No Small Dreams
No Small Dreams
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Commenced:
01/06/2010
Submitted:
06/02/2011
Last updated:
07/10/2015
Location:
Graceville, Queensland, AU
Website:
http://nosmalldreams.net/
Climate zone:
Sub-tropical





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No Small Dreams

No Small Dreams

Graceville, AU


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Top bar bee hive maintenance #3

Project: No Small Dreams

Posted by Tim Auld over 8 years ago

My first attempt at harvesting honey from my top bar bee hive. Exciting and messy!

The hive hadn't been opened up for quite a while and It turns out that the bees had build comb out of alignment with the top bars. This made it impossible to extract some of the combs because they just broke off the bars. I believe this is because a) the comb guides were too short - beyond the guide the bees got off track and combs further out had to follow suit and b) honey comb is wider than brood comb. In the next hive I'll try to address both of these issues.

I managed to take out an almost full comb of honey and part of another which broke while I inspected it. I tried to sew the brood comb back on but this appears to have failed as I can see it laying on the bottom of the hive. I got about 1.2 kg of honey and 50g of wax. It's amazing how little wax the bees need to contain their honey!

To extract the honey I mashed up the comb and let it strain in the sun. It wasn't as difficult or messy as I expected. Certainly a good method for small scale production, as opposed to spending ~$400 on a centrifuge for Lang frames. I'm still interested in setting up a Lang hive to compare the two designs.

The remaining honey was separated from the wax by melting it in the microwave. I made a candle out of the wax using a simple newspaper mold and a medium sized wick from an art & craft store.

There is still a lot of honey left in the hive and I think the bees will be fine over winter in Brisbane's mild climate.

Oh, and the honey is probably the most sweet and delicious I've ever tasted!

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Comments (4)

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Mark Brown
Mark Brown : Did you uncap the comb before mashing? It sounds as if it could have been really serious. Thanks for sharing Tim
Posted over 8 years ago

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Tim Auld
Tim Auld : Hi Mark, as far as I know uncapping the comb is something you do for a centrifuge. Since it's all mashed up the caps come off anyway.

What could have been serious?
Posted over 8 years ago

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Simon Chauvette
Simon Chauvette : Hi Tim we are using this design http://www.backyardhive.com/General/General/BackYardHive_Beekeeping_Shop/ (the "Golden Mean" hive) and it's working really well. The guides are longer and higher and they usually build straight combs. It looks like the topbars we are using might be bigger, too. Cheers!
Posted over 8 years ago

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Tim Auld
Tim Auld : Hi Simon, thanks for the link. That's almost the conclusion I came to - my guides were too short and the honeycomb bars (at the least) had to be wider - but I didn't consider the depth. For the second hive I've decided to try string attached melted wax most of the way across, and 42mm bars on the outside.
Posted over 8 years ago

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