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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Eugene, Or
    Posts
    97

    Default When to harvest honey?

    I know, very new-Bee question.

    So, when do you guys harvest your Warre? I did not touch them this last fall - left all the stores for the winter. I did not feed in the fall (oops!) because Im am a rookie and did not realize it was a good idea until too late. Any how, Im in Oregon and after a non-harsh winter my bees are rocking. They appear to have made it through the winter and the boxes are still loaded with honey. One hive (which was started early spring (late april 2011)) was weak at first but picked up steam through the summer. It is sitting now with three boxes - two appear fairly full and are very heavy while the third was just added (nadiring) and is empty. The second hive was my first captured swarm of wild NW bees (they are very small and black and were given a home in early june 2011) and they went into the winter with one box full and a second only 1/4 full of cross-comb. It now has a empty on the bottom as well, that i just added. So, at this time, the bees are all flying on warm days and bringing back tons of pollen. they don't appear to have used hardly any of their winter reserves

    When would you harvest some of their reserves? I was thinking of waiting until may or so but I dont want them to get too 'comfortable' and like to make them work for their keep. I have read that some harvest in the fall and others harvest in the spring but am usure as to when these spring harvesters do it.

    I know I have some Warre experts in my area but am curious across the board. Thanks in advance....

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: When to harvest honey?

    Kelbor,

    I harvest from my Warre hives around labor day each year. You can probably harvest this spring, too, since you left all of their stores on for winter. May sounds like a good bet, as the blackberries begin blooming then (our main nectar flow), so the bees will quickly be able to replenish their stores. Just make sure they are nadired, and to expedite things you could move some emptier combs from the boxes you harvest to the nadired box.

    Best,
    Matt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Springfield, MO, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: When to harvest honey?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cacklewack View Post
    Kelbor,

    Just make sure they are nadired, and to expedite things you could move some emptier combs from the boxes you harvest to the nadired box.

    Best,
    Matt
    I'm a bit confused.

    I was under the impression that when we harvest a box from our Warré stack that it should be completely full of capped honey. If that's the case, then there won't be any "emptier combs", right?

    If taking off a box is biting into the brood area, you're better off leaving that box on, yes?

    I think most people are using the crush/strain harvesting method, so unless you're uncapping and using a cage and extractor, there won't be any empty comb after harvest either.

    If you're talking about some comb that is partial honey and partially empty, but not brood nest, then putting it underneath the brood area is a bad idea. Bees don't take very well to honey that is underneath the brood area and will move it quickly somewhere else. It's actually one way that people trick the bees into filling some cut comb sections.

    I'm probably mis-reading you somewhere. Help me out by clarifying what you meant. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    644

    Default Re: When to harvest honey?

    Groves,

    I misspoke. Often there will be combs in the hive that are empty -- usually on the outsides of the brood boxes -- and can be moved to the box being nadired to draw the bees downward. Some have had success using this method (including me), as sometimes the bees are hesitant to move down.

    I wouldn't be too worried about putting mostly empty combs below, as like you said, the bees will quickly move the honey up. Then they'd have an empty comb in which to move the brood nest downward.

    Best,
    Matt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Springfield, MO, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: When to harvest honey?

    Makes total sense now. Thanks!

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