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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Honey Harvest - Crush and Strain

Today I harvested the six frames I took out of Proteus to make room for brood (if there's a queen in the bottom box). When I did the crush and strain, I made one of
my videos.



Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about this way of harvesting honey.

By the way, after the honey had completely filtered, I got about 5 pounds more in bottles. This means that the six frames of honey from a shallow super harvested in this video yielded approximately 17 pounds of absolutely delicious honey, uncontaminated by heat or being slung around in the air...or about 2.8 pounds per frame.

57 comments:

  1. Your video was very nicely done. You're doing wonderfully for a one person outfit.

    I'd never heard of this method. It makes me wish we hadn't gone with plastic frames. I suppose we could still do something similar, but having all wax foundation as you have would be much easier.

    Thank you for your video.

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  2. People have been known to do this with plastic - you just scrape the comb off of the plastic and go from there. But it is easier with wax foundation and no wires. Michael Bush crushes the comb with his hands - I think if I did it that way, I would have to harvest somewhere other than my kitchen!

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  3. Great video! I'm new and have read a million things but it's nice to have a visual aid to make sure I'm doing things right. Thanks for posting!

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  4. Linda, I hope that I will be able to have honey in a month or so to do crush and strain with!

    I will no doubt come and watch this video again to figure out how to do it--thanks a lot!

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  5. berkshire bee11:16 PM

    Linda,Having 8-10 hives myself,I know how much work goes into keeping bees. It's great that you also take the time to record what you are doing so that other people can see. I've done some video and pictures but never seem to get around to organizing it. You've obviously put much time and effort into this site and it shows. I will be sure to check back often. berkshire bee

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  6. Anonymous5:31 PM

    Linda,
    Awesome videos!!!
    I started keeping bees last year too and I just pulled my first supers of honey this weekend(it's in the freezer till I get time to extract). I have an extractor but am planning on doing some cut-comb and will employ your methods. Thanks a million for taking the time to make these videos. For only your 2nd year I think you are doing amazingly well. Thanks for the honey contest tips too.
    Tom

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  7. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Hi Linda,
    I started with five hives in my frontyard on Dec 1st, 2007 ,so I am new to this.
    I was planning to purchase an extractor soon but your video gave me enough confidence to try your alternative.
    Thanks and all the best with your adventure.
    Sunny Jamaica

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  8. enrico_ from near Bologna, Italy8:24 AM

    I am going to start with a TBH, so I found your video extremely useful and well done. enrico_ from near Bologna, Italy

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  9. Tracy from New Ro, NY7:33 PM

    Thanks so much for this great video! What do you do with the wax after honey stops dripping out of it? Does it simply go outside for the bees to clean up, or is there a way to get it out, maybe when you melt the wax down?

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  10. I usually put the leftover wax in my solar wax melter (see video on sidebar) and melt it down. I wash it first and beekeepers say that you can use the rinse water to feed back to the bees, although I have never done that.

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  11. Anonymous1:29 AM

    Linda class act. you say strain, is the bucket empty just crushed wax? my seve straining is much slower, days. In 90 degree heat. was the bucket prefab with cut of valve? Thanx for sharing I felt like I was only fool doing thisZeke

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  12. Zeke, When the honey is all strained out, if you have done a good job of crushing the comb, all that's left in the sieve is the crushed wax (a little honey in unbroken cells, but a very little). I do rinse the wax before putting it in my solar wax melter (see video on that). In 90 heat, the whole bucket strains through quite quickly. If the temp is lower, the straining takes longer. I just put the bucket with a brick on top of it out on my sidewalk and leave it for the day. And yes, the bucket came from Dadant with the hole already cut in the side and the valve to screw into the hole. They sell the bucket and a three filter set for around $30.
    Good luck! Linda T

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  13. Anonymous8:07 AM

    Thanks for a nice website.
    But I wonder if there is a problem with the video. I would really like to see it, but it is now just a black box.
    Thanks

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  14. I'm checking on the problem - thanks for letting me know.

    LT

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  15. Anonymous3:09 PM

    Thanks for "fixing" the video link.
    It was nice to watch,

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is the second video of yours I have watched. You speak so clear and calmly and give such great details.

    I have no bees but want to watch all your videos to educate myself.

    Q. How do you get different honey flavors? I prefer Orange Blossom but most stores here in AZ sell Clover which I don't care for. What flavor is your honey??
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

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  17. This is very informative! Thank you!

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  18. how long does it take to harvest honey from TBH. I am new to the field and i have two TBH and the bees entered on december 2008. mohamed, kenya

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  19. There's no simple answer to how long does it take to harvest honey - if you mean when will the honey be ready, then the answer is you harvest honey when the bees have fully capped the cells - that is true in a TBH or a Langstroth. If you mean when will the bees have capped honey ready from when you started the hive, that is up to the bees, the weather, the nectar flow, etc. I just watch the combs to see when they are fully capped. In Atlanta when the nectar flow starts in March/April and is over at the end of June, I usually harvest on the 4th of July or near to that date. If you mean how long does the harvest process take, that depends on how much you have to harvest. With the crush and strain method, one super usually fills a filter bucket so with only one bucket I can only do one super per day, but with two buckets, I can harvest two per day, etc.

