This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

pre -extracting thoughts

1. Make sure the honey is ripe.

Capped honey is normally ripe with a moisture level of 18.6% or less. That is the threshold for Grade A Honey. Extract uncapped honey separately. Eat this first before it can ferment. The only way to check the moisture content is with a refactometer. I will check honey at my shop for free. Bring a full container. The amount can be small but the container should be full to get an accurate measurement. I only use a few toothpicks full for the sample.
Putting honey supers in a closed room with a dehumidifier running will bring down the moisture level of the honey before it is extracted.

2. A good place to store it.

A pail with a lid works great. If the pail has a honey gate that helps for bottling. A open headed pail is a must. If the honey granulates in the pail a open top makes it easier to get it out of.
A tight lid keeps the honey from absorbing moisture from the surrounding air.

3. Put down cardboard.

It helps to put down cardboard on the floor before extracting. The cardboard will keep the floor for getting wax and honey on the linoleum. Recycle the cardboard when finished.

4. The day before honey super removal, go out to your hive.

Take the supers off the hive. Then rotate them 180 degrees and put them back on. This will break loose any interconnecting bridge comb. By putting them back on, the bees will have a day to clean up any dripping honey. When you take the honey off the next day dripping honey off of bridgecomb will be much less.

5. A note of safety.

  • It is easy to poke the sharp tines of a capping scratcher into one's fingers.
  • Rotation of a honey extractor can injure fingers and hands. Never put hands into a rotating extractor.
  • The hot knife is hot, hence the name. A burn can happen quickly. The knife is also sharp. Cuts are possible.
  • Extract in a bug tight environment. extracting in an open garage will invite every bee, wasp, and hornet in your county into your garage.
  • Heavy loads. Make a little pallet the size of a supers. Use a two wheeler to move around supers.
  • A lid opener is a great little tool that can save on the fingernails