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Thread: Summer 2013

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
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    5,113

    Default Summer 2013

    Just finished the summer 2013 harvest. This year has turned out better than expect except for the fact that a number of my nuc customers cancelled. So it will be at least one more year before profits from nuc production exceed that of honey. However, now that I have graduated with my master's and gotten a job, my time is worth a whole lot more so efficiency must increase.

    The honey harvest was just over 27 gallons from six hives. That averages about 55 lbs/hive which is a new record.

    I currently have somewhere a little over 30 hives and losses over the past year have included one this summer, one in the spring, and one last winter. I still have a couple nucs for sale, but they probably won't last the summer and will need to be combined in to new larger hives.

    How's your summer going?
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,971

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    nice report sol.

    i started spring with 12 colonies, and they had gone through virtually all of their winter stores before spring finally arrived. i thought i was going to have to feed, but the first nectar flows came just in time.

    7 of these 12 swarmed, some more than once, but i managed to catch 9 of them.

    i ended up losing one of the colonies that swarmed (3 times) because they failed to requeen themselves and i didn't catch it in time (actually found a small patch of eggs a couple of weeks post swarm, i'm guessing she went out for one more mating flight and didn't make it back). this one was replaced by the strongest caught swarm.

    another caught swarm was combined with a weak post swarm colony to make a double deep cell builder/finisher (cloake board method) that was used to get one round of grafts off at the end of main flow.

    the remaining caught swarms were split using their queens and some of the grafted queens to make up a total of 14 five frame nucs for overwintering.

    so that puts me at 12 established colonies and 14 nucs at this point in time.

    i ended up giving the supers from the queen failed hive and the one combined for queenrearing to other colonies to finish. i harvested the equivalent of one medium from the swarms that were split, and gave their unfinished mediums to the production hives.

    so far i've harvested 10 medium supers, and i should be able to pull about 10 more. this is about twice what i took last year. having drawn comb helps a lot. i stop harvesting when the goldenrod starts here, and i plan to leave more honey on the hives this year. (have been leaving just one medium of honey, will try to leave closer to 2 this year)

    it's been more work than i signed up for, but it's been fun. i already have buyers lined up to purchase the nucs i don't need next spring. i would like to start making queens and nucs earlier in the season next year if there ends up being a demand for them. i don't think i want to produce much more honey than this, although it sells very well. another goal i have for next year is to get better at swarm prevention.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  3. #3

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    squarepeg: You mentioned you stop harvesting when the goldenrod starts. Why? This is my first year and I was lucky enough to pull 240 lbs of honey from 3 hives I started from NUCs in mid April. My little ladies are definitely on their game, especially when they had to start off with only foundation. However, I'm now trying to plan ahead for the fall extraction and I'm trying to determine if I should pull what I have before the goldenrod blooms or after as I live near the Alabama River and we have a bunch of goldenrod in the fall. However, I've been hearing the honey has a bad smell to it which may turn off some folks, which I definitely don't want to do as I'm just starting out and was able to sell my whole spring batch because it tasted soooo good! Hate to get my new customers' sour taste buds kicking if they decide to buy some more from me. Have you experienced the same issue or are you just letting the bees have it so they'll have plenty to eat through the winter?
    Started beekeeping in 2013 and having a blast with my 9 small cell hives!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    adair county, kentucky, usa
    Posts
    461

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    {Hate to get my new customers' sour taste buds kicking if they decide to buy some more from me. Have you experienced the same issue or are you just letting the bees have it so they'll have plenty to eat through the winter? }

    Let them make Goldenrod honey, but advertise it as Goldenrod honey. I know many beekeepers that love it. In fact it is my favorite honey. I guarantee you will have no trouble selling it and no complaints if you just advertise it as Golden rod.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    PMFJI - Around here Golden Rod honey is prized by consumers. My speculation about why SP is stopping harvesting with the start of the Golden Rod flow is to avoid feeding later on by making sure the bees have adequate time to stuff their boxes with honey for winter.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,971

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Dewey View Post
    PMFJI - Around here Golden Rod honey is prized by consumers. My speculation about why SP is stopping harvesting with the start of the Golden Rod flow is to avoid feeding later on by making sure the bees have adequate time to stuff their boxes with honey for winter.
    yes, it's mostly because i don't use syrup and the goldenrod is one of the last flows here before the first frost.

