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Author Topic: to harvest or not  (Read 1429 times)

Offline crispy

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to harvest or not
« on: January 13, 2021, 05:07:19 am »
Hi all need some advice on this subject ,did a 5 week inspection on the hive the other day and the honey super has a number of frames that are going to be ready very soon ,now we are in mid january here in south australia which can be fairly hot at times and our winter will probably start around april may time when it wil get colder .

Should i harvest the honey from the honey super when it is capped or should i let it go for this season , the brood box has stores in above the brood as normal but just dont want the bees to run short of food.there are probably about 3 frames that are not going to be ready for at least what i think is about 8 weeks but the others are booming along with some partially capped already .  .

Offline Acebird

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2021, 08:32:55 am »
Location is everything.  You should only take advice from your next door neighbors.  The key factors are flows and dearths, how long they last.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline crispy

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2021, 12:43:49 am »
Well i have to say i am most disapointed , this post has been looked at by numerous people and only one soul has replied thankyou acebird  . Is it a secret or something because i just cant understand why no one will give a new beek some advice who is coming into there first year of honey flow ,i do not have someone who can mentor me as to what i should do so im flying solo .

I am a back yard bee keeper in his first year a member of the s.a.a.a and someone who is trying hard to make this thing work . i get more advice and info from utube videos than from fellow bee keepers on this site which brings me to think is it really worth staying here, there are no local bee keeping clubs that i know of near where i live and that is why i put questions up      rant finished .

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2021, 09:12:56 pm »
Location is everything.  You should only take advice from your next door neighbors.  The key factors are flows and dearths, how long they last.

I agree with Brian. Local help would be best as location matters. I will ask, are Small Hive Beetles a problem at your location or area?
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2021, 09:22:05 pm »
Let me add, if your honey is capped, I would probably go ahead and extract. Do you still have a flow there or expect a goodly flow to follow? If so this information will depend on how much to extract and how much to leave for the bees. I am suggesting, if you expect a flow or not, in my personal opinion, go ahead and extract. Especially if SHB may be involved. Plus you can always feed sucrose syrup to replenish their needs. Honey is much more valuable than sugar, just be sure what your feed goes to the bees as you do not want sucrose honey. We only want it is a pure as absolutely possible. Sucrose is strictly for the bees consumption and betterment. Just My opinion. Some are sure to disagree but remember there are different ways that will work. Find the way that works best for you. Good luck and much honey to you Crispy!
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2021, 09:44:59 pm »
Location is everything.  You should only take advice from your next door neighbors.  The key factors are flows and dearths, how long they last.

I agree with Brian. Local help would be best as location matters. I will ask, are Small Hive Beetles a problem at your location or area?
I also agree.  It's difficult for us North Americans to give you good advice in this area.  Your plants, pests, flowers, flows, and temperatures are unknown to us, and answering this question requires that knowledge.  Taking off honey depends on a lot of factors.  At what point will your season change?  How much honey will the bees need to get through winter?  Can you expect another flow this year?  How early next year will the first flow be?  Is the honey on your hive a variety worth collecting?  How strong is the hive, and what hive strength is normal for this time of year?  Without experience in the answers to these questions, it's almost impossible for us to give you any advice worth taking.  Hopefully some of our Australian members are close enough to where you live to help you out better.

Without knowing the answers to those questions, if it is your first season, I'd be very hesitant to take any honey.  If I understand you, your hive has a brood box and one super, and you are questioning if you can harvest the super for yourself.  In my area that would be a solid no, unless you are prepared to feed them to replace it, like Ben Framed mentioned.  The honey around the periphery of the brood nest is no where near enough for a hive to survive the winter.  But as I said, for your situation that advice could be wrong for all I know about your area.       
« Last Edit: March 16, 2021, 10:04:04 pm by The15thMember »
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Offline Ben Framed

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2021, 10:06:04 pm »
Location is everything.  You should only take advice from your next door neighbors.  The key factors are flows and dearths, how long they last.

I agree with Brian. Local help would be best as location matters. I will ask, are Small Hive Beetles a problem at your location or area?
I also agree.  It's difficult for us North Americans to give you good advice in this area.  Your plants, pests, flowers, flows, and temperatures are unknown to us, and answering this question requires that knowledge.  Taking off honey depends on a lot of factors.  At what point will your season change?  How much honey will the bees need to get through winter?  Can you expect another flow this year?  How early next year will the first flow be?  Is the honey on your hive a variety worth collecting?  How strong is the hive, and what hive strength is normal for this time of year?  Without experience in the answers to these questions, it's almost impossible for us to give you any advice worth taking.  Hopefully some of our Australian members are close enough to where you live to help you out better.

Without knowing the answers to those questions, if it is your first season, I'd be very hesitant to take any honey.  If I understand you, your hive has a brood box and one super, and you are questioning if you can harvest the super for yourself.  In my area that would be a solid no.  The honey around the periphery of the brood nest is no where near enough for a hive to survive the winter.  But as I said, for your situation that advice could be wrong for all I know about your area.     

