Honey Harvest Tips/Timing
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    SW CT
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    Default Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    This year in mid-August I ended up getting sick and in the hospital for 2 weeks. While in the hospital I received minor abdominal surgery and they said I shouldn't lift anything over around 20 lbs for 6 weeks. Since I can't lift too much weight, pulling full medium supers will be a bad idea this year. Does anyone have any tricks to doing this without lifting much? My preferred method in a normal year is pull the box up making sure there is enough in there to harvest and install the bee escape board.

    How late would you wait in this area this year? This weekend was fairly warm, the bees were very active and the population still looks to be very large. I am in zone 6B and it looks like I have highs in the 70s and 80s until the end of the month. When would you pull the supers and drop down to the 2 deeps and begin feeding?

    I think it is also important to note that I don't really sell many jars of honey and am not looking to squeak out every last ounce. I'd rather have the bees not stressed and prepared going into winter.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
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    131

    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    Your health comes first. See if someone can help and if not let it sit over the winter.
    I am in a similar situation but will,probably undergo chemo. I pulled some before my coming surgery but will let the remainder sit. Hope you feel better.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    SW CT
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    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by Plannerwgp View Post
    Your health comes first. See if someone can help and if not let it sit over the winter.
    I am in a similar situation but will,probably undergo chemo. I pulled some before my coming surgery but will let the remainder sit. Hope you feel better.
    To you as well. Thanks for the good wishes.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Mcnairy county, TN.
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    13

    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    You can pull a frame at a time. Shake and brush bees off.Put frames in another box and cover it. This is a lot slower but it works.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    Lassen, California, USA
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    656

    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by Beecraze View Post
    You can pull a frame at a time. Shake and brush bees off.Put frames in another box and cover it. This is a lot slower but it works.
    What I do is, I take out an empty medium to my hives. I pop open a hive, take one frame out at a time, put it into the empty medium box. I remove the now empty super that is on the hive, put on the bee escape, put the empty super back onto the hive, then put the frames of honey back in the empty super that is on the hive, one at a time. Takes more time, but is easier than lifting the full super.
    Some days it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    To make life easier a lot of times I use a four frame nuc Box to move deeps.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    Garden City S, NY
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    89

    Default

    A few weeks ago there were frames that were about 50% capped. Every weeks since I was surprised to not see them capped? Same thing happened last year. Could humid weather be the culprit or are the bees just spending more time getting and packing nectar during this late summer flow instead of concentrating on capping it?

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Gould, OK
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    118

    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    I hope you start feeling better. I have lower back problems with lifting more than 30lbs at one time. I use the empty box and pull one frame at a time and brush the bees off the frame. Then insert the frame into the empty box and cover with a lid. I will does this until I have the frames I need out of the hive. Then I use a dolly to move the honey frame to storage.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    SW CT
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    81

    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    So I found some help pulling the boxes. However, do you think I can get another week or 2 without pulling them since the population still seems pretty large and I believe their is still pollen out there in this area.

    Or I spin one box at a time and put them back on till like Oct 1st then just pull them?

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    53,768

    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    If it was me and I didn't have any help I would just leave it. But usually I don't harvest until the nights get chilly and the bees are clustered down below. That way I don't have to run them out of the supers, I can better judge what to leave them for winter, and I don't die of heat stroke while pulling supers...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
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    Dane County, WI, USA
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    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by sr73087 View Post
    .........I think it is also important to note that I don't really sell many jars of honey and am not looking to squeak out every last ounce. I'd rather have the bees not stressed and prepared going into winter.
    This is enough reason to ignore all that talk of pulling the honey NOW.
    You can pull your honey anytime, even in spring.
    Does not matter.

    I got lots of honey in hives that I will not be pulling until whatever now...
    Just too much robbing going.
    The honey will stay exactly where it is now (unless you have idiot bees that will eat it all - a different subject).
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Williamsport, PA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post

    This is enough reason to ignore all that talk of pulling the honey NOW.
    You can pull your honey anytime, even in spring.
    Does not matter.
    Last fall by necessity I left the fall honey on a few I could not get to. In spring, on inspection, I pulled full frames of fall honey from those very same hives.

    I decided to not harvest any fall honey this year but rather to do it in spring when they won't need it nearly as much. If it works that will be my plan going forward.

    Non-beekeeping life gets very busy for me in the fall so it suits me and them better to do it that way. I also don't have much demand for fall honey so that helps the decision.

  14. #13
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    If I wait to spring my honey is hard as a rock. It all crystallizes. But I can wait until fall...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    SW CT
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    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in PA View Post
    Last fall by necessity I left the fall honey on a few I could not get to. In spring, on inspection, I pulled full frames of fall honey from those very same hives.

    I decided to not harvest any fall honey this year but rather to do it in spring when they won't need it nearly as much. If it works that will be my plan going forward.

    Non-beekeeping life gets very busy for me in the fall so it suits me and them better to do it that way. I also don't have much demand for fall honey so that helps the decision.
    So I am running 2 deeps and have 2 medium supers on there now. Does having that large area affect how easily they can stay warm and how and where moisture can become an issue in the winter? I usually have a piece of sound dampening material above my fondant and inner cover to work as a sponge.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by sr73087 View Post
    So I am running 2 deeps and have 2 medium supers on there now. Does having that large area affect how easily they can stay warm and how and where moisture can become an issue in the winter? I usually have a piece of sound dampening material above my fondant and inner cover to work as a sponge.
    sr73087 what kind of foundation is in your supers? The ask is because if you have plastic or wired , then a late fall harvest per Michael Bush would be optimal. If you have foundation less or used starter strips, then cut and strain would be an option, even if the honey crystallizes (apply heat). So your options can be affected buy your choice of foundation and harvest method. 2 Supers is not "too large" for the over winter. Put in your "sponge" as you normally do and leave it on if you wish. The 2 supers will negate the need for fondant this year. Worst case if the honey crystallizes and you wish to extract only, you can uncap and let the bees empty it out to reclaim the comb, in early summer next year.
    GG

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    It is a wired beeswax foundation.

  18. #17
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    Sep 2018
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    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by sr73087 View Post
    It is a wired beeswax foundation.
    So it "could" be cut out crushed and strained in the event it stays on and crystallizes. Not optimal, but doable. Again a late "November" extract could work.
    Or leave it as winter food and in the spring deal with it. worst case a box of 50 frames is close to a buck a frame and the wax the same. You do have some options. BTW that is the same foundation I use.
    GG

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    If I wait to spring my honey is hard as a rock. It all crystallizes. But I can wait until fall...
    It depends as usually.
    This spring I fed back many last year's honey frames from the deadouts - no problem.
    Harvested some honey for myself too via C & S (part of bad/old comb rotations out).
    Minimal crystallization.

    PS: any crystallized honey is also easily fed back - de-cap and apply plenty of warm water directly to the crystallized honey - bees will readily consume it in spring
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: Honey Harvest Tips/Timing

    Quote Originally Posted by GregV View Post
    It depends as usually.
    This spring I fed back many last year's honey frames from the deadouts - no problem.
    Harvested some honey for myself too via C & S (part of bad/old comb rotations out).
    Minimal crystallization.

    PS: any crystallized honey is also easily fed back - de-cap and apply plenty of warm water directly to the crystallized honey - bees will readily consume it in spring
    Yes I read in the north of Russia, that cut the cappings and and the wet comb was a brood stimulation tactic in the spring for cold areas.. I guess was an early feeding tactic.
    If I want it emptied, I Nadir it, works every time, bees do not like honey under the brood.
    GG

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