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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will be harvesting honey soon. Last year, my first and from packages, everything stayed on the hive and my lone surviving colony had plenty of leftover stores coming out of Winter in double deeps. (the others seem to have died from the cold but had plenty of stores). This Spring, the hive has brought in quite a bit of honey and managed to fill and cap a couple of deeps and mediums . The twist here is that I am harvesting due to the hive being completely honeybound after a split. Rookie mistake. The new queen has emerged, and an additional 2 mediums are being drawn from foundation interspersed with drawn comb. Space in this hive is at a premium. They might still swarm, but I still need to get the honey out even if they do. Basically, I need to reconstruct the hive.

I'm confident enough in determining if a hive has enough stores going into Winter, but now realize that I have no idea of what to do going into Summer. Do I harvest most of the honey but leave sufficient stores in what will be a deep brood box? Or, should I provide an empty deep and leave a drawn medium above? Or perhaps just take all of the honey and let them build up slowly over the summer? There are likely other possibilities, but my lack of experience has me stumped. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Pete
 

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I am still feeding the last of my slabs of pollen patties, in vey small chunks, mostly just to use them up. I have also done one cut-down split and wanted to make sure I didn't mess up and accidentally deprive either half of necessary food for good rebuilding.

The pieces I am putting in are roughly 1.25" by 3", which get eaten up in less than a week. I do have a small risk of Small Hive Beetle, so don't want to put too much on at once. I am also still cycling through my large store of odd-sized chunks of honey-filled old comb from the cut-out last year, so I have a feeding rim still on the top of the uppermost box in the stack and the honey-chunks and the protein patty are up in the "cafeteria". There are always lots of bees up there grabbing a bite, or hanging out. After they've cleaned the honey out of the comb, I remove it for recycling into home-grown (and untreated) wax for putting on frames..

If I didn't have the left-over patty and honey comb, I might not be making the effort. But I do, and I'm not seeing any problems with doing so. Actually my bees are doing exceptionally well and expanding like mad right now, so who knows? We are just on the cusp of our main flow (black locust) but even before that the bees have been hauling in loads of nectar and pollen and I've had to steadily increase the number of boxes for the last month. My colonies range from 4 to 7 boxes already.

I fed them sugar bricks during the winter and Global pollen patties starting on March 20th so they've been well-supplied all this time. (They didn't use up all their own stored honey and pollen over the winter, even though they started with only "adequate" not over-generous supplies as they were late-ish starts last Spring.) Does having a more-than-needed food supply play into their good condition now? Perhaps, but I don't have the experience to know for certain.

I am interested in OP's main question, too. Since I am not interested in honey harvesting, though, and I am planning to remove and freeze full frames to be returned to the hives in Fall for over-wintering. How much empty comb and how much summer-food filled comb is the right amount to leave on the hives? Or should I just leave it all on? I do want to inhibit summer, or crowded-condition prompted swarms, however.

Enj.
 

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Springfield Ohio, Just south Of Akron? I have kept bees just outside Ravenna So I am fairly familiar with your flows and dearth. Your flow will be decreasing gradually until July however they will still be maintaining honey levels for a few weeks. I would not extract anything from the brood chamber. If they are honey bound do some manipulating to give the queen laying room. even if adding new frames is required, Believe me both those deeps will be fairly well empty come late August. Extract the honey supers and enjoy it. Store whatever you tale out of the deeps. you will be glad you did.
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If you are form the Other Springfield this may vary
 

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Pete,

Here in central Ohioour locust flow has just ended. I plan to pull supers tomorrow. On my way to work this morning I saw several spots hwere sweet clover was in bloom. I would guess it is also blooming around Springfield.

I am going to extract all capped frames. I will probably extract all uncapped rames that I cannot shake any nectar out of. I will check moisture content with a refractometer too.

My point is, our summer flow follows right after our sprng flow so colonies typically don't need much left since they are actively bringing in nectar. Our dearth typically comes in late July to early August.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Tenbears, thanks for both of your posts :) It is the other Springfield, over near Dayton, OH. But, Knox can't be too far off from where I am, forage-wise, if you live in a world of mixed woodland, corn and soybeans. If memory serves, you're in the flatter part of the state, and I am familiar with that area.

TWall: Thanks! I am also familiar with "your" Knox. Sweet clover has begun to pop out here, too. Locust was over a couple of weeks ago, at least in my vicinity. I think that I am leaning toward extracting almost everything in the hive (it really is all capped honey, top to bottom), leaving a couple or three frames in the brood box to hedge against any oddity in the Summer flow. I am also going to shake out some bees into the splits that I made from the hive as a way to boost them and relieve crowding in the honeybound hive.
 

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Here in Dayton, we are still having a good clover flow and linden/basswood trees will start soon. So long as we keep getting timely rain, I don't see the clover ending anytime soon.

I'd leave honey in frames 1 & 10 in each brood box, extract your supers, and put the wet frames back on for clean-out and refill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Here in Dayton, we are still having a good clover flow and linden/basswood trees will start soon. So long as we keep getting timely rain, I don't see the clover ending anytime soon.

I'd leave honey in frames 1 & 10 in each brood box, extract your supers, and put the wet frames back on for clean-out and refill.
We're reliably about 1-2 weeks behind Dayton, and it's good to hear some on the ground information since I haven't gone down the road for a few weeks. As I said above, I was leaning toward leaving some of the honey, and your response has helped to affirm that decision.

Although it's off topic, your reply reminds me of just how local beekeeping can be. About a week ago, I left home in a deluge to see a concert in dowtown Dayton, which is about 30 miles away from my house. I left in a deluge and 3 inches wound up falling, the interstates were closed due to flooding. In the downtown no rain fell at all until a few days later. So, even though I was 'only' over in Dayton, a small trip, things were very different.
 

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Use caution, I've overestimated the fall flow the last 2 years and had to feed heavily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, the deal is done. Of the two mediums and two deeps, I wound up leaving 5 medium frames that were partially filled and 3 deep frames. The extracted frames were returned to the hive. There's still a pretty good flow on, so I think that things ought to be good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
One last note: The bees have been putting away more nectar, so things look good. In the end I pulled 5 gallons of honey from the single hive.
 
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