Last year I started with 4 TBHs from packages, and increased to 30 by catching swarms all spring summer and fall. I lost 4 hives total over the course of that year. 1 swarm absonded when I didn't leave it alone. Another got taken advantage of by Wax moths when the weather was poor for a whole week right after I caught the swarm. 2 hives I lost when my family moved 1 town over. The hive had a modicum of beetles in it, but I had no choice but to move the hives anyway. The move destroyed the damaged combs and subsequently the whole hive crashed from the the neglect the hive got for 1 week after the move which the whole situation was unavoidable. In the end I had 30 hives going into winter (which here in florida is REALLY mild and the bees work all winter when temps aren't too low. There is always something blooming her).
Anyway, to get to the point. I haven't looked inside my hives since the start of this years citrus bloom, which started a month late because of the new and strange weather patterns and the hurricanes we got last year. No biggy, so I hadn't checked my hives for about 4-6 weeks. The hives were mostly empty except a bar or two of honey left over from winter. Well I just checked my hives this after noon because I wanted to move them from one side of my house to the other. I figured I could just pick them up and carry them myself because I could pick up the ends no problem. I was VERY wrong. So I opened up the back of that first hive. I was looking at half filled honey comb on the 2nd to last bar. OK!! Next hive, same thing, but a fuller comb. Contiue on down the line all the same.
I have got to say, that although it took ALL year for the newly installed bees to almost fill a hive. The hives that overwintered are all full after a 5-6 flow. I am amazed, utterly amazed.
Anyone who tells you TBHs have mediocre honey production is full of it.
For the record my hives are 35 bars long, roughly the size of 3 deeps in volume. I have roughly 1.5 - 2 deeps worth of honey in every hive for a 5-6 week season. That's roughly more than 4000 lbs of honey by rough reckoning.
I wasn't expecting that kind of production at all this early. Tomorrow I begin harvest by removing only enough honey to give them a week's worth of room, and then go back and harvest the rest afterwards. Its going to take me a week to prepare and harvest it all.
Scot Mc Pherson<br />McPherson Family Honey Farms<br />Davenport, IA<br />BeeWiki: <a href=\"http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org\" target=\"_blank\">http://beewiki.linuxfromscratch.org</a> <br /><br />Pics:<br /> <a href=\"http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/\" target=\"_blank\">http://linuxfromscratch.org/~scot/pics/bees/</a>