It's official! I'm a beekeeper. I installed 3 packages yesterday and everything went great. I'm not really keeping bees to get a ton of honey but I'm curious what you folks got to harvest your first year? How many pounds or frames? If any?
We've been told not to expect a surplus and to plan to leave it all for the bees the first year.
And then every time we say that's our plan, we're told, "You never know ... you might get quite a bit". We're starting with nucs, which supposedly gives a head start (they'll have less foundation to draw out and emerging brood ready to enter the workforce), plus we should have ideal forage with little competition. We'll feed from day one until they lose interest in syrup. Be fun to see what happens when the tulip poplars bloom, and IF the black locusts bloom.
We've got two medium supers available for each hive. Our plan is, if they fill those, we'll start swapping out a few frames at a time and extract those.
Bottom line, I guess, is don't count your honey bottles just yet. But have some ready.
We had two hives our first year and they couldn't have been more different. One hive was booming, crazy, busy, no issues, and we got over 100lbs from it (and I left plenty for them). The other hive was not queen happy. They kept replacing her until I replaced her with a bought queen. I think we got a couple of medium frames from them and, again, I left them plenty of honey. This second hive grew huge but never produced the honey the first hive did. In fact, the population in spring was down to 1 box of bees. The first hive was massive. I am so glad I had two hives as I saw the differences right from the first and was able to utilize the first hive to help the second hive.
I didn't rob any honey the first year. I housed my bees, 1 early swarm and 2 packages in April last year. I put them all in a single deep. When the hives expanded I put on a second deep so I could run 2 brood chambers. I put a medium super on each hive later in the year but none of them even drew comb in the supers. I left all the honey in the upper deep for them to winter on. I fed sugar syrup for a month or a little longer when I first housed the bees. They consumed some of the honey in the upper deep during our summer dearth and backfilled what they ate during the summer when our fall Goldenrod bloom was on.
I'd say don't expect it, but you very well may get some.
I started last year in January with 2 Nucs, one of which I actually ended up losing. However, through swarms and a couple of cutouts I built up to 10 hives and by the end of the summer felt like 6 of them were strong enough to pull surplus honey from, I extracted 264 pounds, as well as another 69 pounds of fall honey a couple of months later. Looking at how my hives wintered, I think I could have actually pulled quite a bit more than I did, but better safe than sorry!
I am just finishing my first year. I did not harvest any honey, and left everything on for winter: 1 med and one deep of honey for a double-deep hive, plus the outer frames in the broodnest. I do have honey now, but that's due to deadouts.
My first year (nuc) I did not get any honey but I did split it into two full sized (double deep) hives that survived their first winter. Results are impossible to predict as they depend on a lot of factors (drawn comb v not, weather, etc). Don't expect honey but have the resources ready in case.
If you feed 1:1 syrup until you add your first honey super, you have a good chance of getting some surplus honey. Packages and NUCs need syrup to make wax and raise brood.
Harvested 50 lbs from a package and started with zero comb. And they swarmed Aug 1. It was my mismanagement of a queen excluder but if they hadn't swarmed, harvest would have been much better. I lost a month of honey production.
We started last spring with a local nuc and a package. The nuc did great. We got about 50 lbs of honey, made several splits, and took enough brood over a six week period to straighten out the the package, which superceded several times and finally went laying worker. Knowing what I know now, I might have shook it out and replaced it with one of the nucs I made from hive #1, but now that weak hive is a boomer. We fed syrup for a few days when first installed, but I think continuing to feed when they don't need it can lead to swarming.
I started with 2 nucs on April 1, '13. One nuc I had to split and it still swarmed, I'm sure it was due to my ignorance.
The second nuc I got 9 3/4 gallons of honey from it. All 3 are doing really good now.
When I started I was told don't expect any honey and a nuc will not swarm, well guess what
Best of luck!!
I got 2 boxes the first year and got 25-30 frames from each. I lost them and so I started from scratch with 4 more boxes. I got 45-50 frames from 2 of them, and 12 frames from the other 2. Everything is about area, queen, and flow that year. We are having a drought this year so I don't expect much.
My first year I bought a dozen 10 frame single hives for top dollar for deliver first week in May. I got this ancient equipment and black comb with a couple frames of bees in June. I was on fantastic pasture all summer and got a 60 pound average after they filled the brood box and the second hivebody of foundation and some made the surplus I got filling foundation. When I restarted several years ago on pretty good pasture, very good five frame nucs filled 15 ML plastic frames in the hive bodies and and drew and filled a deep super each and a little more and I got an 80 pound average. The next two drought years I got doodly, mostly because of management mistakes.
Feed your bees to get them built up and when they have as much hive body/s filled as you desire, super them if they need it! So many people who are told they will never get a crop the first year, have good conditions and their new bees do an overcrowding swarm and go queenless and die out late in the season. You have to be a beekeeper not just have bees! Don't wear out the lid but inspect enough to know if they need room or not.
I didn't get any my first year, second year concentrated on building bees so got maybe a cup and a half from a collapsed comb. Last two years I fed a lot of syrup, hopefully this year they pay me back in honey.
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