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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Battle Creek, MI, USA

    Default Honey storage/harvest

    How do I know how much honey to leave for a hive to winter over with?

    Is honey extraction only done in the spring after the bees have eaten all they need for the winter?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Denver, Colorado

    Default Re: Honey storage/harvest

    Experience is the best indicator.

    Forgive the assumption, but at this point, it doesn't look like you have much. Excellent opportunity to get some. Experience is something you get just after you need it.

    Here, I can easily over winter with a hive containing two deeps or less full of honey. What usually happens though is that I don't try to slam small hives full of honey, but rather leave the hive bigger that contains the necessary honey, but also a decent amount of empty space, usually at the bottom. I try for three deeps for wintering. Sometimes depending on the hive this leaves nearly a deep full of honey, but at least a couple of frames per hive. That way there is no fall or spring feeding necessary.

    Start with three deeps, as north as you are, and then work down from there. There are people at your latitude who overwinter with two, but better safe, especially until you get some experience under your belt.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA

    Default Re: Honey storage/harvest

    Extracting is not usually done in the Spring, but there are some beekeepers who do take honey in the Spring rather than late Summer and/or early Fall.

    One needs to determine, in some manner, whether a hive in the Fall is heavy enough, meaning has enough honey, to make it through the Winter w/out starving. This is often done by weighing the hive. Some people rely on the heft test, can they pick up one end and tell if it is heavy enough.

    Michael Palmer shoots for a double deep and a medium depth set of supers making up a hive to overwinter and then wants that hive to weigh 135lbs or something like that. Perhaps he will verify or clarify that statement.
    "May we be happy. May we be safe. May we be peaceful and at ease." Mark Berninghausen


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