True and I basically agree, but there is always another way. If you have time weather wise, and an extractor that will sling the honey out and save the comb, you can feed 2-1 sucrose and they will replace the empty comb with the feed and they should be plenty good for the winter. You can place a 2 gallon bucket with proper holes drilled int the top which will be turned upside down lining up with a hole in you bee top, allowing the bees to consume it in a matter of days, process, store, and cap. Remember time is of the essence as Member stated. (SEE  A Canadian Beekeeper Blog {Ian Stepler videos as he explains in detail how to to this} ) Or you can open feed, just make sure your bees are getting the feed lol. And; By monitoring, and you feel the weight is getting too low and may run out before spring, you can mountain camp feed them. Mountain Camp worked GREAT for me this past winter season with some of the coldest temperatures that I remember in many years. -17c  and below freezing for several days.

Our friend 15Member is giving solid and fool proof advice especially for a first year beekeeper,  but if you do it RIGHT you can harvest your honey if you are willing to do it the right way.  Or at least part of the honey. I also agree with Member you really need to hear from the locals there in your area which are experienced and knowledgeable as well. Again if you are not willing to do what it takes just simple save the honey for the bees as Member suggested.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2021, 10:23:10 pm by Ben Framed »
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2021, 10:20:35 pm »
One more thought. If you have 10 frames of honey and leave it all, come spring you still have 5 frames or what ever amount left, you can harvest part of it then when the flow is on, as long as it has not crystalized.
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline crispy

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2021, 07:34:45 am »
Thankyou for your replies sorry about the rant but i am really flying blind here , i dont have small a hive beetle problem that i have seen or am aware of in my hive it is off the ground which i think may help . I have to do an inspection probably on the weekend where i will get a greater appreciation of if i do have many full capped frames , I understand about the guys in america i do watch kamon reynolds in tennasee he is a vibrant bee keeper who imparts his knowledge well , to be honest i dont think many people round my area keep bees ,they have been pretty busy of late though and many orientation flights happening soon i will expect to see drones outside the hive as we move into winter here in australia although we don't have severe winters where i live like i have seen in the U.S .

Again please accept my apologies for my rant yesterday as a new beek i am constantly looking for answers i suppose it is lucky i don't have a mentor i would probably drive them nuts with questions , books can give you some idea the same as videos but i know of even professional bee keepers who have mentors running hundreds of hives .

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2021, 08:46:44 am »
Crispy. You will probably get more comments by posting in the regular/general thread, rather than this "down under" section. I consider it for you aussies, looking for regional advice from fellow countrymen. That might not be true, but it is what I have always thought.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2021, 11:10:02 am »
Crispy. You will probably get more comments by posting in the regular/general thread, rather than this "down under" section. I consider it for you aussies, looking for regional advice from fellow countrymen. That might not be true, but it is what I have always thought.

Took the words right out of my mouth lol. There use to be a poster from there in Australia that posted in both places that was very knowledgeable.  eltalia  I have not seen a post by him in quite sometime. 
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2021, 11:34:17 am »
Thankyou for your replies sorry about the rant but i am really flying blind here

Again please accept my apologies for my rant yesterday as a new beek i am constantly looking for answers i suppose it is lucky i don't have a mentor i would probably drive them nuts with questions , books can give you some idea the same as videos but i know of even professional bee keepers who have mentors running hundreds of hives .
No worries, and I get it.  I don't have a mentor or a bee club either, and I would never have gotten this far without the help of this forum.  We are very willing to help you out the best we can and we will gladly answer all the questions you can think up, but just remember to keep all of our answers in the context of your microclimate and your seasons and conditions.   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Bee North

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Re: to harvest or not
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2021, 08:39:27 pm »
Hi Crispy,
Mate take the following as a guess with a little research mixed in.

Firstly I'm from the tropics as you know and dont have a winter. So my management is very different to yours.

I have had a look into how others manage their hives in S.A and this is what I read:
Your "winter" is really only for two months June/July - give or take. It looks like things kick off again through August and spring flow is in September.
I read on another forum many beeks in S.A remove supers in May and "winter" with one brood box only. Keeping in mind to ensure the outer frames are all honey etc.
I also read of S.A beeks extracting through Autumn as there should be a flow happening...now.
That's all I could find.

You could probably do either....Go to one brood box or keep the super on considering bee numbers.

Check out the "bush bee man" on YouTube. He is in S.A maybe ask him for some advice.

What I would try if I couldnt get local advice:
I would extract a few frames now and leave the rest for the girls. They still have a couple of months to top up stores for "winter".

 I would keep the super on and remove the QE if numbers are strong enough for two boxes. Come August before the September flow get the queen below and replace the QE. You will probably have surplus honey and chances r some to extract to make room for the flow and prevent swarming!!

You will know better what to expect next year.

Keep  notes on dates, flows, pollen coming in, hive expansion and if she stops laying etc. as well as how much honey they used.

Good luck getting better local advice!