Harvest timing

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frank
Newbee
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 9:36 am

Harvest timing

Post by frank » Wed May 15, 2019 10:51 am

When do you usually harvest spring honey? I generally harvested honey in early June as the flow seemed to end about that time. What do you recommend? Thanks

Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1458
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Harvest timing

Post by Jacobs » Wed May 15, 2019 11:03 am

I pull frames as capped and replace them with open drawn comb. I hope the bees will continue making honey during the flow or at least start toward replacement feed for the honey I am taking. I put the frames in the freezer until I am ready to extract, then let them come to room temperature AND then warm frames for a better flowing honey on the day I plan to extract. Honey flows best around 96 degrees, and this is well within the range of internal temperatures for a hive with significant brood in it.

frank
Newbee
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 9:36 am

Re: Harvest timing

Post by frank » Wed May 15, 2019 12:14 pm

Wish I had enough drawn combs. I supered them with new foundation a few days ago. When do you think the spring flow usually ends?

Jacobs
Guard bee
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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Harvest timing

Post by Jacobs » Wed May 15, 2019 2:30 pm

Usually between June 1st & June 15th.

Gary B
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat May 10, 2014 5:08 am
Location: Summerfield NC

Re: Harvest timing

Post by Gary B » Sun May 19, 2019 7:30 pm

My two hives, are fairly strong and unfortunately they don't have any nectar in the supers at this point, even though I have 2 supers of drawn comb on each hive. According to my last year spreadsheet, I started seeing really heavy nectar coming in the last week of May/1st week of June. I'm a little concerned considering the summer like temperatures coming up as it may be too dry for the foliage to produce nectar. I noticed last year that the best nectar gathering days were usually right after a rain the day before. Hopefully I'll start seeing something. Are others seeing similar results? I live in Summerfield.
I usually target harvesting 4th of July weekend.

reedyfork
Nursebee
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:09 am

Re: Harvest timing

Post by reedyfork » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:27 pm

With new packages, I understand that I'm not to take any honey this year, but to leave it for them to use through the winter. Am I to leave the (now) full supers right where they are or am I supposed to take them off, freeze/store, and return before winter? They are awfully heavy to be pulling off and on every time I need to inspect...

Similar question about empty(ish) supers that are on top now. Can and should I just take them off now that nectar is not coming in - that way they have less empty space to guard and manage?

Jacobs
Guard bee
Posts: 1458
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:36 pm
Location: Greensboro, NC

Re: Harvest timing

Post by Jacobs » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:37 pm

You have options. You will want a full medium super of capped "honey" on the hive going into winter. You can put the capped frames in the freezer and return them to the top of your hive toward the end of August or in September. If you do this, I would keep feeding sugar water at the 1:1 mixture for 3 reasons-(1) you don't want your bees to starve (2) steady "nectar" may keep some queens laying that would otherwise slow egg laying as nectar supplies slow and (3) if you can get more comb drawn, that would be a bonus. Strong hives with young bees, warm weather, and in need of space are more inclined to draw comb. This won't happen in nature when the nectar flow slows/stops. I will probably put a second hive at the house to comb building if I can get the bees to cooperate. I have had 1 swarm drawing comb for awhile. I have 3 medium supers of newly drawn comb in the hive and have them working on a 4th. It takes A LOT of sugar water to get them to draw comb, and I do periodic checks to make sure the hive is still producing brood and has not become "nectar" bound.

You can leave the capped frames on the hives if you want. The bees may move the "honey" within the hive or consume it if they need feed, so don't assume that it will be there for fall/winter because it is there now.

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