Cleaning the Extractor and Tying up Loose Ends

Overall we had a good season this year, extracting over 300 lbs from five of the hives that produced surplus. We also pulled about another 150 pounds from five hives that were given to me by a friend who plans on moving. The deal was that I would extract the honey for him and I get to keep the 5 hives and the location, which works well for both of us. It’s also on a farm about 5 miles away, so it fits right in with our name Berkshire Farms Apiary.
My friend Shira has been an awesome help with all of the bee chores, visiting the hives, extracting, bottling honey, and especially working the North Adams farmers market and filling in for me the last two weeks of October.
My daughter had a baby, so I was in Syracuse NY from October 14th through the 28th. More on that excitement another time, but the gist of it is, it was 1:30 am on Sunday morning and I was desperately trying to finish up the last of the frames from two last supers of honey, when Mackenzie called saying she was in labor.
My wife and I were already packed and ready to go, and Shira and I had gone over plans for her to do the last two weeks of the market.
The only things I hadn’t done were put out the extractor and the cappings to be cleaned.  While I was away I missed the last two week window of good weather. I came home to a week of rain and cold weather, so I held off for another week hoping for a few warm days, but it’s been in the high 30-low 40 degree range, so last night I resolved to clean the extractor.
I took one of those green Scotch-Brite cleaning pads, cut a section off, and wrapped it around a wooden dowel, attaching it with a staple gun. With a few gallons of warm water to wet the rack and sides of the extractor, it made quick work of cleaning the sticky honey and excess wax out without having to reach inside by hand. After that I set up the little space heater to dry it out, and it’s ready for storage. Now, to get those cappings cleaned and melted.

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About Beekeeping in the Berkshires

Here at Berkshire Farms Apiary we've been keeping bees and making honey since 2005, with hives in most of the surrounding towns. We also make pure beeswax candles, lip balm, and hand salve, as well as give presentations. As secretary of the Northern Berkshire Beekeepers Association, I am very active in the local beekeeping community.
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2 Responses to Cleaning the Extractor and Tying up Loose Ends

  1. Steven C says:

    I feel you pain – there’s no good way to clean an extractor!
    I ended up dismantling mine and bringing it in to the shower with me one morning to clean it (getting hot water to the extractor was harder than just bringing the extractor to the water!)

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