Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Solar Wax Extractor

I wanted to extract the wax from a hive that we removed from an old house. I read about some solar extractors on the net and thought this was a good idea. I made mine a little differently but with the same outcome. My wax extractor is simply an old fire extinguisher cabinet that you have seen in commercial buildings. They have the rounded plexiglas cover-excellent for solar heat collection. All I did was clean the cabinet up and painted the interior of the cabinet with a black paint. I also wrapped the cabinet with duct insulation for heat gain. I placed a foil pan that I perforated with a tiny nail inside another pan that is not perforated. I placed the wax on top of cheese cloth that is streatched over the perforated pan. It worked fine. I measured the temp inside the cabinet on a sunny day and it measured 138 deg. F

A Home Made Honey Extractor

My father acquired an old antique honey extractor from my grandfather. It was a basket case and the drum was rusted out but it was made of heavy cast iron gears and parts so this was salvageable. I bead blasted the entire extractor (except for the rusted out drum) until it was clean to bare metal. I then cleaned the bushings and replaced the 5/8 inch drive shaft with new. I then primed and painted the mechanism and it is now like new. I purchased a food safe plastic commercial trash and with some back yard engineering was able to make it work well for the barrel. I also was able to salvage the cast iron scissor gate and mounted it on the trash can. It works perfectly. I think the plastic trash can is an excellent barrel for the honey collection. It is easy to clean and very clean. Check out the photo. If interested in how to build this I will be glad to give you the info you need. But first, you need an old worn out extractor to start from.

Re Queen

I purchased a marked clipped wing queen from a reputable bee supplier from Alabama. The weak hive was closely inspected and I found brood but only a very sloppy pattern and very few brood cells were noted. This hive is weak due to either a weak queen or an old queen. I purchased the queen and she arrived intact and healthy. I removed all the frames and located the old queen and eliminated her. I then removed a frame from the middle of the brood hive and placed the queen in this location with the candy plug up. Hopefully would be released in a few days. We shall see.

Update: 5 days later: the queen is still in there. I opened the candy plug so that I could actually see the queen in there through the plug. Will check on her in a couple of days.

Update: 8 days later: The queen is still in the queen cage! I could not believe that she had not been released with the candy plug partially I completely opened the candy plug. I know she will be released now, all she needs to do is walk out of the cage. Will check in a week for eggs.