The sole purpose of honey extractors as the name implies, is to remove honey from the combs without damaging or destroying the honey combs as they be reused. They are mechanical devices used for honey extraction soon after the honey has been harvested.
They have a drum where the honey comb is placed and then this drum spins at such high speeds that the honey flings out of the combs leaving the comb without honey while remains intact inside the extraction chamber. In a nutshell centrifugal force is applied for the effective use of this device.
Before the honey is placed in the extraction chamber for extraction it must be uncapped first, there are various tools that can be used for uncapping the cells, and all of these can be bought from most beekeeping equipment suppliers. You can either use manual uncapping knives or forks but some beekeepers prefer to use electrical knives to uncap the combs.
All the extracted honey collects at the bottom of the extraction chamber and most extractors have a tap at the bottom, where the collected can be drained out or honey pumps can also be used to remove honey from the extraction chamber.
There are various types of honey extractors available depending on the use and quantity of combs you may plan to extract honey from. These include the tangential and radial extractors and they differ on how the frames are placed in the extractor’s basket. In the redial extractor the frames are usually placed with the top facing outwards and compared to the tangential extractors only the one side of the frames faces outwards & redial types are commonly used in commercial honey extraction.
Redial types require less amount of work compared to tangential extractors, because the honey combs don’t need to be turned over to extract all of the honey in the combs. Honey extractors come in various sizes depending on the intended use, for commercial use larger extractors are used for they can hold hundreds of frames at one time allowing for gallons of honey to be extracted. But someone starting out in beekeeping will look to use a small size extractor that holds three to four frames at a time.
A good small scale extractor can cost a couple hundred bucks, but if you don’t have the budget yet, you can still make your own and there are great ideas available for you on the net which you can explore. I wouldn’t worry too much about the cost of an extractor as they are reasonable priced by most beekeeping supplies.
Once the extraction process is complete, you want to ensure that your honey is free of fragments from dead bees like legs, wings and other things. The best way to go about this is to filter your honey using at least a 400 or 600 micron filter, they can be reasonably bought for ten dollars or less and most filters have adjustable heads that can fit most bucket sizes up to a five gallon bucket. These filters can be washed and sterilised and they are re-usable.
In conclusion I’d like to inform you that beekeeping standards for hygiene are very high so always keep your place of extraction spotless and germ free. Whoever works with honey must always be wearing a hairnet, clean clothes and the tools and equipment must be washed and sterilised on a regular basis.