taking the honey from the bees

by Nathan Barger
(Lorain, Ohio)

Hi, my name is Nathan and I just started to become very interested in bees since I decided to write a paper on why we need them a couple of weeks ago.

But I live in Ohio with such extreme weather conditions the past two months. Do you think it would be possible to have a bee hive if I had built a building specific to them? And if I did do so what temperature would I need to keep it?

And one last thing: is it helpful to bees to take some of the honey, or does it just hurt the colony?

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Hi Nathan,

I'm glad you're thinking about getting into beekeeping. We need all the beekeepers we can get! And I think you'll find it to be great fun.

You asked some great questions:

-Keeping bees in extreme weather: Your bees will do just fine in Ohio. Bees are kept successfully all around the world, and in places that experience weather extremes greater than Ohio (Alaska, for example).

In fact, one of the early pioneers of modern beekeeping, A.I. Root, lived and kept bees in Medina, Ohio. He was the founder of the A.I. Root company (now Root Candles) and the magazine, Gleanings in Bee Culture (now just called Bee Culture).

-Wintering bees in a building: I wouldn't worry about bringing your bees into a shelter for wintering; it's just not necessary. Years ago, it was common practice for many beekeepers to bring bees inside for wintering. Another beekeeping pioneer, Dr. C.C. Miller, used to bring his hundreds of beehives into a cellar to winter.

But I don't think many beekeepers do that nowadays, and it's really not necessary. (Learn more about wintering bees successfully).

-Taking honey from bees: Does it help bees when you take some honey from them? No, not really. But if you don't take too much, and don't take it at the wrong time, it doesn't hurt them, either.

The amount of honey bees need for winter depends upon the local climate. It would be a great idea to ask experienced beekeepers in your area how much honey to leave on the hive. My guess, though, would be a minimum of the equivalent of a full deep super of honey for wintering bees in Ohio.

Thanks for the questions, and best of luck with your beekeeping if you decide to give it a try!

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