A complete honey extraction set for beekeepers with one to three hives, and one to six supers to harvest. This kit allows you to harvest and strain the honey in one step, without damaging the valuable comb. Holds 9 deep or medium frames. Each batch will take about 4 days to drain.
Uncapping knife- Stainless steel sharp serrated edge with a blunt point.
Capping scratcher- for comb too short for the knife to uncap
Uncaping/collection tub- clear so you can watch the honey drip through the strainer
Strainer - 200 micron strainer with draw string fits collection tub
Collection box- holds 9 medium, shallow, or deep frames UPSIDE DOWN over the tub
1. Collect up to 9 deep, medium or shallow frames of capped honey. DO NOT collect any frames with uncapped honey. It still has too much water content to be ripe.
2. Place the strainer bonnet over the clear plastic collection tub and tighten the cinch cord.
3. Center the collection box over the tub.
4. Place the frame rest board on the collection box. You will rest the frame end bar on this while cutting the cappings with the uncapping knife. If the comb is too short for the knife, you can use the capping scratcher. Some people prefer the scratcher. But don't scratch the comb too deep; just enough to break all of the caps.
5. Let the capping wax fall into the straining cloth on the collection tub.
6. When you have cut or scratched the cappings off of both sides of the frame, you place that frame UPSIDE DOWN in the first slot of the collection box. The bees make the comb with about a 15 degree upward slant so the honey will stay in it. When you turn the frame over the honey will drip out slowly, but surely.
7. When you have placed all of the uncapped frames in their slots, place the box and tub in a small room. Be sure the tub is centered under the box at all times. Otherwise, you will have a sticky mess on your hands. Honey will flow faster if it is warm, but if you heat the room and lower the humidity it will form a skin on the honey and stop flowing. Try to keep the humidity in the 30-50% range.
8. After 4 days, most of the honey will have strained through the cloth into the collection tub. You can carefully remove the cloth and wax cappings. Wash the cappings in cold water, and hand wash the strainer also. There are many uses for pure bees wax. The strainer can be hung up to dry.
9. The frames will still have a some honey in them. You can put them back in the super, and place it on the hive for a day. The bees will clean up every last drop. The frames are now ready to be stored for next spring. It takes the bees 8 pounds of honey to make a pound of wax. By saving this comb for them for next spring, you will harvest it back in honey 8 fold next summer!
10. Now, for the best part. Pour some of the honey from the tub into a pitcher. Use the pitcher to "bottle" your crop. When you get to the end of the honey in the tub, use a spatula to scrape the last bit of honey into the pitcher. You can leave the honey in a pitcher that is air-tight for a few days, but it takes only a few minutes to bottle it and you get a great sense of accomplishment right away.
The bees work hard to get the water content of the honey to 18% because that way it will last a long time. If it gets over 20% it can ferment.
Do not collect uncapped honey. It has not had the water removed yet.
Do not use a WET knive, scratcher, or strainer to harvest honey.
Do not pour good honey into a WET tub, pitcher, or jar.
Do not uncap or drain honey in a room with over 50% humidity. You can use a dehumidifier, or a space heater to lower the humidity if needed. Also, do not let the humidity fall below 30% because it can form a skin (dry layer) and stop flowing. If you do not have a hygrometer, you can get one at W-mart for about $10.
Do keep honey in an air-tight container.
DROUGHT NOTICE. When bees collect nectar in drought conditions, they are able to lower the water content to 16% or lower. This "dry" honey will drain more slowly than normal, and less of it will drain out of the comb than honey with 18% water content. The good news is that none of the honey will be lost, because when you put the frames back on the hive the bees will reclaim all of the left over honey. The bad news is you may need five or six days to recover your honey, and your share may be less than the bees. Still, keeping the comb intact means more honey next year because the bees will not need to make as much wax and can concentrate on honey! Any honey the bees clean up, also means less you need to feed them in the fall.