    i did extract some a couple of years ago, and found that it crystalized badly in less than a week after i extracted. i had some customers returning their honey. i'm not sure if it was the goldenrod or not, but i didn't want to have that happen again.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    I agree with not harvesting goldenrod. I do one harvest here, at the end of June usually. Even then I have to leave honey or hives won't last the summer dearth. Goldenrod only gives me a couple of frames per hive anyway, and I much prefer our spring honeys, black locust and clover.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

  8. #8

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    Thanks everyone for all the advice. As the goldenrod blooms around here in mass in September and October, I guess I'll just have to wait, watch and taste until the end of September to see if there is enough extra to pull. My plan is to leave one deep and two mediums on each hive so they'll have enough to make it through our mild winters down here. Also, I plan this winter on planting about 30 winter honeysuckle bushes to give them a little extra to feed on during December-February in the years to come. They say the bushes are supposed to get up to 12 feet high and 20 feet wide. We'll see. But if they do and the goldenrod turns out to be a big hit, I'll definitely have to readjust my position. I sure love beekeeping. There is always more to learn
    Started beekeeping in 2013 and having a blast with my 9 small cell hives!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Chatham County, NC, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    Barber,
    I have a number of winter honeysuckle bushes (called "sweet breath of spring" in these parts), and they can get quite large. Their smell is wonderful in the dead of winter, but it seems like weather is the most limiting factor on how hard they're worked. Also, they're propagated easily by layering, and cuttings root in water (so the internet says). If your plan was to buy 30 plants or cuttings this year, consider making your own "splits" over the next couple years.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by RadioactiveMan View Post
    Barber,
    I have a number of winter honeysuckle bushes (called "sweet breath of spring" in these parts), and they can get quite large. Their smell is wonderful in the dead of winter, but it seems like weather is the most limiting factor on how hard they're worked. Also, they're propagated easily by layering, and cuttings root in water (so the internet says). If your plan was to buy 30 plants or cuttings this year, consider making your own "splits" over the next couple years.
    That sounds like good advice. I've got about 600 feet of fence line to cover so tip-layering them, as I'm assuming that's what you mean, as they grow sounds very doable. My thought is to place them about 20 feet apart and let them fill the space between them in over the years. As far as weather goes where I'm at, it only gets down into the high 20's and low 30's in the second half of January, but like everything else, time will be the best judge. I just wanted to help them out in the winter months as much as I can and the winter honeysuckle bushes seemed like the best plant I could find so far. Are there any other large bushes that flower in the December - February timeframe that bees are attracted to that you can think of?
    Started beekeeping in 2013 and having a blast with my 9 small cell hives!!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Chatham County, NC, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    I have a bush, no one's been able to identify it exactly, but the bees work it like CRAZY from January - April. The thing literally hummed with bees this past winter for three months. I think it's some kind of barberry or mahonia. Again, it roots by layering and cuttings. Seems pretty rugged. I only planted two more for myself this year. Thinking about making more cuttings... if you are interested or want to trade plants PM please so as not to derail this thread further.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    I'll start a new thread in the Bee Forum regarding flowering bushes in the winter.
    Started beekeeping in 2013 and having a blast with my 9 small cell hives!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Baytown, TX., USA.
    Posts
    651

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    "The honey harvest was just over 27 gallons from six hives. That averages about 55 lbs/hive which is a new record." SP

    What were you average for all 30 hives?
    Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by julysun View Post
    "The honey harvest was just over 27 gallons from six hives. That averages about 55 lbs/hive which is a new record." SP

    What were you average for all 30 hives?
    I'm guessing he doesn't harvest the other hives he runs a sustainable apiary by breeding survivor bees those 6 colonies are probably his production colonies and all the others are for making more bees

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Denver, Colorado
    Posts
    5,113

    Default Re: Summer 2013

    That's correct. As I've mentioned before, I set aside a certain number of hives that are doing really well in the spring to make honey and the rest are used as brood factories to make nucs and queens. Some are used for building comb, some were new this year, nucs were sold, etc. That would be why I count those that were harvested from. The rest are in constant flux.
    Solomon Parker, Parker Farms, ParkerFarms.biz
    11 Years Treatment-Free, ~25 Colony Baseline

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