    Linda T

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  20. Thanks Linda you answered my question it is about the durations bees take to make honey.Thanks for the Superb video on crush and strain it was informative and educating.i have learn the process of extracting honey from the wax.

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  21. Hi Linda,

    Thanks for all of your help. My question is after you harvest in July, are you done for te season. I move to my land in north Houston in July, and I was considering putting out boxes then, but I don't know if it is a futile endeavor.

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  22. shellinrio, Every part of the country has differences in terms of the honey flow. In Atlanta our season starts in April and ends pretty much in July although some parts of Georgia get a fall flow as well. Some parts of Texas, Florida, etc. get honey all year long. You might check with your local bee club to find out what your expectations can realistically be for north Houston.

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  23. Anonymous10:11 PM

    Linda,Very interesting. I have been contpating beekeeping for some time. After seeing this,I get my hopes up again that someday I will get into it.

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  24. Very helpful video Linda.
    Is that a 9" X 13" pan? Also did you cut the silicon cutting sheet to fit the pan? The sheets I saw in the store were much larger.
    thanks

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  25. The pan is a Caphalon 12X18 pan that I got from Target on sale. The silicon sheets fit perfectly in it. Although with a smaller pan, I'm sure cutting the silicon would work just fine. I like the roominess of the pan for cutting out the honey - it can fall into the pan without pieces missing and landing on the counter!

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  26. Anonymous9:17 AM

    Linda, you are a wonderful person to share your knowledge and experience with the rest of us. Thank you so much. I'm contemplating starting beekeeping and your videos are very enjoyable

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  27. Anonymous9:42 AM

    Linda, Great video and instruction. could you tell be about the straining bucket? What type and how many strainers are you using. I have seen the bucket kits that have 3 strainers (Course,Medium,& Fine)Is this what you use?

    Thanks again

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  28. I use the 3 set strainers, each set inside the other from coarser on the top to finest on the bottom. I got the set from Dadant. It comes with the bucket which is equipped with a honey gate - I've been very pleased.

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  29. Anonymous1:25 PM

    I notice that you can fill a bucket with an entire super, so your filter is down near the bottom? My bucket & filter set is wired with a frame that rests on the rim of the bucket, so I can only mound up about 2 frames, and then I can't get the lid on anyway, as the frame rest is in the way! I believe that I have the same contraption as you - did you modify yours in some way?

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  30. Hi, My filter set sits inside the rim of the bucket. I don't know what you mean by the frame rest being in the way. Did you watch the video? I crush the honeycomb (the wax with honey in it) and then pour that into the filters. I can easily put one super's worth of frames into the filter set. When one super's worth of honey has filtered through, it fills up about 1/3 of the bucket. I got the bucket and filter set from Dadant ($31) and Brushy Mountain sells the same set for a little less.

    ReplyDelete
  31. hi Linda......I'm in my 2nd summer of beekeeping and your blog is so helpful! Thank you for all the good information you are sharing. My wax foundations have wire in them; can I crush and strain with wire? I want to start letting the bees build their own foundation in future.

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  32. If you have wax foundation that is wired in, of course you can crush and strain - you'll just cut around the wire and the comb should fall out of the frame just fine.
    Next year, you won't need to use the wire.

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  33. Thanks so much! :) Have you read Gunther Hauk's little book, Toward Saving the Honeybee? He advocates letting the girls build their own foundation too....

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  34. Followed your instructions and it worked out perfectly! Thanks so much! Beth, Columbus, OH

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  35. Hi Linda! Just wanted to let you know I crushed 2 frames of honey today and it's straining in the sun now. Thank you so much for showing the way to do this. The silicone mat is a wonderful tip! I've never tasted more delicious honey....the girls did a great job!

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  36. Thanks, Jane. I put the video up because I had to reinvent the wheel when I tried it the first time and didn't want others to have the same difficulties - Glad it worked for you.

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  37. Hallo Linda, nice, verry nice. Dog with honey, delicious!
    Greetings Wolfgang
    www.lieblingsimker.de

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  38. The other day i had 500 to a thousand bees work their way into my black plastic composer..I want to know if anyone knows if i leave them in there will they make a hive and produce honey. i don't want to kill them..bad karma..would love some honey but not sure what to do,,,,can anyone help me...here is my email address....latankayaia@gmail.com
    i am truly grateful for any advise...
    Terri

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  39. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Just curious why you would use this method? The poor bees burn up a lot of honey in producing new comb. It is much more efficient and easier to extract the honey so you can put the combs back on the hives and the bees can reuse them. I have some comb that I'm sure is nearing twenty years that I've just uncapped, extracted and then put back on the hives.

