Our First Extraction

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Yesterday we inspected the Goldie hive, just checked the supers.  We were keen to see how the girls got on with capping some more frames of honey. (Double click on the images to enlarge) We managed to find only three frames that had over 80% capped honey on both sides, so we convinced the girls via shaking the bees off the frames to let us take some honey. I guess we should have waited until we had 8+ frames to make the extraction more worthwhile, but we were keen to try out our new extractor. Today we cleaned up the Kitchen and the extractor and other equipment that we needed for the work.  Some friends came over for a visit, so we had to put our extraction on hold for a couple of hours.   But then it was time to get busy with creating our first honey. We turned on our decapping knife which is like a large electric bread knife, it heats up so you can melt the top layer of wax on the capped honey (see photo). Once we got the hang of the knife things were going pretty well, we put two frames in the extractor and Margaret started the spinning.  It was very exciting seeing the honey hitting the side of the tank and slowly dripping into the lower chamber. We used a glass jar and a strainer as our decapping tank, this was fine for three frames.  But we will need to get something bigger if we get to extract more honey. An extractor uses centrifugal force to push the honey out of the frames.  You can read more about extractor at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_extractor. The handle fell of our extractor, as we hadn’t screwed it on correctly in our haste to get the honey. After a quick find of an allen key in the workshop, we were back on the job turning the handle.  We learnt something about our extractor.  Only use frames that are similar weight, one empty and one full make it wobble all over the place.  So we decided then to only even number of frames from the hive, which could be a pain as our supers all have nine frames? Once both sides of the frames were completed (about 5 mins a side), we got some sterilised jars and started the bottling process.  We got much more honey that we expected, so we had to sterilised some more jars. The honey was very clear and very sweet, it tasted a lot like clover honey with a hint of Manuka.  It isn’t as hard as commercial honey, but that maybe because it hasn’t been creamed.  We think the creaming process may destroy some of the honeys natural properties.  But keen to hear what other Beekeepers do? We also learnt that you shouldn’t turn on the decapping knife when it has wet honey/wax on it, it started to burn and turns black.  Not a good smell either… We were off to a 60th birthday party that night, so we gave our good friends Glyn and Kaye the first jar that we produced.  A present from the Bees and us to them.  It was a great night.  We are keen to hear Glyns review as he has a Honey sandwich everyday.  So he must be a honey connoisseur to sure. Thanks to the Bees of Goldie for giving us this great gift, and the bee’s helped clean up afterwards we put out the extractor and frames outside for them to clean off the unused honey. Is there no end to the help Bees give mankind? All Photos:-
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