Bright Shiny Extractors


We saw this cranky extractor a few years ago, somewhere in southern Europe.

I’m continuing with the series of questions I overheard at last week’s bee meeting. Today, it’s the bright shiny extractor.

Here are those questions:

  • My honey isn’t capped. What should I do with it? (I heard that one from three different beefolks.)
  • Wasps are attacking my hives. How can I stop them?
  • What’s the best extractor to buy? (Today’s topic)
  • There was a pile of brood in front of my hive. Why?
  • I have four good hives, but I think that the fifth might be queenless. What should I do?

museum-benny-extractorWhat’s the best extractor to buy? Someone whom I’d never met before asked me that question. I didn’t know anything about the beekeeper, so it was hard to answer.

What’s the best extractor to buy?  It depends. It’s the extractor that returns the most value for you based on your number of hives, average honey crop volume, food-health inspection requirements, extracting room’s space, your physical abilities, and your budget.

Plastic/stainless steel, homemade/store-bought, horizontal or vertical axis, radial/tangential, 2-frame/240-frame,  electric-power/crank, rent/borrow/own, permanently mounted or mobile –  so much to decide and so little time, especially if you are in the northern hemisphere and still thinking about extracting this year’s crop.

taylor-1880-extractorYou can see how complicated this is. A lot of beekeepers buy the smallest, cheapest extractor that suits all the criteria I mentioned (and more, I’m sure). Buy small and trade up if business grows. A 20-frame extractor will handle your small crop more quickly than a 4-frame, but set-up and clean-up take longer. You must also consider storage space for a contraption you use just two or three times a year. Most beekeepers suggest that nebbies start small and grow if interest in beekeeping continues.

I won’t write more than this about extractors today… there are oodles of websites and youtube videos to confuse inform you.

Here’s a review of a 2-frame extractor:

Reviews of 5- and 10- frame, electric and hand cranked:

A 20-frame extractor:

Finally, let’s pretend that someone gave you a 60-frame extractor and you don’t have a clue how to use it:

    🐝 🐝 🐝

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
This entry was posted in Beekeeping, Tools and Gadgets and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Bright Shiny Extractors

  1. Pingback: Brood in Front of the Hive?!? | Bad Beekeeping Blog

  2. Pingback: Double or Nothing? | Bad Beekeeping Blog

  3. megakeemo says:

    Great article! I’d really appreciate if you took a look at my list of the best honey extractors:


  4. Irma says:

    Thank you so much! I’ve found interesting comparison infographics maybe it would be useful. Content is not relevant 😦 , but chart is useful


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