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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Burlington ,Vermont
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    Default When to extract?

    Hello,
    I'm new to this forum and relatively new to beekeeping. I've had one hive since last spring, and as of yesterday, I have two (captured a swarm!) My question is about when to extract honey.

    Is it better for the bees to extract while there is still nectar flowing (I live in Vermont so it's nearing the end of nectar flow)? Or can I extract any time as long as I leave enough honey for them to survive the winter?

    I've heard that it's better to extract while there is still nectar flowing so that they can replenish their stores, but that doesn't quite make sense to me because I won't be taking honey from the deeps anyway. Why not wait until after nectar flow? Can anyone clarify this for me?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Calvert, Md,USA
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    1,701

    Default Re: When to extract?

    I guess the "NORM", if there is such a thing, is after the main flow. JMO, a lot is preference after that. Some do because the need the room for the fall flow for the bees winter stores. I've done that, I've left the harvest on the hives overwinter, I've harvested in the fall. I haven't pulled mine yet this year. Partly due to the high temps this year, and partly I am waiting to see how some of my new hives do in the fall flow. I may need to rob from the rich to give to the poor. I'm not in this for the honey per se, so that's what works for me. I'm sure others have their ways. I just make sure if I leave it, the hive is strong enough to defend it.
    Last edited by Rick 1456; 08-24-2011 at 09:33 AM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Poplar Bluff, Missouri, USA
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    Default Re: When to extract?

    As long as you leave stores for winter, extract any time you want to...after the comb is sealed. Then if there is still a flow, or might be a flow, put the extracted super back on for a refill!
    Or if you have several supers and want to extract, pull and extract the super that is sealed. You need to be sure the comb is sealed, as that indicates the honey has been properly ripened.
    Regards,
    Steven
    "If all you have is a hammer, the whole world is a nail." - A.H. Maslow

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Burlington ,Vermont
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    22

    Default Re: When to extract?

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
    You need to be sure the comb is sealed, as that indicates the honey has been properly ripened.
    Thanks for the reply. Your quote above raises another question. During extraction what do you do with frames that are only partially capped? I know that uncapped honey has a higher moisture content that can lead to spoilage. But how much uncapped honey on a frame is too much?
    Last edited by BurlingtonBeekeeper; 08-24-2011 at 03:21 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: When to extract?

    Uncapped honey can have the same moisture content as capped honey. Do you think the bees wait until the cell is full then scramble like a bunch of madmen and cure it. They don't! The curing process is an ongoing thing with bees and they cap when they feel the cell is full. If the honey has been in the frames for a while it's probably ready to go.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
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    2,694

    Default Re: When to extract?

    I agree with SteveG and Fish-stix. plus..... If you want to keep your seasonal honey separate(Basswood, Clover , Wildflower), remove the honey at the end of each season. If you want it all mixed together, remove it at the end of the flow.

    Crazy Roland

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,476

    Default Re: When to extract?

    I haven't extracted mine yet. I wait until the nights get cool so the bees head for home so it is not a problem getting the bees off the frames. Also it makes sense to me to see what there is for winter stores and maybe balance my two hives before putting them to bed for the winter. Honey production is not a concern for me. We reap the fruits of their labor from the garden.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Burlington ,Vermont
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: When to extract?

    Do you mean that, when extracting, the bees are more likely to leave the supers and head back to the deeps ("home") when it is cool outside? Do you extract during the evening?

    You think it doesn't matter whether it's past nectar flow or not when you extract?
    Last edited by BurlingtonBeekeeper; 08-25-2011 at 07:30 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: When to extract?

    Here in the Northeast I extract just after Labor Day. I pull all supers so that the girls can work on their stores for winter. I medicate and wrap them for the winter in October. So far it has worked for me not losing any hives since I started this schedule.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Westford, MA, USA
    Posts
    479

    Default Re: When to extract?

    I wait until the nights get cool so the bees head for home so it is not a problem getting the bees off the frames

    Might want to invest in or build some triangle escapes. Put one on top of the inner cover and below the supers and 24 hours later there will be virtually no bees in the supers, unless there is brood in them too. Don't leave them on for more than a day or two else the bees will work out how to get back in.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    27,086

    Default Re: When to extract?

    Quote Originally Posted by BurlingtonBeekeeper View Post
    My question is about when to extract honey.

    Or can I extract any time as long as I leave enough honey for them to survive the winter?

    Why not wait until after nectar flow? Can anyone clarify this for me?

    Thank you!
    For you, where you are and having only one hive, extracting after the last nectar flow is done is probably a good idea, if you have enuf equipment.

    For folks like myself and others, extracting the early honey, throwing supers back on and extracting the late honey makes sense for a cpl reasons. First of all, the early honey is usually lighter, w/ basswood and clover honeys in the combs. The later honey is usually somewhat darker w/ goldenrod, loostrife and other floral source nectars making up the honey. So, seperating the light from the dark makes sense to folks like me and bigger, because lighter colored honey demands a higher price than the darker grades.

    On top of all that, I don't have an endless supply of supers for storage of all the honey that could potentially come in. So extracting to have empty combs available is necassary.

    Then there are colder temps, higher fuel costs to warm the honey and time management. It's easier to extract the honey when it is warm.

    All of that said, taking off all the honey after the last flow is okay. Some people wait until spring.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: When to extract?

    Quote Originally Posted by BurlingtonBeekeeper View Post
    Do you mean that, when extracting, the bees are more likely to leave the supers and head back to the deeps ("home") when it is cool outside? Do you extract during the evening?

    You think it doesn't matter whether it's past nectar flow or not when you extract?
    Practically all insects head for cover when it gets cool at night. I haven't witnessed any robbing that others speak of by pulling the frames and bringing them up to the house until it gets dark. When it is dark the bees have all gone and then we take the frames in. I have to figure out where I will extract this year with my ceiling fan extractor.

    I don't pay for utilities so it is of no concern to me.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bunker Hill, IL
    Posts
    495

    Default Re: When to extract?

    Quote Originally Posted by BurlingtonBeekeeper View Post
    During extraction what do you do with frames that are only partially capped?
    for those frames that contain both capped and un-capped honey, if you can flip the frame on its side, and the contents not run out, its likely that its ready. (but capped is always the shure way to tell)

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