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Automatic Capping Separator

by Kalman Chaim, Bee Farm-Honey, Israel.

When honey from a frame hive is to be harvested, the wax cappings covering the honeycomb must be carefully removed, before the frame is inserted into the extractor. This technique is known as uncapping. Cappings are made from wax freshly produced by the bees and if carefully melted down, blocks of fresh, pure, light-coloured beeswax of very high quality can be prepared. Such beeswax will fetch the best price on the world market.

An important preliminary step is to separate the wax cappings from the honey accidentally removed along with the cappings. In hot countries where large amounts of honey are being extracted the following simple, inexpensive method can be useful. This method is currently used in Israel.

After a night of draining most of the honey from the cappings the whole of the cappings and remaining honey attached to are them dumped into a large drum of approximately 200 litres capacity. This drum must have at its base either a 5cm closable opening or ‘honey-gate’, and inside at the bottom should contain a round, screening plate approximately 15cm smaller in diameter than the drum and standing on legs approximately 20cm high. The drum must of course have a tightfitting lid, and inside must be lacquered or painted white with a good quality epoxy paint. The outside of the drum must be painted black or another dark, heat absorbing colour.

The drum containing the cappings is placed outside in a sunny spot: the sun warms up the contents of the drum and the honey flows to the bottom. Every two days we remove the honey that has drained down inside the drum: if the honey is not removed frequently then it may be overheated and become dark. From each drum we can obtain 120-140Kg of packable honey, having the same characteristics as extracted honey. After 20 or 30 hot days, the remaining cappings are dry, and can be melted down by the usual methods.