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Extraction – a fun day had by all

First extraction of 2014

Dad’s hive, which is more or less becoming mine, had some boxes which needed extracting – there were two and a half boxes of 3/4 depth boxes. We left a full depth box full for the bees, at least 20 Kg, so they won’t be hungry. It is funny how a day like this brings out community spirit – we had a total of 7 adults, 2 teens, and 9 children all helping, so everybody did a little bit of work, and left happy and sweetened out.

Some things I learned today:

  • Fresh honey tastes far, far better than anything found in a store.
  • Children love tasting honey as it pours from the spout of the extractor.
  • Adults love tasting honey as it pours from the spout of the extractor.
  • Many hands make light work.
  • Community is how we were supposed to be, as human beings, working together with nature, rather than human doings, wearing ourselves out.
  • Bees are marvelous.

So, total extraction today, a bit over 31 Kg (still waiting on the cappings to drain fully). It is quite amazing to see, smell, and feel the weight. Dad’s honey is a rich golden colour, due to the site – in the suburbs, surrounded by our beautiful Christchurch gardens. One year, the honey had an almost greenish tinge, due to the herbs on offer.

Boxes needing extraction

The boxes needing extraction, there were thirty frames, but only 25 were full.

Cappings knife

The cappings knife. Used to remove the wax cappings from the combs, so the extractor can remove the honey. The knife is steam powered, so yeah, steampunk rulz.

Pressure cooker

Pressure cooker for generating steam to run the knife.


Ol’ Bessie, the hand powered extractor. She does vibrate a touch. When in full flight, rays of sun light up fine tendrils of golden honey rising out of the barrel. You end up with a glistening, sticky chest after operating the extractor.

The team

Some of the team spinning the extractor.

Final product

Our final product, fresh honey and honey comb packaged up and ready to go.


One of the helpers, busily spinning the extractor. He doesn’t have the same mass of which some of us may boast, so was jiggled around a great deal.

Removing cappings

Removing cappings with the steam knife. The cappings are drained of honey, melted down, and recycled as pure beeswax.


You spin me round, like a record right round…

There was an odd number of frames, and one of the full frames had broken (the nail holding the top bar came loose), so the broken frame was sacrificed to provide honey comb. Yum.

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