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Author Topic: crush n strain vs. extractor  (Read 1580 times)
11nick
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« on: August 09, 2011, 09:49:54 AM »

My Pap kept bees.  Unfortunately, he died before I was born, so I never got to meet him personally, or learn anything about beekeeping through him.  What got me interested in beekeeping was the stories my dad told me about my Pap.
I don't have hives, as I didn't start my reading until too late this year.  I've been reading and researching relentlessly, getting prepared for next year, though.  My 9 year old daughter is interested and would like to get a hive, too.
Anyhow, reading the forums this morning, I saw several mentions of 'crush and strain'.  I know from talking to my dad that my Pap did it this way. 
What is the logic in crush and strain?  It seems that would be counterproductive. 
How long have extractors been in use?

Thanks
Have a great day!
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Oblio13
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2011, 10:07:41 AM »

I have eight hives and use crush and strain. My best friend has two hives and owns an extractor.

I think cleaning and storing alone makes them more trouble than they're worth at the hobbyist level. Just another thing to spend money on.

I try to stick to the simple basics. Top bars or foundationless frames, old-fashioned methods. I enjoy looking through catalogs at all the things I don't need.
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VolunteerK9
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2011, 10:27:23 AM »

Probably the best, informative video on crush and strain:

http://beekeeperlinda.blogspot.com/2007/06/honey-harvest-crush-and-strain.html

I did a little crush and strain and their is definite pros and cons of each.

Pros: Fresh, new, clean comb every honey flow
        No foundation costs
        No labor in placing foundation in the frames

Cons: It takes time and valuable resources to rebuild comb each time.
         Expense of an extractor, uncapping knife, etc
         
Your doing the right thing by reading and researching things before you dive right in. I was lucky enough that my uncle gave me a 20 frame extractor this past Spring, but even if he hadn't, I believe I would have purchased anyways.
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kathyp
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2011, 02:51:29 PM »

if you are only doing a couple of hives, the expense of an extractor might not be worth it.  crush and strain is easy, but as pointed out, the comb must be rebuild. 

mine are foundationless.  sometimes i have frames that are not completely drawn or that blow out.  i end up doing both crush and strain and mechanical extraction.  i don't have a preference.  both work well.  both have good and bad things about them. 

i second that link being great.  linda has done some fantastic videos and all are worth watching.
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LoriMNnice
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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2011, 02:56:49 PM »

My Pap kept bees.  Unfortunately, he died before I was born, so I never got to meet him personally, or learn anything about beekeeping through him.  What got me interested in beekeeping was the stories my dad told me about my Pap.
I don't have hives, as I didn't start my reading until too late this year.  I've been reading and researching relentlessly, getting prepared for next year, though.  My 9 year old daughter is interested and would like to get a hive, too.
Anyhow, reading the forums this morning, I saw several mentions of 'crush and strain'.  I know from talking to my dad that my Pap did it this way. 
What is the logic in crush and strain?  It seems that would be counterproductive. 
How long have extractors been in use?

I am doing exactly what you are researching and reading all I can. And I am for sure going to do the crush and strain method I learned a lot from the blog K9 suggested Linda has a great video on how to crush and strain and it does not appear to be hard or counter productive. The logic for me is not investing in an expensive piece of equipment that I may not use or like, also what if I only get a little honey my first year it wouldn't justify lugging out an extractor when it would be quicker to do a the crush and strain method. This is just my opinion Smiley I am also going foundationless.
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AllenF
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2011, 04:26:18 PM »

It takes 8 pounds of honey for a bee to "burn" to make 1 pound of wax.   That is a lot of loss honey that can be harvested.   But If all you want is just enough honey for friends and family, then crush and strain is good, easier, and cheaper.   When I was young, we only had comb honey to eat.   We did not even know about crush and strain.   I remember when my dad first got the extractor, which I still use today.   But one day I will have one with a motor on top, just need some extra money.   It is hard to justify that money when something already works.
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caticind
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2011, 05:44:11 PM »

Many beekeeping association chapters (or the friendlier individuals) have extractors that they will loan out to members.  I keep foundationless, and currently use crush and strain, but will be building one of those cheap "bucket" extractors when the load gets too much for me.  I just can't see a commercial-grade extractor being worth it for a beginner.
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11nick
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2011, 06:28:23 PM »

It takes 8 pounds of honey for a bee to "burn" to make 1 pound of wax.   That is a lot of loss honey that can be harvested.

This is why it seems counterproductive to me.  Again, I am just researching things and do not own my own bees.  So I am certainly not in a position to judge another persons methods or logic.  
I have no intention of becoming a commercial operation.  However, it seems reasonable that, if I am going to go down this path, collecting the maximum amount of honey that I can would be most logical.  Although they may be crudely built, there are several versions of homemade extractors that I've seen online that appear to be perfectly functional and cost efficient for a hobby guy.
Having a cheap extractor seems to trump the discussion of crush and strain.
just thinking out loud  
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kathyp
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2011, 06:47:33 PM »

hey, if you can build one, go for it.  remember that you also lose honey in the extraction process.  that's part of the reason that those with only one or two hives may choose to stick with crush and strain....at least to start.  it's about a wash with only a couple of supers, i think. 

either way works fine.  it's just what you can afford and the trouble you want to go to.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
LoriMNnice
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2011, 06:49:19 PM »

I have been reading and learning a lot form this website http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfallacies.htm
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Oblio13
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« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2011, 08:18:40 PM »

It takes 8 pounds of honey for a bee to "burn" to make 1 pound of wax.   That is a lot of loss honey that can be harvested.

This is why it seems counterproductive to me...

Well, a pound of wax goes a looong way, the walls of the cells are gossamer thin. And wax is edible, a food in it's own right. Up until the days of pasteurization, when people said "honey" they meant still in the comb. It's also useful for many things, candles being the most common. Last but not least, not reusing wax is probably healthier for both the bees and us. It accumulates pollutants and etc. Wild bees don't reuse wax for long.

I see wax as part of the harvest, not as a wasted by-product. And I don't see a need to maximize honey production from each hive. I'd rather get my honey from several low-maintenance, unstressed, clean hives than one intensively managed hive.
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L Daxon
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« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2011, 09:26:02 PM »

I second what Oblio13 said.

Although I am going to have access to an extractor this year for the first time in some 10 years as a beekeep, I have always done the crush and strain and view the wax as just as important a part of the harvest as the honey.  Plus I like to put up a lot of comb honey.  My friends seem to like that better than just plain honey as it is much harder to come by in the stores.

As a hobbiest keeper, buying an extractor and storing it (and the empty wax frames) seemed like a lot of expense and trouble.  I was lucky our local bee club bought a new extractor of us all to share this year.  I'll know in a few weeks if an extractor really is worth using.  I think I will be with Kathy that it is probably six of one and half a dozen of the other for the backyard beekeep.
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linda d
ccar2000
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2011, 10:22:31 PM »

It looks like you got a lot of good advise already. I am a hobbyist with just a couple of hives and one thing I would like to add from my experience when I crush and strain is regarding wax coated plastic foundation.  On a warm day after harvest I just scrape the honeycomb right off of the foundation. The frames are ready to go back into the hive for cleaning and am left with clean, wax coated plastic foundation ready to draw out.I agree with Oblio too. "Last but not least, not reusing wax is probably healthier for both the bees and us. It accumulates pollutants and etc."
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2011, 11:17:14 PM »

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm#expenseofwax
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Michael Bush
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