bees use to cover the honey. This can be used to make lip gloss or candles.
 Here is hubby putting it on a board above the capping tank. This is how you hole it when you get ready to cut the wax off.
 You take the heated knife and cut off the top of the wax opening the honey up. The wax falls down into the uncapping tank and the honey goes to the bottom holding tank. The uncapping tank has a lid so when you let it sit bugs and lent can not get into it.
 Here is a frame that has been uncapped. The wax is hanging on for dear life.
 Here is some capping wax in the uncapping tote.
 This nifty tool is a capping scratcher. It works just as well as the knife. We used it to scratch the wax the knife could not get. Some of the wax was short and under the frame and the knife can not reach it.
 Here is the extractor turning and the honey collecting on the side and the bottom.
 Here is the first honey out of the honey gate. This is after 4 frames. If the honey gets up to high it is hard to turn the extractor.
Here is a full filter of honey.

We take the used frames and put them in a hive with the top off. They then go to the bee yard for the bees to clean them up. We will then freeze them for a few days to make sure there are not wax moth eggs in there. Then we will give it back to a hive to clean up and use again.

The hardest part of this project was a little 6 year old wanting to stick a spoon into every drip. He had a blast helping but I think he ate a pint all his self. Rebekka loved the wax cappings and honey. She chewed on them for a while until all the honey was out.

Now we wait a few days for it to filter and settle. We may filter it again depending on the amount of wax in it. The we bottle it and store it. Don't worry to the people I promised some to. Your will be out the door as soon as it is ready. I know yall have been waiting for a while. :)

Our favorite way to eat the honey is on homemade butter milk biscuits with real grade A butter mixed with the honey into a paste then spread on warm biscuits.

Today the all but one duck and baby turkey moved out side. We kept the turkey inside because the bigger ducks were picking on him. We also have a baby duck with a bad foot so he got to stay inside too. The two of them will be spoiled beyond belief. The turkey was already leaving the tote to find me today. I hollered at him to quite down and he got out and came to me all the way across the house. Rebekka is proud to have such a smart turkey for a pet.


Deray said...

Wow, I had no idea that getting honey was so much work! Good job guys ;-)

chow and chatter said...

i guess its better to have a lot I am sure it will keep great job though

Anonymous said...

Great post. I enjoyed reading every word. I bet that honey tastes so good. It was fun looking at all the pictures of the process.

Unknown said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life

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