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Hello all...This is the first year I have gotten by bees through a winter and I am wondering when I should start pulling honey boxes? Should I remove all my honey boxes before the summer dearth or should I leave one on so they can consume that till fall flow starts? This is my 4th season, and I feel I should know the answer to this question, but I keep going back and forth. My gut is telling me, take the top boxes off each hive, which hasn't fully capped out yet, put them aside, take the lower honey boxes off and harvest them, then put the top boxes I put aside on top of the queen excluders and leave them that way for the dearth?

Zone 5; Litchfield County CT.

Dan
 

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Take frames out of the uppermost box and turning it on its side or upside down, do a hard drop shake. If you do not get droplets on the surface you shook it on to, the honey is ripe. When a flow ends, the bees do not have the resources or the desire to cap partially full combs.

Then be an adult and extract it all. The honey is a valuable wholesome product your family, friends and customers will want. Bees do not care one bit if you take their honey and feed them back fifty cent a pound white sugar. They winter just fine on it. Pollen is stored in the brood combs so since you are not extracting that, you are not harming the bees in the least.

After taking the surplus honey, you are morally required to monitor your colony to make sure they have adequate food stores. Just look at the outside frames periodically and if they are full of stores the colony is fine during the summer dearth. If you are going to feed, my advice is large amounts in a short time. This eases the problem of fooling the bees into constantly raising unneeded brood when you dribble feed to them constantly.
 

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Take frames out of the uppermost box and turning it on its side or upside down, do a hard drop shake. If you do not get droplets on the surface you shook it on to, the honey is ripe. When a flow ends, the bees do not have the resources or the desire to cap partially full combs.
After taking the surplus honey, you are morally required to monitor your colony to make sure they have adequate food stores. Just look at the outside frames periodically and if they are full of stores the colony is fine during the summer dearth. If you are going to feed, my advice is large amounts in a short time.
Then be an adult and extract it all. The honey is a valuable wholesome product your family, friends and customers will want. Bees do not care one bit if you take their honey and feed them back fifty cent a pound white sugar. They winter just fine on it. Pollen is stored in the brood combs so since you are not extracting that, you are not harming the bees in the least.

This eases the problem of fooling the bees into constantly raising unneeded brood when you dribble feed to them constantly.
Good advice; Especially so with italian bees. Carniolans are more self disciplined.;) It takes some practice to know just when that time is for your area.
 
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