The Guild owns a 9-frame Maxant motorized extractor with the goal of making it available to Guild members to use. The extractor will be available for members to rent at times and dates TBA this year. We will also have a 2-frame hand-crank extractor available for use. There will be a Guild member with extraction experience present at the event to assist you if you need help. You must be a Guild member in order to rent one of the extractors (if you are not a member and would like to become one, see the Guild website). One hour should be enough for most people, if you think you will need more, let us know. In addition to a small fee for using the motorized extractor, we are asking for a donation of one pound of honey (you can donate more if you wish!). This honey will be used for Guild educational events (like honey tastings, yum!). The fee is as follows:
Motorized extractor â€“ $10 / hour + minimum of 1 pound of honey
Hand-operated extractor â€“ No money, just a 1 pound jar of honey
We plan on having a few dates later this year when the extractor will be available for rent. Stay tuned for more info about using the extractor.
Here's how it works...
Sign up for an extraction timeslot via the Guildâ€™s â€œinfoâ€ email address. When you email us, specify at least 2 one-hour time slots that would work for you and let us know which extractor you'd like to use and we'll let you know what is available. Time slots will be given away on a first-emailed, first-served basis.
Arrive 15 â€“ 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled time, in order to uncap your honey for extraction. Â The facilitator will teach you how to uncap your honey if you need guidance. Â FOR UNCAPPING BRING: Serrated breadknife with a blade of 7 inches or longer, a cookie tray, a strainer or colander and a container into which the strainer fits. You will also need to bring some kind of container(s) for your honey. You can bring a bunch of small jars or larger containers.
Enter your name and all requested information in the Extractor log book (only the motorized extractor has a logbook).
Check the extractor for damage or missing parts; report any discrepancies to the facilitator. Â After resolving any issues, go ahead and extract your honey as described in the instruction manual (only the motorized extractor has an instruction manual).
Drain extracted honey through strainer(s) into the collection bucket, provided by the Guild. Â This bucket has a â€œgateâ€ (like a spigot or tap) at the bottom for dispensing the honey into smaller containers.
If another person is extracting after you, ask them if they want you to fully clean the extractor before they begin. Â Most people will not mind if there is a small amount of your leftover honey in the extractor. Â However, each person is entitled to begin with a clean extractor if they prefer it.
If you are the last person to extract, thoroughly clean the extractor and its parts with warm water. Do not use hot water as this can melt any wax that is present and make for a much more difficult clean-up. Rinse until all honey residue is gone and allow the extractor and its parts to dry. Â The facilitator will properly store the extractor after it has dried.
Clearly label a 1-pound jar with your name, the zip code of your hives, the year and the season in which your bees made the honey. This is the jar to be donated to the Guild.
Dispense the remainder of your honey from the bucket into your personal containers. Â If another person will use the bucket after you, ask them if they want you to fully clean the bucket before they use it. Most people will not mind if there is a small amount of your leftover honey in the bucket. Â However, each person is entitled to begin with a clean bucket if they prefer it.
If you are the last person to use the bucket, thoroughly clean and rinse it with warm water until all honey residue is gone. Â The facilitator will properly store the bucket after it has dried.
Last but not least, enjoy that delicious honey and share some with friends and family!
The Guild is about a year-and-a-half old and we have grown faster than we could have imagined. Many of you know that we have been holding our monthly meetings at a few different places including Wyck Historic House, The Unitarian Church in Mt. Airy and the Francisville Rec Center. While all of these are great places and we are extremely thankful that they have extended us the privilege of meeting in their spaces, none of them really meet all of the long-term needs of the Guild.
So this is where you come in - if you know of a place where the Guild can meet once a month, send us an email about it and we will look into it as an option. The following is a "wish list" for the Guild's ideal meeting place:
A central location that is easily accessible to residents from all areas of the city (we have members from the Northwest to the Northeast, from West Philly to Center City to South Philly and everywhere in between!)
A location where parking is easy
A location that can comfortably fit 50 people
A location that does not charge for the use of the space
A location that is available on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 7-9:00 pm
A location where we can keep a few hives!
Now there is probably some flexibility with these criteria, but these describe the ideal place. Send us your ideas - no idea is too crazy! Thanks for your help!
Take a few minutes to watch this video on how bees see and about a relatively new discovery (as far as we know!) of "heater bees" and the role they play in regulating the temperature in the hive. Besides the cool video, you get happy music, a lovely British accent and a spiffy white beesuit!Â Enjoy!
One of the recommendations that several of our experience beekeepers have made in various meetings is that it's a good idea to replace the queen in a hive every year. A queen can survive for much longer than that but -- one theory goes that nature prefers young queens. Therefore, many beekeepers introduce a young queen in the fall so she can be ready to build up quickly in the spring.
You are encouraged to read the literature on beekeeping theories, as well as discuss them with experienced beekeepers, before making your hive management decisions. Often you will see published studies that contradict old-time beekeeping lore. Still, lore is based in a kernel of truth - so gain your own experience as well, to develop your judgement.
Guild board member, Jeff Eckel, is starting to raise and sell his own queens in Philadelphia.