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First time bee keeper and first post on the forum! Still wondering what i am doing but the bees are growing and making honey so I'm happy.

I've got a 4 foot top bar. I live in SLC, Utah. The hive is about 90% full of comb. Of that about half is honey and half is brood. I have a million questions but I am wondering:

what percentage of honey should be left for winter and how much can be harvested?

what is the a good way to harvest the honey and wax for a small-time backyard beekeeper like me?

Thanks!
 

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Crush and strain for the harvest.

Hard to say how much honey is necessary in your area. Best to ask some local beeks. We try for at least 60 pounds on established. That is the minimum. We feel more comfortable at 90 pounds. Keep in mind how much honey to leave is regional.

Shane
 

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I haven't fed them anything from day one. The guy I bought the hive from said the trees were in bloom in my neighborhood and they would have plenty of food. He must have been right. I need to find someone local that can help me out. So far the guy I got the hive from and and the guy I bought the bees from don't return phone calls.

Know anybody with a top bar in SLC, Utah that would be willing to answer a few questions?

How do you harvest best the wax after straining the honey?


Thanks for the help guys!
 

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Crush and strain for the harvest.

Hard to say how much honey is necessary in your area. Best to ask some local beeks. We try for at least 60 pounds on established. That is the minimum. We feel more comfortable at 90 pounds. Keep in mind how much honey to leave is regional.

Shane
How many frames is 60lbs roughly? (18 inch frames and about 12 inches deep)
Do you count only capped honey or uncapped honey (I'm guessing that is nectar)?
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Last year, when I started my TBH, I was told that I needed 14 bars of capped honey. Bees only drew out 10 bars since I got them late in the season, and even then by spring they still had a ton of capped syrup (I was feeding like crazy so I couldn't harvest any of that).

If your bees are up to 14 bars, you should at least treat yourself to a sample, even if it's a 3x6 section cut out from a comb (don't get too big or it will collapse). Some people like to slice it off in thin pieces like squares of butter and eat it that way or put on warm toast. I just mash mine up into small pieces and let it drain overnight in a colander. Depending on the size of the comb harvested, you get 1-2 pints per comb.

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I'm in Salt Lake, but not running a top bar hive. I would suggest you ask your question on two Facebook groups: Wasatch Beekeeping Association and The Art of Beekeeping in Utah. Either group will give you access to many local beekeepers with a wealth of experience. Good Luck!
 

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>what percentage of honey should be left for winter and how much can be harvested?

For every comb you see of bees in a cluster on a cold day, they should have between one or two capped combs for winter.

>what is the a good way to harvest the honey and wax for a small-time backyard beekeeper like me?

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesharvest.htm#crushandstrain
 

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I simply "help myself to a couple of half-pint jars," enough for myself and a few gifts for friends who know that we keep bees, and simply leave most of it for winter. Our winters are comparatively mild, but it can go to single-digits (ºF ...) a few times in the dead of winter. I don't "feed" anything, ever. Sometimes you will lose a hive, for whatever reason, but there's never been a problem of them starving-out. Being conservative in your harvest also helps the hives coast through summertime dearths.
 
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