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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Dixon Mo USA
    Posts
    18

    Default And another question...

    Okay the boy who has been doing all kinds of bug related stuff in FFA which we love tells us today that we won't see Honey from a new hive until after the first year.

    My question on this is this really the case? If so it's gonna drive me nuts lol I seem to have to wait on everything lol

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Tigard, OR
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: And another question...

    It's not impossible, just unlikely. The first year they will be building out and setting honey for winter - the surplus honey that keepers harvest is available when the hive isn't working to build out new comb and have the time to set extra supplies. Depending on how your winters are you might have some honey left over in the spring that you can nab once the flow starts.
    As for me, all I know is that I know nothing...
    - Socrates

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Palermo, Maine, USA
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: And another question...

    You would be wise to focus on getting the colony established the first year and assuring that they draw comb and make enough honey to get them through the winter. View any honey that you might get the first year as a bonus.

    Next year, unless you plan on expanding your number of hives, drawing comb will be less of an issue and they will be more likely to make a surplus of honey.
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: And another question...

    I must be the only Beek that has to buy honey.

    Lesseee...first year I harvested two frames. I was feeding like the dickens to get comb drawn, so I had a little extra (not "real honey," but I didn't understand that then and yet it was soooo good!). Second year I had 3 known swarms issue from 2 hives. (Workers building barn witnessed; I was at work ). 3rd year I lost a hive, putting me at 1. I am now at 3 and this will be my 4th spring. I HOPE I will get some this year.

    My point is, there are lots of factors in honey volumes. Add to the above ebb and flow the fact that my local flora sources seem minimal, this makes a honey harvest a tad challenging. But I loves me my bees! And hopefully this year we are starting with strong hives that need no comb and will be checkerboarded to keep the hive strong without swarming and will not get any food resources except in a drought. I have high hopes this year!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    2,916

    Default Re: And another question...

    I started a hive this past spring from a strong 5 frame nuc. it took off like gang busters and was doing really well. I also thought I could not expect honey from a first year hive so i didn't let my hopes get to high. but man they filled a deep in short order. started in on a med as well. got that one pretty well filled. I had no way to harvest honey because I had not expected to this year. so off to the catalog and place an order. Well by the time the stuff arrived the curse of wisdom and experience set in. and in fact all the predictions where shown to be right. the bees had moved a full med of honey down into the hive. there was nothing left for me to harvest.

    In the end I would have gotten maybe 30 lbs in my first year had I been prepared. but it does not take much mistake to loose out even on a very good hives first year. and that is only if you are lucky enough to get a hive to do that well.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri, USA
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: And another question...

    This is my first year and due to the spring coming early (missed the major pollen and nectar flows), the bees coming late (replacement because the first package was mostly drowned), and a MAJOR drought I ended up having to feed feed feed to try to get them to the point they would make it through winter. Honey would be a distant dream if I wasn't buying it from a nice local lady at the farmers market. (She had a poor honey year due to the drought too, planned to start feeding early) If they don't make it through winter I get to start over next year and no honey again! Good thing it isn't only about honey for me. I wanted better pollination of my apple trees and have really enjoyed learning about the bees. Honey will come eventually, I can be patient.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Creston bc canada
    Posts
    52

    Default Re: And another question...

    I'm a first year beek , I started two hives from package bees in april , one gave me about ten pounds of honey , the other gave me well over 100 lbs.!

    I was told not to expect anything either.

    The one advantage I had was , the old guy that supplied me with the hives (he builds them) , also threw in 4 frames of drawn com and two more frames full of last years honey.

    It is very hard to find someone that will part with some drawn comb , but if you can , it will be a huge advantage.

    I also live in the middle of a large farming valley and am surrounded by fields of canola , that is a plus as well.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,368

    Default Re: And another question...

    yep, too many factors involved to make a blanket statement like that, it definitely 'depends'.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Dixon Mo USA
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: And another question...

    Okay thanks for the replies guys thats what I was wondering.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
    Posts
    3,397

    Default Re: And another question...

    If you can purchase a nuc in early spring rather than a package your odds of a "possible" honey harvest will increase dramatically. The rest is up to your local weather and mother nature.
    To everything there is a season....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Garland County, AR
    Posts
    1,076

    Default Re: And another question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Colleen O. View Post
    If they don't make it through winter I get to start over next year and no honey again! Good thing it isn't only about honey for me.
    Colleen, you at least are ahead by any frames you have drawn. That will help a lot.

    Nucs do seem the way to go. I started one this fall and plan on 3 or 4 more this coming fall. That makes the queen a "2nd year queen" and they supposedly take off big. Can't wait to see that!
    Zone 7b ~ Central Arkansas
    8fr medium equipment

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,487

    Default Re: And another question...

