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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a first year beekeeper I did not expect to harvest much if any honey this year. I am in southern Michigan and plan to enter winter with my hives at about 150 lbs each. I have four hives all from packages, two installed in early May and two in early June. I am using all eight frame medium boxes. Three hives are currently at four boxes each and over 100 lbs, the fourth is three boxes and about 70 lbs. I weigh the hives every few days and they are all adding just under 2 lbs a day. My flow is still on. Because I do not have any past experience I do not know what to expect so far as how long this flow will last and what I can expect for a fall flow. I have a total of 20 boxes so I can still add supers but my gut tells me I should harvest some of this honey or I will not have room for the fall flow. What do you all suggest? I want to be able to save the comb so if I am going to harvest an appreciable amount I need to get an extractor pronto. If I only need to harvest a small amount then I will just crush and strain this year. Should I wait until all my hives are at the 150 lb target and then begin taking the excess?

Mike
 

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Any local bee keepers you can ask about how much honey the hives need for a Michigan winter? Most of the books suggest about 70 pounds to get through an average winter. Last year wasn't an average winter here in Alabama and most other places so you may want more than 70 pounds. 150pounds per hive sound a little high though. Maybe you can borrow an extractor so you don't have to crush and strain and have the drawn comb for next year or later in this year. You should have golden rod and asters this fall also. I'd keep adding supers if they don't get so high that I couldn't work them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Gary, the 150 lbs includes the weight of the woodware, a 4 box 8 frame medium hive with 32 plastic cell frames weighs 50 lbs, before bees and stores. i am hoping to get some estimates of what I can expect for a fall flow if it will be significant then I will take honey now because I tried some and it is really excellent. 150 lbs is probably more than I need next spring I will have a much better idea.
 

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If you get a good golden rod and aster flow this fall, the bees can replace any you take for yourself as long as you don't take it all. Most people leave golden rod and aster honey for winter stores anyway, they don't care for the taste. You can also use any excess left from winter and extract it in the spring if the bees don't use it for early brood raising. Enjoy a little for yourself!
I would think you could get by with five mediums in MI. The bottom three with brood and bees and honey. The top two packed with honey.
Hopefully some more northern breeks will give you some input. I try to have one deep and one or two mediums going into winter for each hive. Some of mine are two deeps and a few have a deep and three mediums. We don't usually get too much cold down here although we got some single digits last winter.
 

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Three mediums generally will weigh around the 140 mark completely full. I believe you will find 4 more than you will need to winter. But certainly there is nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution. I would expect your flow will not completely stop this year. Normally we would be in a dearth here in northern Pa. but our goldenrod is already beginning to bloom, so I expect you will most likely experience the same. In any event a strong hive can easily fill two mediums during the fall flow I am not sure what latitude Milford is but I use to keep bees in Dundee Mi. and always had a great goldenrod flow, as well as autumn blooming cherry. if you plan to extract leave two full mediums and take what is left. I would not crush and strain, and the comb is of more value to you at this point than the honey. The bees can fill a drawn medium in a week it will take them 3 to 4 times that to draw and fill. Hope this helps.
 
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