Extracting 2.0 2012
I finally got around to extracting my honey this year, with my fancy new press. I have to say, using a press was much easier than my previous ‘turkey pan’ method. And I got a lot more honey out of it too! Here’s what I did.
I took a large swath of cheese cloth, folded it in half, and made a little bit of a bag it in the middle of my extractor canister. I then scraped just over half of the frames off, directly into the cheese cloth bag. I put a jar under the spicket end to ensure I didn’t loose any honey while I was still in the process of removing it from the frames. So, I got to enjoy these lovely patterns the different honeys made as they slowly leaked out of the wax on their own.
It was weird seeing the different kinds of honey come pouring out like this, especially since the frames all appeared the same.
Oh, I also would like to point out that I basically did this on the floor of my kitchen, because putting the extractor up on a surface would’ve made things a lot more complicated and would’ve been impossible due to the large screws (one is shown above) that stick out of the board the extractor is attached to. Hence the cardboard beneath.
Here’s my first jar of honey from this extraction! Its full of wax because the cheese cloth slipped while I wasn’t paying attention and some wax got out. There are also A LOT of air bubbles in the honey. Once I actually started pressing the honey out of the wax all of the air in between the frames was squished out too which filled the honey with little bubbles. They have all since cleared though and the honey looks much prettier now.
I honestly couldn’t see the difference between these two honeys until I had mixed them. I ended up with a little less than a pint in my last jar (or what I thought was my last jar; I ended up squeezing another half pint out of the wax) and put it in several of the jars that had a little bit more room in them. This jar clearly shows the difference in color though. If I had been smart (and hadn’t just spent 3 hours eating small amounts of honey during the down time of my operation) I would’ve tasted the two different honeys side by side to compare them. Oh well.
I ended up with a wonderful 15 pints of honey, and several pounds of wax. The cheese cloth worked wonderfully and allowed me to take all of the wax out and put it straight into a ziploc bag for later use. And clean up was a breeze! All I had to do was boil some water and grab a wash cloth and the extractor was clean in minutes. MUCH simpler than my previous attempts at harvesting. And the honey came faster and cleaner than previous attempts as well. This extractor was money well spent I’d say. Now I just have to figure out what kind of stand I can put it on so I don’t have to spend another three hours hunched over uncomfortably on the floor, scooping honey around the trough and into jars.
I’m excited about all this honey! Despite having swarmed three times, White Hive still managed to produce enough honey to be harvested from twice and produce 4+ more pints than it did last year. And this has been one of the driest summers on record here in Washington this year! I really need to buy/make a second and third super, because without them next year is going to be crazy. I also plan on removing the foundation from the frames in the super. I don’t see any reason for them since I’m extracting by squishing the wax, and the bees really do draw out wax much faster without foundation present. I’ll just run a wire or two through the frame to add support, and let the bees take it from there next year.