Saturday, January 29, 2011

Take Your Cap Off, Honey

Many things we finally figure out how to do right but only after the fact.

I made a mistake. But I get ahead of myself so I'll tell you that part in a minute.

I bought an uncapping tank last summer. It's a wonderful tool for the hobby beekeeper and easy to use. I got mine from Benson Bee located in the Ottawa area.

A wooden bar that rests securely across the top has a screw sticking up in the middle. That's where you rest the end of the frame while you're using your uncappi knife. You can then swivel the frame around with one hand without having to lift it.

When you run the hot knife up the combs the cut off sheets of comb slide off the knife and drop into the waiting tub below.

The tank itself is two tubs made of a very heavy food grade plastic. They're built so that one sits inside the other. Between the tubs sits a metal grill that looks a lot like a queen excluder.
When the cappings are cut off they fall and rest on the grill--so in effect an uncapping tank is actually a really big strainer.

As the combs sit the honey drips down and is collected in the second tank which has the all important tap. After the cappings have been left to drip for a few days, you stick a pail under the spout and let the honey pour 0ut.

Unless you're me. This is where the mistake part comes in. We did an extraction and I left the cappings to collect later. Dad emptied the honey into jars. Then we did a second and third extraction shortly after (working with 4 hives). Again, Dad got the honey into jars.

But we left the cappings until "later". That was the mistake part.

The amount of honey we ended up with was overwhelming. Dad and I were busy scrambling for containers, jars, etc. We were so focused on the honey we forgot about the cappings.

The honey sat long enough in the cool basement that it crystallized into a solid mass.

Nothing is wasted but it'll be a difficult to clean it up. I could really use a hot sunny day for that but that'll be a few too many months from now.

I like the tank. The inside tub sits on ledges in one of two positions. In the higher up position there is more room underneath for the cappings to collect.

I've just got remember to remove them.
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