Bees for Development
Centrifugal honey extractors are used to extract honey from frames by spinning the honey out.
How they work: The beekeeper removes only the cappings of the honeycomb and places the comb into baskets in the extractor. The basket mechanism is revolved at high speed and the honey is spun out using centrifugal and centripetal force. The wet frames are then returned to the bees for cleaning. The honey collects at the bottom of the steel extractor and can be removed through a tap or gate.
Honey can be removed from the combs without causing damage to the combs. The combs can be used again.
Replacing combs can cause the spread of disease between colonies, especially American and European Foul brood where the infective agents are spread with the spread of honey.
The honey extractor is a very expensive piece of equipment.
Honeycomb can be broken and crushed and then left to drip through a sieve or basket. This method is very simple and can be efficient. This method is called the simple run method.
The simple run method is time consuming and not suitable for a larger operation, for example, when harvesting from more than 75 colonies. Honey presses can be used. There are two main types - the screw type and the lever type. A screw press requires a screw of the type used in a car jack or tobacco press. These can be expensive to import, but can be made locally. A lever press is cheaper to make and therefore a good option for the larger scale beekeeper.
Once honey production, collection, consolidation, packing and sales rises over about 15-20 tonnes then some additional equipment may be useful for the packer. The packer may need to deal with large quantities of granulated honey that has gone solid while it is in store so may need a large scale unit for melting the honey at a controlled temperature. In addition it may be necessary to store honey temporarily in large scale warming tanks connected to pumping equipment to move the honey to the point of bottling. These pieces of equipment will always be made of stainless steel and will be very expensive. Anyone believing that they have reached this scale of productivity should seek knowledgeable advice about the type and scale of equipment needed for this circumstance. A great deal of money can be wasted by poor choice of unsuitable large scale equipment.
List of Articles available on this topic (2):
Haiti Beekeeping Mission
Smokers: their Maintenance & Use