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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have had an abundance of rain this spring and it doesn't look like it is stopping yet.
I live within a few miles of the Mississippi river south of St. Louis. I have been pulling honey as it is capped and returning the wet frames the following week and pulling more. So far I have harvested about 600 lbs of honey from a dozen hives spread throughout our county. Stuff is still blooming all over, wildflowers, clover of every type and color.

Normally I read people are pulling supers early July and preparing for a dearth, but with all of the moisture I'm thinking the dearth may be later than usual.

should I just keep going as I am until they stop filling the frames? What would you do?
 

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Personal opinion, the answer may lay in a couple of questions. What are the bees likely to do if you don't pull the capped honey and give them back empty frames? Are you comfortable with their solution?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Eikel, I was hoping you might respond since are not too far away...

So, I'll ask the question... What are the bees likely to do with the empty frames?

Jim
 

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Short answer to the original question is listen to the bees, let them lead the dance.

I'm seeing the same thing as you with nectar still coming in and filling frames, I've already done one selective harvest of capped honey to free up empty frames and put back on the hives. I'm pretty much reacting to the conditions and not the calendar, which translates to continue to be in "flow mode." I may need another selective harvest within the next week.

I'm also seeing more late swarm preps and occurrences, seems the longer nectar flow is also extending the swarm urge season. Swarming is what I would consider likely if you're not staying ahead of them with "available space."

When I do my main harvest, usually late June/mid July (usually being the key word) I tend to leave an equivalent amount of honey that I plan to use for overwintering. I dislike feeding, so the theory is they use any honey for the summer dearth and replenish during the fall flow; which for me isn't much. I reassess the stores toward the beginning of Sept. The point to the above is when you do see evidence of the flow slowing, you react in a similar manner in the amount of honey you pull. The amount you plan to use to overwinter maybe a good gauge for the quantity you leave on the hive.


Just my $.02 worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Eikel,
That pretty much sums up where I have been heading. Pulling capped/ripe honey and giving back empty wet frames weekly to keep space for them to work. So far it seems like it is working well, but I am still new to this. This is my first year with more than a few hives. I have 13 hives in full size boxes and about that many nucs that are growing fast in this extended flow.

Jim
 

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I have not pulled honey yet. Last year I pulled on june 18 and my flow was over and did not pick up after that date. This year there seems to be less honey in my hives but I still have clover in my yard. I would like to think I am still getting excess in the hives. I can't believe it will last much longer now that it is getting hot.

Every body tells me that if you leave the honey on them too long, they will make brood with it. I never get much honey and am new enough not to give advice but liked reading this thread.

Thanks for posting.
gww

Ps, I do like getting the honey off before the dirth gets too real cause it is harder to clear the supers of bees and the other bees get interested in any hive you open too long.
 

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The nucs have been a challenge to keep as nucs, they seem to be busting at the seams every time I turn around. Good luck on keeping up with the honey and nucs; oy vey, such a problem to have! LOL
 

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Last year I pulled on june 18 and my flow was over and did not pick up after that date.
I refer to last year as the year without a spring; went from like the 4th coldest directly to summer heat. Most of the locals I spoke with only saw something in the neighborhood of 60% of their normal harvest. This year I haven't noticed spikes in the flow, it seemed more moderate but steady.


So far this year, my honey has been noticeably lighter in color.

I hear you on trying to pull the honey before it gets too far into the dearth. Another point is the heat and sweat, gets hard to see with sweat running in your eyes and puddling on your glasses.
 

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Eikel
Last year my honey was almost black. I am good if the honey is lighter this year. Unless the flow goes longer, I think I will make less over all this year then last.

I so agree with the heat. It finaly forced me to check my bees while almost naked.
They have been good and nice to me, so far.

I get lot of dead bees in front of the hives when I pull and when I put the wet supers back on due to robbing when I pull during derths. The hives recover well from that but it is hard to clear the frames of bees before carrying them in the house cause they want to stick like glue.

I find harvesting intimidating in several ways. One, the timing of when is best to pull and two, the actual work involved.
It is good to hear from you again being a neighbor of sorts. It reinforces things I am seeing in my area when you mention what you are seeing.
Thanks
gww
 

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A friend in Waterloo IL gets really dark honey in the fall and he has a noticeable fall flow. I get enough ragweed and goldenrod to make the hive smell and top things off for wintering but not much more than that.


Yeah, humping supers of honey doesn't make my "fun list" either; too much like work.

A leaf blower and extra inner covers help clear and keep the bees out of the supers but as you said, there's always some that get into the harvest area.
 
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