Albuquerque Beekeepers

Urban beekeeping in New Mexico's largest city.

Talking to a friend about Top Bar Hives and he asked how do you separate the honey from the wax?

Besides the crush and strain method, is there any other that has worked well for you?

Thought ya'll could give different solutions. What have you tried, what worked best for you?

How about different types of strainers, disposable paint filters, nylons, ect.

Thank you in advance for your reply's.

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I use crush and strain right now for both TBH and Langstroth hives.  Extracting a TBH comb would be somewhat difficult, although with a properly designed basket it could be done.  However, I don't have an extractor and I don't want to build special baskets.


Collander over a bucket in the sun....with some kind of screen/cheesecloth over the comb.  This preserves the comb for packaging.

I sped the crush and strain method up a bit by putting the strainer inside a metal bowl and sticking the whole thing in the oven at a VERY LOW setting. You have to be careful with this because you don't want to heat the honey up too much. The oven should be just warm enough that the honey moves faster, but not so warm that it melts the wax. I turn the oven on to preheat for a few minutes then turn it off and let the comb sit in there. 


Putting the wax with the left over honey in the oven is an excellent idea.


I have done a lot of the crush and strain and have never been really happy with the results.  My main issue is that there is always a lot of the honey that stays in the wax.  The method that I use now is one that I have developed by trial and error.  You squeeze the comb and focus on making a big ball of wax, squeezing it with both hands just as hard as you can you over and over.  Just keep grabbing handfuls of comb and squeezing it into the ball until the ball of wax it too big to manage.  You can squeeze almost all of the honey out if you are patient leaving a fist size dense and relatively clean ball of wax.  Throw these wax balls in the collander and a little more honey will drip off of them but most is of it is already gone.  One of the side benefits is that at the end you have these balls of wax that are easy to process into sellable/useable blocks that when melted, don't have a lot of honey in them. 


Squeeze method is interesting too! A bit messy, but only for a short while.


To add to my earlier comment, I crush and stir the wax between partial meltings. I maybe heat the same wax 2 or 3 times in total. This helps get more honey out. Maybe at then end you can try the squeeze method, but I recommend getting as much honey out as possible by crushing the comb up. The squeeze method is effective, but messy.

On that note, I've been thinking of a honeycomb-press design that would allow one to put chunks of honeycomb into a shallow pan and then crush the comb flat, releasing the honey to flow downslope and eventually into a bowl. The result would be a flat cake of wax and honey dripping into a pan below. Has anyone seen anything like this? 


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