Will I be able to harvest honey off of a hive started from a package

by Janet
(SC)

Will I be able to harvest honey off of a new hive started from a package this year?

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Hi Janet,

The answer is maybe - but I wouldn't get my hopes up too much.

The problem faced by those of us who live in more southerly states is that we can't get our package bees early enough.

For example, when I started a beehive last year to demonstrate the process, the bees arrived on April 12. But by that time, the honey season was well underway in East Texas. In fact as I write this - April 19 - we're in the middle of our best honey flow of the season.

So by the time I can get a package of bees, it's far too late for them to build up enough in population to store a surplus of honey. By the time the colony is strong, we're into the summer doldrums when there aren't many major honey flows in my area. There are usually some fall flows, but I normally leave that honey for the bees.

But if you live far north of Texas, by the time you get your package bees it might still be quite early in the season. Give the bees all the feed they need to build up steadily, and if everything goes right, you might indeed be able to harvest some honey.

Some areas, too, have great honey flows deep into summer. If you live in one of those areas, that will increase your chances of harvesting some first-season honey.

So the answer to your question is that if you get your bees early (for your area), and Mother Nature cooperates with great honey flows, then you'd have a chance at harvesting some first-season honey from your package bees.

Be sure, though, to leave plenty of honey for the bees to make it through their first winter. If you don't, you'll be endangering your bees AND your chances of getting a great honey crop next year.

Good luck!

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