Its honey harvest time again. I've talked about the uncapping roller before, video here, but you combine this tool with putting 9 frames in a 10 frame honey super and you've made your life much easier.
Most beekeepers use a hot knife, or uncapping knife to cut the beeswax caps off the tops of the honeycomb cells. Uncapping means opening up the cells so you can get the honey out, usually using an extractor.
But with this roller tool, (buy it here) you don't need to use a knife to cut off the caps. The photos look kind of messy, but this works pretty good. With a hot knife, you run the risk of gouging into the honeycomb. This means more work for the bees, rebuilding the comb before they can fill it with honey again.
The uncapping roller punches holes in the caps. Its not a perfect process, but you get much less wax in your honey when extracting. So you don't have to filter nearly as much wax when bottling the honey.
The second new thing I've done is put 9 frames in a 10 frame honey super. This means one less frame than the box is designed for. But what this does is create a bit more space between each frame. The bees draw out the honeycomb a bit farther, which makes uncapping easier. And it means less propolis between frames, its much easier to pull these frames out of the super.
I use brackets that set the frames at the right spacing. This has been a really nice thing.