Friday, October 23, 2015

Honey extraction

A few weeks ago Bryce and I (with a kid each) went to Beez Kneez. They have custom-made extractors that are bike powered and it seemed like a fun way to end the beekeeping season (although there is still some winterizing to do). We put the frames in his basement for a few weeks and used a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the honey so that it wouldn't go rotten. Unfortunately, we reduced it too much and instead of 18% moisture it was 14.5%, which make the honey the consistency of molasses. Not bad to eat, but it made the extraction process longer. 

Our bees didn't cap much of the honey so we just used this tool on those few areas, instead of an hot ironing tool that shaves off the caps.

Then we loaded them into the extractor rotating them after a while so the honey facing the inside of the barrel could be extracted.

Then we pedaled and it all flew out onto the side of the barrel and then slowly dipped down into the reservoir. We all took a turn pedaling (except Harriet who was too small).

When we were all finished with the pedaling, we had to scrape the sides to make sure we got everything. It was rather difficult because of the consistency and also because you can't remove the cage thing where we put the frames so it got in the way a lot.

Harriet got a little restless because it took a while. You can see here there were two stations and another group was extracting at the same time.

Once scraped, the top barrel can be taken off. The honey goes through a screen to filter any wax or other partials from going into the bottom area.

In the end, it took us about 2 hours (you pay by the hour so it wasn't cheap) and we got 10lbs of honey, which we split. Five pounds is two-quart mason jars of honey (that's not including the weight of the jar). Considering we didn't think we were going to get any honey this year I am pretty happy with that. Also I really enjoyed going to Beez Kneez and I think they are doing great work in the community. That said, I think next year we can figure out a more economical way to extract it.

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