Honey Extraction

by Andrew
(Michigan)

Very nice narrative I must say. I will use this when I start my first hive soon. Should beginners extract honey from the top supers in their first year?

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Thanks Andrew.

More often than not, a newly established colony of package bees will not store up a significant amount of surplus honey in their first season.

It's not impossible, though. If you get your bees early enough, and if it's a really good season in terms of honey flows (particularly late flows), your bees might produce a surplus in the very first season.

If so, there's no harm in harvesting that surplus. Just be sure to always leave enough for the bees. Some beekeepers will harvest all of the honey, and feed sugar syrup to the bees for winter survival, but I don't think that's a good idea.

Sugar syrup is OK in a pinch, but it doesn't provide bees with all of the nutrients that honey gives them.

Also, having plenty of stored honey on hand will allow the bees to build up their population unimpeded the following spring. So taking too much honey this year may reduce your honey crop next year.

How much honey will the bees require for winter survival and spring build-up? That varies according to location.

In my locale, there's only about a 2 to 3 month window when there's absolutely zero nectar or pollen for the bees to forage. So I don't have to leave as much honey on in the fall as would a beekeeper in a more northern latitude.

For the Michigan area, I would guess that I'd want to leave my hive with a minimum of 1 deep super completely full of honey. But if you know some experienced local beekeepers, it would be a good idea to solicit their opinion about how much honey to leave your bees.

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Aug 13, 2011
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Thanks!
by: Margaret

Thanks for a well written beekeeping How-to. Nicely done!

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