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Author Topic: Noob asks: when to start harvesting honey?  (Read 1564 times)
2-Wheeler
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« on: August 17, 2006, 02:36:02 PM »

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but it seems the answers vary greatly.
With a new hive this year (started in May), when should we start harvesting the honey?  

How do we know when the time is right?  

When would it be too late?

Details:
Bees were installed in early May, (missed the spring fruit trees)
Second Deeps went on June 1st, with good brood production.
First Honey Super went on in Late June.
First Honey Super was full by End of July, so added the second super (left the first one in place).

First frost (or snow) can be anywhere from Mid September to Mid October.

Suggestions?
Additional details:

http://beesandblooms.blogspot.com/
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-David Broberg   CWOP#: CW5670 / CoCoRaHS #CO-BO-218
Blog: http://beesandblooms.blogspot.com/
My Weather: http://www.leyner.org/
My Flickr Album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dbroberg/
Finsky
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2006, 12:34:02 AM »

I have some basic rules:

* When hive has enough capped honey it need more space.
* One capped box needs 2 more boxes where bees rippen the honey
* Queen need enough space for brood
* at the beginning of season bees need space even if they have honey at all.

*** If hive has not enough space for brood and honey it wants to swarm.

* It depends on  honey but it begint to make crystals if it is too long in hive
* if you extract only some frames honey is wasted on surfaces of hanling tools
* It should be at least one box capped until you start to extract.

In this time of year it is time to keep enough space for winter brood. Perhaps your yield season is there over and you should concenrate to build up hive for winter.

I extract my last honeys in the fist week of September and almost in same day I start winter feeding. I take honey away and give sugar instead. All pollen frames I put back into hive.
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AdmiralD
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2006, 12:54:33 AM »

Perhaps someone from that area can attest to how cold you get, but if I guess correctly, your area might need 30-60 lbs of honey to survive the winter. Better to have too much honey for your bees, your first year, than to have not enough and starve your bees.

Since this is your first year, my suggestion is to take as little, if any, honey this year...Next year, you will prolly have enough and then some.
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Finsky
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2006, 01:18:51 AM »

Quote from: AdmiralD
your area might need 30-60 lbs of honey to survive the winter. .


Bees goes over winter very well with sugar syrup. You need not give them honey.

I leave about 10-20 lbs honey in hives because it is not worth to take it away. But whole langstroth box capped honey is 50 lbs. Why to give it to bees?  Pollen is essential for them, not honey. - If you keep bees for honey.

.
Quote
"First frost (or snow) can be anywhere from Mid September to Mid October".


It is same here. I have still 4-5 boxes in hives but after 2 weeks I have only one or two and feeding on. I am in a hurry to extract honey away.

.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2006, 08:34:18 AM »

I have some basic rules:

>>* When hive has enough capped honey it need more space.
This is where the 80-90% rule comes in.

>>* One capped box needs 2 more boxes where bees rippen the honey
This is for supers containing comb if you try this with foundation the bees will put much of the effort into building comb instead of stores which can be a useful tool at times.

>>* Queen need enough space for brood
Always give your queen an adequate brood chamber.  If the queen begins laying in a super she's telling you that she needs more room--give it to her or she will swarm.  Don't worry about reducing the brood chamber until after honey harvest.  I use 4 mediums year around.  The bees have plenty of space for stores and spring build up, yet not so much that they get too chilled during the winter.

>>* at the beginning of season bees need space even if they have honey at all.
Which is why I dedicate 4 mediums as my brood chamber.

*** If hive has not enough space for brood and honey it wants to swarm.
Crowding is the primary cause of swarming--reducing crowding also reduces swarming so supplying ample room in a timely fashion is one of your best swarm management tools.

>>* It depends on honey but it begint to make crystals if it is too long in hive
Honey will crystalize in the comb or in the jar (extracted) the bees will still use sugared honey--this is only a problem if you leave too much on the hive over winter and then try to harvest the excess in the spring.

>>* if you extract only some frames honey is wasted on surfaces of hanling tools
It takes several pounds of honey to get your equipment wet during the extracting process, this honey is lost in cleaning the equipment after extracting is finished.  Dedicating time in order to extract as much as possible at one time reduces honey loss due to getting the equipment wet and clean again thereby optimizing your harvest.
 
>>* It should be at least one box capped until you start to extract.
Uncapped honey is uncured or green honey--it's water content is high which causes fermentation.  The greater the proportion of uncapped to capped honey the greener it is and the more apt to spoil.  If you need to leave honey on the hive; leave the green stuff.  Pulling capped frames from the others areas of the hive and replacing them with the uncured frames of nectar.

I hope this clearifies things a bit.
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2-Wheeler
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2006, 09:23:10 PM »

Thanks for the helpful replies. We'll be doing the extraction next weekend, assuming the last of the supplies arrive by then. I'll give an update and let you know how it went.

The update is posted here. http://www.beemaster.com/beebbs/viewtopic.php?t=6150
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-David Broberg   CWOP#: CW5670 / CoCoRaHS #CO-BO-218
Blog: http://beesandblooms.blogspot.com/
My Weather: http://www.leyner.org/
My Flickr Album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dbroberg/
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