Early summer harvest - suggestions?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,670

    Default Early summer harvest - suggestions?

    In my area, our main, and usually only flow is in the Spring. After the Spring flow, we enter into a long Summer dearth, and sometime we get a small Fall flow. During the dearth, many of the larger hives will eat through their Spring honey, and, unfortunately, that lost honey is pretty much never made up in the Fall. Many times I have opened in the Fall hives that were bomming and well-stocked in late Spring to find almost no honey.

    Due to this flow pattern, I am considering harvesting my honey in the early Spring, and then feeding through the Summer dearth so the bees have the resources to make it through Winter.

    Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions for this Plan?
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Posts
    873

    Default Re: Early summer harvest - suggestions?

    Shinbone,

    My plan is just about identical to yours.

    Steve

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,406

    Default Re: Early summer harvest - suggestions?

    My area has a very similar bloom structure, and that's what I do.

    Our honey flow (Tulip Poplar/Blackberry) usually runs 4/15 to 5/15 or 5/30 (depending on the year). No more surplus for the year. Usually clover keeps them busy and in equilibrium until the true heat of summer comes (around 6/30 usually) and then it's dearth for sure. Anything you leave on is gone.

    I pull supers around 6/15, right before the dearth. I usually leave them some honey, and feed throughout the remainder of the summer until the goldenrod blooms in September/October.

    It has worked well for me. Some years I don't have to feed much. Other years I do. Some years I need to feed and get busy and the hive numbers reduce themselves. Such is life.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
    Posts
    2,670

    Default Re: Early summer harvest - suggestions?

    Thanks for the input. Glad to hear I am not being totally crazy.
    --shinbone
    (1975-1980, and now since 2011; maintain about 10 hives; Zone 5b; 15" rain; 5500')

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    York County, VA, USA
    Posts
    503

    Default Re: Early summer harvest - suggestions?

    Last year was my 2nd year as beekeeper. I was looking at a significant (to me) amount of honey in one hive, my most productive at the time -- between two and three supers. I put off harvest for two weeks and most of that honey somehow magically turned into brood. Just in time for our dearth. So your plan sounds good to me. I'll be watching the bees more carefully, with a lot of cane sugar at the ready for syrup feeding after I take a bunch of their honey.

    Michael
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    3,291

    Default Re: Early summer harvest - suggestions?

    Sounds like a good plan. I start harvesting as early as May 15th. Usually our flow shuts down sometime in June depending on rainfall. By July 4th its over and were in dearth, thats my last harvest time but usually most hives are harvested by then. Beginning in septemeber when fall blooms begin they will put on some honey, but its not a surplus. Usually i don't feed until Middle end of September and early october to winter weights.

    My hiives will have a surplus of honey after harvest. As far as how much of the surplus remains depends on how dry it gets. 3 years ago we were in drought by end of May, fields and folks yards turned brown and hives struggled. Late splits and over harvested hives needed feed

    I would check your hives before feeding. If they have stores then in my opinion they don't need feed until fall to prepare for winter. If you feed during dearth I recommend to feed large amounts in a short intervals. Don't perpetually leave on a quart jar or it will just promote robbing. Feed a gallon or 2 of 2:1 in a day or 2. Then weight a week or two. Frame and hivetop feeders are great for this.
    Last edited by burns375; 05-07-2018 at 08:19 PM.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Denver Metro Area CO, USA
    Posts
    2,120

    Default Re: Early summer harvest - suggestions?

    What I have seen locally is while the nectar drops off in our dearth the pollen flow continues , and when that happens the bees don't stop brood rearing and burn threw honey...

    some spit ball/ rule of thumb numbers
    it takes a frame of honey to make a frame of capped brood and the work force from that frame of brood makes about 1.5 frames of honey.
    at 1k eggs per day it takes the queen 9 days to fill a deep frame.

    so at a ball park, it costs you a little under a pound of honey per day the queen is laying.
    Now say your flow usaly cuts out the 3 week of June jets call it the 22 for the sake of argument.
    in a normal cycle it takes 42 days from egg to Foraging....
    that means any egg layed past may 11 will never forage on your main flow..........
    so if you were to pinch your queen and let the hive raise there own on the last week of May your talking a significant gain.. miss your timeing, your taking a large loss


    like wize if your facing a significant dearth pinch the queen and the hive will go threw much less feed.
    Miel Carloata, at one point the largest producer of queens in the world, used 48 hour cells to give a longer brood break then ripe cells and still alow for slect genetics
    Miel Carlota has evolved its own techniques for economical beekeeping. Since the flow is so short and the bees continue to build up after it is over, they routinely cut back the number of colonies from 22,000 to 16,000, and requeen at that time with two-day-old queen cells. Alberto Wuggetzer said acceptance of the cells is no problem and the break in brood cycle of’ about 25 days causes the population to drop substantially during much of the year when the nectar doesn’t flow. Sugar and labor are saved with this procedure
    https://beekeep.info/nectar-on-my-bo...ymposium-1977/
    Last edited by msl; 06-15-2018 at 10:55 PM.
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