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  40. There are any number of reasons to harvest this way that are covered in this and other posts I've put up - if you are putting 20 year old comb back in the hives, that's certainly old comb and most of the research today says that comb should be replaced at the minimum of every five years.

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  41. Linda i thank you for all of your efforts in the composition of such an informative and cost efficient method for the backyard beekeeper to extract his/her honey.

    Thanks a million for taking the time to compose and upload the video for our learning, there really isn't anything comparable to your videos on the net. Really there aren't.

    I appreciate your hardwork and everything that has gone into this blog, you are the pioneer in the beekeeping blogosphere, without a doubt.

    If you don't deliver another post in this blog it still contains boat loads of knowledge for both newbies and veterans alike to glean from.

    Thanks a million!

    Chris Harrell
    Quackycalls.com
    Eastern North Carolina

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  42. Linda,

    You're videos are so helpful! I am so relieved to see your step by step, low-cost ways to harvest honey, melt wax, etc. Thank you!!

    I noticed that you filtered the honey once - is that correct? I have read that it should be filtered a few times so that the honey is less likely to crystallize.

    What do you think?

    Thanks,

    Carrie (Urban Beekeeper in Louisville, KY)

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  43. Carrie, These days I stack three filters, one inside the other (Dadant sells them as a kit.) Then when I filter, although I ostensibly filter once, the honey is going through three levels of increasing fineness of filter before it hits the bucket to be bottled.

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  44. Thanks for this - much appreciated.

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  45. thank you for posting this terrific & helpful video, linda! i crushed comb last year and made a huge mess. i'll definitely try your way this year!

    question: is there a reason you don't let the honey sit (after filtering) for 12-24 hours in the bucket to settle before bottling/jarring? this was recommended to me to help the air bubbles rise to the top before bottling. decreases crystallization????

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  46. Anonymous8:07 AM

    Agree excellent video that I watched more than once, but one clarification, I have beeswax foundation, when scraping, does the foundation stay put and remain in the frame or does it become part of the honey/wax blend that you strain out?
    Thanks again Linda.

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  47. If you are using beeswax, then the bees incorporate the beeswax foundation into the comb. You cut the comb off of the frame (you won't be able to tell what is foundation because it is now part of the honeycomb) as the video illustrates and crush all of it.

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  48. Anonymous8:37 AM

    thats what I thought, but just wanted to double check, appreciate the confirmation-and quick response.

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  49. Thankyou so much Linda for this excellent, beautifully narrated, clear and concise video! I am a noob beekeeper and will use your method. I have a Langstroth with plastic frames but will scrape the wax and honey off as you suggest. Next year I will add a second hive and will try out a top bar setup. Thanks for all your teachings, I love your blog!

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  50. Okay, I think we finally have some honey to harvest. (well, some capped honey comb that they built crooked that needs to be removed). Rookie question, how do you get the frame out without bringing all the bees with you? Is that where the bee brush comes in? I tried searching your site, but couldn't get a good hit, or was using the wrong search criteria. Thanks!

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  51. Thank you so much, this was really helpful. We are brand new beekeepers :).

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  52. Thanks for this video. We started 2 Langstroth and one Top Bar hive this year to see what we prefer. I'm so excited to see that I don't necessarily need to purchase a ton of extraction equipment in order to get the honey from the Langstroth hives!

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  53. Thanks so much for this video! We just removed a ten year hive from our guest house wall. We have a 5 gallon plus bucket of comb that was nice and I wanted to process it. This was a wonderful way for all of us (family) to get involved. We are going a bit more low-tech and frankly, I don't care about the little bits in the honey from our larger screen.

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  54. Diana4:37 PM

    I was so glad to see this video of your. I have tried to crush and strain before with such a messy result! My problem is that after straining (which I let sit for weeks to strain it all), my honey is solid. Is this crystallization or could it be that here in 100 degree Texas, some of the comb melted into the honey? This was the first time I had harvested and am so disappointed.
    Today, I used the method you so wonderfully demonstrated and let it strain for a couple of hours and got liquid honey. I hope it stays that way!
    Thanks for all you do for us newbees.

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  55. Anonymous1:34 PM

    Linda, in the video the buckets were on your porch—dog was checking it out—didn’t that attract bees or do you have your bees in a out-yard?

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  56. The buckets are on my porch but they are closed up (the top is on the bucket and the honey gate is screwed tightly shut) and the bees aren't particularly interested. The dog was just noticing that something was on the landing that usually wasn't there. In that video, my bees are about 20 feet from the bucket.

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  57. Diana, You may have posted this long ago - since this is a 2007 post, but people visit it every day, so I am going to answer your question and hope it's useful to someone else. Whether honey crystallizes or not has to do with the content of the honey - what the nectar source was. Sourwood honey and tupelo honey do not crystallize but most honeys do. I've never gotten a jar from the west that wasn't solid rather than liquid. So leaving your honey for weeks with a nectar source that crystallizes will certainly result in that happening. Put your honey in a pan of hot water if you want it to go back to liquid. Or spoon it up as is and enjoy!

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