shopping for honey processing equipment

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Paul Wheaton, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,446
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    missoula, montana
    Since I have a small farm that bring in a little money, jumping into bees can be counted as a business expense. This year I worked two jobs and if I buy all my bee stuff in 2004, I pay less taxes. So I have about a week to place an order.

    I think I'm going to start with five hives, but use just four hives the first year.

    I'm to the point now where I'm thinking about getting the honey out of the hive and into jars.

    I remember a friend once gave me a jar of honey that a beekeeping friend of his gave to him. I could see why he was passing it on to me. It tasted waxy. I would like to make sure I have the appropriate equipment so that my honey doesn't taste waxy.

    So .... would I want to do this in my tiny kitchen, or maybe in my shop with a cement floor?

    It seems I would want to use the fifth, unused hive to help me carry ten frames of honey back to the house/shop. Once there, I would need to use a hot knife to cut the caps, right? And some sort of large bin so that when I cut the caps I can save the caps and the honey. I would then take the frames and put them in the extractor. I would then empty the extractor into a bucket with a filter. And then a finer filter. And a finer filter.

    I'm looking through the 2003 Dadant catalog and I'm considering the following equipment

    • hot knife
    • bin
    • extractor
    • filtering system

    Any advice here?
     
  2. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    Messages:
    1,857
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Unless you just have tons of money sitting around looking for a tax write-off, I'd concentrate on the supers, frames, foundation and hive tools. It seems like you never have enough supers sometimes. You'll always pick up swarms and find other uses for extra supers and hives. After you get your feet wet, you'll be able to gauge whether you even need an extractor the first year. We're so dependent on the weather here in the NW that some years it's hard to get much more than a survival crop of honey starting with a package of bees.

    Generally, unless you are just robbing a few frames of honey, one takes the entire super back to the honey house for harvest.

    I've never found it necessary to filter and I just cut my caps into an old roasting pan that I built a screen for that allows the cappings to drain well before processing. I just use a small hand operated hand extractor though and it is pretty easy on the comb.

    I'd vote for the shop with the concrete floor, assuming that you can close it up well to prevent theft. If your bees can get in and out, they'll soon have re-collected all your harvested honey. (Don't ask me how I know that lil tidbit)
     

  3. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,446
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    missoula, montana
    I am planning to get everything I'll need next year this year. Preferably in one order - to save shipping.

    I think I'm going to get:
    • 10 wooden 9 5/8" super bodies
    • 15 wooden 6 5/8" super bodies
    • 100 9 1/8 EZ frames
    • 150 6 1/4 EZ Frames
    • 5 wooden telescoping covers with inner cover
    • 5 wooden hive stands
    • 5 bottom boards
    • 5 varroa screens (B41501)
    • 5 plastic queen excluders
    • smoker (M00927)
    • smoker fuel
    • hive tool
    • bee brush
    • subscription to American Bee Journal
    • Book: The Hive and the Honey Bee
    • Book: The Beekeeper's handbook
    • Video: Honey Bees and Beekeeping
    • Video: Beekeeping
    • veil
    • gloves
    • boot bands

    If I'm going to take a complete super of honey, do I need to put one of those excluders in first to get the bees out?

    I would like to get a good honey setup paid for this year. I like the idea that I'm going to try this and that people like the resulting honey and are thus inspired to help/buy/whatever. Whereas that other "home-made" honey I once tried was pretty much good just for pig food.
     
  4. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    Messages:
    1,857
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Yeez, I don't think I've ever had bad honey, that must have been something else. Reckon you could have used it for baking rather than sending your hogs to hog heaven.

    I've never much worried about queen excluders and never had a problem getting the bees to vacate the harvested supers with a bit of smoke and a brush.

    That looks like an excellent list, although I would make sure to order entrance reducers or maybe the mite screens work for that, never used them.

    Personally, I'd skip the videos and spend some time with some of the local beekeepers. I used to buy my bees and equipment from an outfit in Spokane. They were really helpful when I was getting started and there is nothing like learning from the pros.

    Guess if it was me, I'd invest in more wood for the aformentioned reasons and because it's generally cheaper to ship it all at once. You won't regret having extra on hand.
     
  5. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,446
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    missoula, montana
    I'm planning on hooking up with some local beekeepers. Unfortunately, I'll be out of town until April 5 or so. I figure the videos will fill my head a bit before then, plus they can show the full season all at once.
     
  6. justgojumpit

    justgojumpit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    428
    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Location:
    North Salem, NY
    i would recommend building all the woodenware you can, as this is the expensive part. i just built a bunch of shallow supers out of some old horse fencing boards. if the wood lasts me another five years, i'll be thrilled, and then i can always make more. at some point i'll have a table saw to make things easier, but for now i could build ten supers in half a day. thats say... $100 worth of woodenware, plus shipping. i made a total of 20 supers, all with a circular saw, a hammer, a measuring tape, and some nails. i will buy wooden shallow frames and use starter strips. for medium supers and brood chambers, i will use the pierco one-piece frames, as they are cheaper than frames and foundation.

    justgojumpit
     
  7. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,838
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    I read somewhere that if the honey is heated with the wax still in it, that the honey will taste like wax. This may be true and it may not be true.

    I DO know that the honey that I collected and strained in my own kitchen was excellent. I just squished the comb and let it drain through a colender, let it sit a bit, and then strained off the little bits that floated to the surface after a bit. Then, I put it in the plastic honey bears.

    I did this with the summer honey and with the fall honey, and neither tasted of wax.

    I don't recommend this if you have much honey, because then the bees have to make new combs which takes away from the harvesting of nectar. Every pound of wax costs the hive about 8 pounds of honey that they COULD have made but didn't. So, I just took a couple of frames for our own use. It was a learning experience: next year I intend to properly extract.

    Now, in our area the fall honey often has a harsh taste because of types of flowers that are blooming. My fall honey was better suited for cooking than for fresh use. But, there was NO wax taste!