My father and I have kept 2-3 hives on his farm for the last three, have enjoyed
it alot and get much more honey than we can easily sell or give away each year.
However we haven't been very successful at swarm control, and decided we don't
want to feed our hives through the winter again just so they can swarm right
when the honey flow starts next year. I've never seen anything written about
how to take away ALL they honey from a hive: supers and brood chamber alike.
Beekeeping books mention overwintering colonies versus starting with all fresh
package or nucs each spring, but never go into detail about how to harvest
should you decide not to overwinter your colonies. Does anyone have any
experience with the mechanics of this? I'm wondering how to physically remove
the brood chamber honey, and how to get as little brood and as much honey as
Hi Dave !
One of the methods of swarm control : Requeen . Make sure you give plenty of brood space , i.e. deep empty combs or the size you use. Keep 'em busy.Add supers.
Requeen yearly or bi yearly.
Keep colony free of disease and mites.
Starting every year anew with nucs is to my mind inefficient. Too much time lost building the colony . At least in my neck of the woods. It depends a lot on local conditions.
We never take honey or other food from the brood area, which is usually the two deep bottom hive bodies or the three medium size boxes.
However, you can certainly extract the honey from the brood chamber also . You will find of course brood and Pollen mixed with the honey , but since one filters ( Strains ) it , only the honey is used unless you like larva also. ( There are recipies for that on the net. I think they fry them with garlic).
We keep always hives ready for swarms to introduce. That way you can either start another colony or combine. It is advisable to check for mites and other problems before you combine. Sort of quarantine period.
Ecologically I frown upon destroying colonies because we have enough problems as it is with mites and other destructive doings.
Overwintering : colonies must have stored pollen/ beebread and Honey to survive and the food must be close to the cluster,depending of temperature bees can starve because they do not venture far beyond the cluster to reach the other food. It is prudent then to move the food close to the cluster if the conditions allow you to this.
Generally speaking , the grapevine tells of 10 frames of food to over-winter for a colony. But again : IT DEPENDS ON LOCAL CLIMATIC SITUATIONS.
You can get this info by asking questions to the LOCAL beekeeper. But you might find as many different answers as they are beekeepers and you end up learning by your 's lonely, by trial end error , like the rest of us dummies. IF we knew all about bees , we would not need as many books and articles as there are.
I hope you make out . It's a wonderful hobby and at least it gives something back to you in commodities.( If you do it sort of right.)
Hi from south australia. We run approx.400 hives on pallets and shift them on an international 4x4 10 ton truck some 600km round trip to desert banksia, so they can continue breeding. We must do this to allow us to complete the pollination agreement for almonds.(another 2500 km total 4 trip journey)During this period removal of brood chamber honey can be very distructive to hive moral.(our mild winter). Melting down hives etc is not done however sometimes it occurs on its own during summer (temp in the 42C mark). Currently we are fighting a battle with swarming, sure failing (older)queens can act as a trigger, but thin nectar,and the lack of super room and brood space seem to be more disruptive. When all else fails we frequently kill the queen leaving a single cell. We dont have the luxury of quality queens been available early enough.I always start to worry arriving at our apiaries during this period and in some years because we can have 144 colonies in one spot there can be 20 swarms filling the air ,mixing covering complete pallets etc. A real mess. Anyhow I dont know if any of this helps but good luck anyhow.
Apis down under
Hi, Dave. 1. To avoid extracting from a frame with brood in it, move it above a queen excluder for 12 days (for sealed brood) or 21 days (for eggs) before extracting. 2. To cause swarms to self-retrieve, place a queen excluder under the bottom hive body (on top of the bottom board). Swarms which issue will be back in the hive in a couple of hours and you probably won't even know they left. You must cut queen cells every 10 days if you want to keep your existing hive queen. (If you don't, know that a virgin likely won't go through a QE to mate.) Empty the dead drones off the top of the QE every couple of months. Discontinue when you are SURE the swarming season is over. 3. In the fall, place your unwanted hive on top of another one with a double screen board (with an upper entrance). Allow a few days for the foragers all to relocate then remove the queen in the upper box. After a couple of days, replace the double screen board with newspaper. You now have a twice-sized population available for next spring and have not lost the use of any bees. To go into more detail, address <pugetsoundbees.org>, click on Resources, scroll down and click on Forum, click on "Maximizing the Spring Honey Crop".