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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're going to harvest honey over the next few days. We have around 30 hives in 3 locations. We are seriously pressed for time and want to make this go quickly and smoothly on the days we actually harvest. We can invest some time before harvest to make things go smoother then, but it's not like we can block out a day and a half.

If you've got some innovation that makes your harvest go smoother please share them. I broke this up into three categories: Robbing saving time or effort in the bee yard, Culture raising bees in a manner that makes harvest easier, and Extraction what you do with boxes after your away from the yard, anything up to and through bottling.

I guess I may as well start:

Robbing:
We like Fishers bee quick and a fume board to clear bees from supers.
For the first time ever I am "preorganizing" and marking full supers so we can disturb hives as little as possible on the big day. Just grab what's ready and run.
We're setting up equipment in advance in a location about a mile from our closest hives.
Where possible we use a leaf blower to clear the last bees from supers.
We use wet sheets to cover supers to keep bees from re infesting them.

Culture:
This year we also universally used queen excluders and really like them. Brood stays out of honey chambers
We also only used shallows for supers. My feeling is that we're winding up with more full frames of honey and less partials.

Extraction:
We have a Maxant uncapping planer. So much better than any knife.

Please add if you have harvest or e
 

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When extracting I like to go straight from the extractor to 5 gallon buckets. Let them sit overnight. All of the "trash" (wax, bees, ect...) will float to the top overnight. Filter the next day. The filtering goes MUCH smoother and faster since most of the wax floated to the top the night before.
 

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In the past I have always extracted straight into buckets, but this year I extracted and filtered straight into two bottling buckets, then right into bottles and avoided pouring from bucket to bucket. Filtering was an issue at times though I must admit. Still we never had to stop extraction to wait on honey to run through - we could always just swap buckets instead. So I don't think it cost any time.

I used Fischer's last year, and Mann lake honey robber this year. Honey robber is much faster and doesn't smell bad. I used two fume boards - more would be better.

I made up some home made bee escapes which I kept on top of the stacks of supers. By robbing in the afternoon and moving the supers in after dark or early the next morning very few bees came in with them - except one day when I had a little brood in one. Very hard to get the bees out of brood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
In the past I have always extracted straight into buckets, but this year I extracted and filtered straight into two bottling buckets, then right into bottles and avoided pouring from bucket to bucket. Filtering was an issue at times though I must admit. Still we never had to stop extraction to wait on honey to run through - we could always just swap buckets instead. So I don't think it cost any time.
For us, we like to let it clarify, so letting it sit a few days in buckets is a good idea. I've heard that if you cover the top of the pail with Saran Wrap the scum and debris will lift off easily with it. Anyone else do this?

I used Fischer's last year, and Mann lake honey robber this year. Honey robber is much faster and doesn't smell bad. I used two fume boards - more would be better.
I'm getting a Mann Lake order together, I'll order some Honey Robber from them and test it against Bee Quick.

I made up some home made bee escapes which I kept on top of the stacks of supers. By robbing in the afternoon and moving the supers in after dark or early the next morning very few bees came in with them - except one day when I had a little brood in one. Very hard to get the bees out of brood.
This is where queen excludes come in. I've used them on and off over the years but this year put them in universally. I'll never go without them again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I use excluders too, but sometimes somehow I still get brood in the supers - both above and below oddly enough.
Anyone have an idea how this would happen?

This year we've had perfect luck with excluders but I have seen this before. Could a young queen be slim enough to slip through the excluder but then fatten up and be trapped on one side of it?

Some years ago we ran huge hives, we had to work them on ladders. We wound up with drone brood in supers far from the brood nest. I theorized that some bees were spending time so far from the brood nest and queen that they turned laying worker.
 

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I use excluders too, but sometimes somehow I still get brood in the supers - both above and below oddly enough.
I've had that happen. When I was placing the QE's and rearranging comb, I must have had some open brood in the supers and they raised another queen. That happens at times when when you've two entrances ........one below the QE and one above........which I have....
 

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That is an entirely possible way it happened to me - i inserted the excluders near the end of the flow to allow brood to emerge and be backfilled. I also propped the lids open enough to let drones escape. By the time i pulled honey about 6 weeks later a couple of hives had brood in the supers. This is the first time i've done it like this, and despite that it actually worked out quite well. Live and learn eh?
 
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