Honey harvesting has always been labor intensive, but with a honey uncapping roller, its a lot easier. This is the second harvest we've done with the comb roller, and its much easier to use than a hot capping knife.
With a capping knife, its easy to gouge out large chunks of honeycomb, exactly what you want to avoid in the first place. The idea is to remove the beeswax caps on the honey cells, but not damage the cells themselves. Its an ideal that we don't achieve often. When you only do honey harvesting twice a year, you don't get to practice much with the uncapping tools.
With the honey uncapping roller, ( buy it here ) you just roll the tool across the face of the frame several times up and down, and side to side. You have to be careful not to crush the comb, especially when extracting honey from wired foundation. ( I prefer plastic foundation, btw )
I have found that sometimes, after putting the frames into the extractor, I may have to re-roll areas of the frame, but its still so much better than using a capping knife.
Honey harvesting is easier, here's why:
- You get a lot less beeswax in your honey
- No hot knife that is plugged into the wall
- Most anyone can do this task
- Honeycomb is not destroyed.
You no longer need a cappings tub of some sort to catch all the beeswax and honey while uncapping. I stand the frames up in an old cake pan. While bottling the honey, the honey runs through a kitchen sieve. The amount of beeswax cappings from one super is less than a handful.
I have found that at times, not all the honey is extracted from the frames, but to me its not a big deal. I put these frames back out in the beeyard and they are cleaned up quickly by the honeybees.
Watch the uncapping roller in action in this honey harvest video
So there you go, have you used the cappings roller for honey harvesting? Let me know below:
I don't like the hot knives either; I trend to remove more wax than desired. This mostly happen we the comb is not unit formed height. Being a fisherman, I am handy with a filet knife and thought this year I would give it a try. I was able to cut the wax caps off if paper thin slices but still had some problems where the comb dipped. Next year I'll uncapping roller. Most likely will end up using a combination of a filet knife and small roller.
Thanks for your insight, I was wondering about the use of a uncapping roller.
I purchased a roller as a test of its ease to use. My first use was a little rough After a little practice, I love it. It’s super easy, quicker than the knife and leaves the comb in much better shape. Love it.
I have used a camping roller among other ways.
Ie hot knife,hot air blower, propane torch.
,and just a cold knives no heat.
And found that this roller method is t hff e easiest and less destructive to the comb. Just don't press so hard.
Bee keeping in Montana.