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Author Topic: Harvesting Questions  (Read 790 times)
Ruben
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Location: Fairfield, Virginia


« on: February 04, 2006, 07:23:39 PM »

I live in the Shannondoah Valley of Virginia, I was looking for some kind of idea of when will be time to harvest honey? Is it done more than once per year? Also an idea of how much honey could be expected the first season? I am surrounded by farm land in the valley and hundreds of thousands of acres of forest around that. I realize there are a lot of factors that could change thing and I was just looking for some ball park ideas. Like do I need to prepare for June or September? Thanks everyone, this site is extremly helpful! Cheesy
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2006, 08:40:01 PM »

>I live in the Shannondoah Valley of Virginia, I was looking for some kind of idea of when will be time to harvest honey?

Someone from that region can offer you better advice than I can.  But I'd guess mid to late summer would be likely.

> Is it done more than once per year?

That depends on how many supers you have and how often you want to clean all the equipment.  Some people havest several times.  Some keep piling on the supers and harvest once.  I'm one of the lazy ones.  I pile them on and harvest once.

> Also an idea of how much honey could be expected the first season?

Anywhere from none to 200 pounds.  But more than likely, from a package the first season I wouldn't EXPECT any and then be happy if you get any at all.  The next year they will do much better.

> I am surrounded by farm land in the valley and hundreds of thousands of acres of forest around that. I realize there are a lot of factors that could change thing and I was just looking for some ball park ideas.

What kind of forest?  Black Locust?  Gum?  Sourwood?  Maple?  Elm?  Pine?  Cedar?  What are the farmers growing?  Soybeans?  Alfalfa?  Clover?

> Like do I need to prepare for June or September?

I don't know when the main flow is there or if there are several.  Most parts of the country get a spring and fall flow.  Sometimes you just get enough off of the fall flow for them to winter and sometimes you get a surplus you can harvest.  Here the main flow hits the middle of June and runs until about the end of July depending on the rain (which has been scarce these past five years or so).  The fall flow isn't so easy to pinpoint.  The Chickory will bloom in late July or August and will bloom until frost.  The alfalfa will bloom off and on sometimes or sometimes they'll cut it really quick.  The goldenrod and smartweed bloom in late summer and bloom until a hard freeze.  Sometimes theres a pretty good flow from the fall flowers if we get some good rain in the fall.

I hope someone from Virginia can give you a better idea of the timing there.  But a lot of the timing is off this year.  The trees have buds on them already here. That's about two months ahead of time.  Also the rain changes everything.  Too much and the bees can't fly.  Too little and nothing blooms.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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