Honey Crop Bottled Up

We’ve let our honey sit in 5-gallon buckets for about a week and the loose wax has floated to the top, so Joe bottled most of the honey in the bucket that has a convenient spicket at the bottom.  We got 48 one-pound bottles so far.

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The last 2 or 3 inches in the bucket is full of wax, so Joe is going to pour most of the other bucket full on top of it and give it another week to settle out again.  This is a slow, tedious process.  We do own a series of increasingly fine filters that we could pour the honey through, but it seems to take forever to find its way through the wax.

When we uncap the cells to release the honey, I use a fork-like tool that is meant for cutting a layer cake.  It has about 20 prongs, so it seemed to be a cheap, convenient solution to the problem. I am beginning to think that I should invest in a heated knife though.  Maybe it would reduce the amount of stray wax that we have to deal with.  Any opinions out there from you beekeepers?

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About bluestempond

Hobby farmer living at Bluestem Pond in Michigan.
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2 Responses to Honey Crop Bottled Up

  1. adalynfarm says:

    Bottling is the sweet reward, isn’t it! We used an uncapping fork for the first year or so (our thought being to try to leave as much drawn foundation as possible for next year) and fought the ‘tiny bits’ of wax the entire time. I finally picked up a cloth paint strainer (fits inside a 5 gallon bucket) from the local hardware store, and poured the wax/honey slurry in and let it sit for a week or two. That worked like a charm. (even after the bag had hung for a few weeks the wax was still sticky, I set it out on on some old cookie sheets, and the bees cleaned it all out for us!)

    We did finally manage to buy a used electric uncapping knife from an old beekeeper, and we LOVE it! I had to rig up an uncapping tank, to cut the cappings off into, and when we are done extracting, I heap up the cappings on the filter stack, and let it drain for a few days, then put it outside for the bees to clean out. We get more wax (which we have NO trouble selling at a great price) and we are OK with that. The big trick, is to only run 9 frames in the honey super. Spaced out the bees will draw out the cells even deeper, and that not only makes the uncapping easier, but you get more honey per frame handled, and each box has almost as much as running 10 frames. They uncap faster too because all the cells stick out past the edges of the frames.

    I’d get into how we render the wax, but frankly I think this would be better as a blog post in itself…

    • bluestempond says:

      Wow, thanks for the great input! We tried 9 frames per box one year, but the bees tried to fill it in with so much propolis that we could hardly pry them apart. I had never thought of selling the wax, either. How did you go about that?

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