    It is quite possible for a first year hive to make a large surplus, but it requires a significant summer and fall flow, and that's quite location specific. I got a super of "surplus" on my first hive, but they quickly moved it down into the brood nest due to a serious dearth in August and September (no rain until November that year).

    The usual advise is to no expect surplus the first year, and that is usually the case. When condtions are right, even a new hive can produce a huge amount of honey, but it's not something to depend on. In fact, it's not wise to depend on established hives to produce regular crops of honey!

    Peter

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Posts
    2,751

    Default Re: And another question...

    Location is key. If you have a major flow no reason you can't get honey

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Heron Lake, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    16

    Default Re: And another question...

    I picked up 3 nucs on the 20th of May. 1 nuc went to a different location, sufficently filled out 3 hive bodies of 8 frames and did not produce any excess honey. It's wrapped and ready for winter. The other 2 went to a different location, 1 hive I had problems with and I was able only to harvest 3 medium frames of honey. It sufficiently filled out 2 10 frame hive bodies, is wrapped and ready for winter. The third hive, 2 10 frame hive bodies, was off to the races! After a very short time, on inspection the top hive body was completely full of nectar except for the outside frames. I then added a 3rd hive body and put it between the two originals. By fall I had added a medium super which they filled parts of 4 frames, which are in the freezer in case I need to feed in the spring. Also wrapped and hopefully all will make it to spring. Total harvest about 65 lbs. from the 2 hives. Lots of luck with how things turned out and very grateful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Battle Ground, Wa
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: And another question...

    Well, it depends on what you mean by honey. If you expect several gallons your first year, I agree that you're unlikely to get that. If you're just really anxious to get a taste of what they're up to, cutting out a few square inches of drawn comb so you have something to sample really shouldn't hurt unless you're bees are so short of reserves that they should be fed anyway. They'll fill in any holes so neatly that you'll barely be able to tell.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Heavener Oklahoma
    Posts
    928

    Default Re: And another question...

    The way it use to bee before the mites and beetles.
    seen a 3 lb swarm put in a 10 frame hive with 9 deep frames and one feeder full of diluted down honey almost a gallon fill up 3 supers in spring and 2 in the fall

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: And another question...

    Last year started with a 2.2 lb package of bees and no comb and harvested 50 lb of honey and they swarmed Aug 1. Learned a lot about queen excluders and inspections and space management with that experience! Honey production came to a halt with the swarming and I suspect I easily could have got another 50 lbs if they hadn't swarmed. Was able to capture the swarm, but it succombed to starvation due to supplemental food placement errors. However, another learning!

    Keep feeding them 1:1 sugar syrup until you add your first honey super - think it was early July when I stopped. They will raise brood and draw comb rapidly.

    Went into winter with two deeps and top deep was partial to full frames, so did some supplemental feeding starting about March.

    Didn't feed any sugar syrup this spring as the hive was boiling with bees when I unwrapped. Harvested some 200 lbs of honey and three NUCs from this hive. Kept pulling capped frames, checkerboarding and pulling some brood frames, so they had space and open cells in brood nest, to prevent swarming.

    So it can be done, and it only costs some sugar.
    If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    1,947

    Default Re: And another question...

    I know that everyone recommends leaving them enough honey but if the weather will allow you to rob some honey and replace by feeding, I say go for it!

    Beekeeping can be heart breaking enough, you should at least have some honey for all your effort. There is nothing more soul crushing than a heavy hive eating all the stores and dying.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    100

    Default Re: And another question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Y View Post
    ... the bees had moved a full med of honey down into the hive. there was nothing left for me to harvest... (snip) ... In the end I would have gotten maybe 30 lbs in my first year had I been prepared.
    Hi Daniel, fellow Reno-guy here I assume it was a good thing for your hive, since they apparently had room to store that 30 pounds down in their brood boxes...

    I have two hives just out of town, didn't get any honey the first year, and only a small amount the second year. Not too much to forage on in the desert, I'm thinking.

    But I started a hive this spring in the middle of town, and it was incredible! It was a 3-lb package, on undrawn foundation (and some foundationless). I'm using four 8-frame mediums for brood area and overwintering.

    They drew out the brood chamber, and also gave me more than a full super before the rabbitbrush started blooming, and another afterwards. I kept putting extracted frames on the hive, hoping they would clean them out, but the kept making more. I finally decided to let them keep a fifth medium on over the winter, since they had filled it with rabbitbrush...

    Anyway, I got about 7 gallons of surplus honey, not counting the one super I left for them on the hive. I can't wait to see what their second year looks like

    Wish my other two were anywhere near this prolific!

    A side note: the bees never completely capped the honey frames this year. I kept waiting, and finally extracted it anyway. It turned out to be quite dry enough - about 15-16% water. Don't know why it wasn't capped

    Good luck,
    wanderyr

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