Re: When can you harvest honey
In the normal course of bees keeping themselves alive in winter, they give off moist air. It is similar to a human sitting in a cold vehicle with the windows rolled and the heat/AC/fan shut off. You breathe, and exhale humid air - the bees do also.
While it may seem like a paradox, that humid air needs to be vented from the hive. If the humidity isn't (mostly) vented, it will condense and may drip on the cluster. The bees are much better equipped to keep themselves warm if they can stay dry. (It works that way for humans too.)
Yes, venting the humid air also allows some heat to escape, but the consequences of not dealing with the condensation are worse than allowing some heat to escape the hive.
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft