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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some advise. this is the second season w/ our one hive. last year we did not harvest any honey due to late start of package. this year we are now two supers strong on top of two hive bodies. we have been in drought conditions now for almost two months. i need some advise on when to harvest. i am not sure about nectar flow in our area. we are my no means finished w/ summer months, but i read up on some folks harvesting in july. please help.
 

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Harvest between March and November, when the honey is capped.

Anytime I find a fully capped super, I take it. Sometimes I take just a capped frame or two.
 

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hi drew,
everyone harvests differently for different reasons, and considering different locations across the usa. i harvest once a year in late august or early september but have many more hives, and supers to harvest.

as iddee said, you can take off a fully capped super or just take a frame or two. with your weather and drought and lack of knowledge of any nectar flow in your area, here is what i would suggest for you; figure out your nectar flow, check your hives weight, or determine what stores they have available to get them through until a flow develops. take one box off and harvest it, you said you had two. if you have no nectar flow whatsoever, and your hive is light on stores or weight, then leave one box on for them if they need it. it is better for them and you to leave honey on for them than for you to find yourself with starving bees or feeding them sugar syrup. if a nectar flow develops, then you can always harvest it later.

hope i made sense.....? for example, this year in my area extremely warm weather too early with no blooms, then a really poor bloom, but the bees managed to put some away in supers. i left the supers on (would anyway), rains and floods came killing many blooms, and a nectar dearth followed. then another nectar dearth from record heat. my hives started consuming/moving honey from the supers to the brood boxes and week after week, the hives were getting lighter and lighter, and hives consuming some if not all of the honey stored in the 1st super. some had one on, some had 3 on. up until about 3 weeks ago, i was concerned that i might have to feed the bees that had consumed the honey stores, if a nectar flow didn't start up.

it's best to be conservative with what you take from them in a nectar dearth. make sure you leave them something if your hive is light or very light, or ensure that they have enough in stores in your deeps, to survive and sustain on in a nectar dearth, or continued dearth this time of the year, otherwise you will be feeding them. hope this helps!
:grin:
 

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It's a difficult call this year with the drought and weather being so uncertain (more so than usual!). I agree with riverbee - take one box now, and leave one. If we get some rain, or any kind of late summer flow (goldenrod, asters, sumac) perhaps they can store enough for winter and you can harvest the 2nd box later in the summer.

Are you in contact with other beekeepers in your area? I know several beeks in the Northeast club. Talked to a few last week and they're pulling honey.
http://www.neiba.info/
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the advise. so, is it safe to say than if its capped, it is cured? forgive me, i have not done my homework, and it seems as though what you do read sometimes conflicts previous knowledge. more or less it seams that i need to speak w/ someone local to know our nectar flow info. we need rain, and lots of it. i like the idea of leaving one of the supers rather than feeding. should i have expected more than two supers during a period of drought or is that about right. remember that i have two deep hive bodies as well. i have yet to become involved w/ the local beekeepers association, but i did just print the application. thanks again.
 

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"is it safe to say than if its capped, it is cured?"
yes

"should i have expected more than two supers during a period of drought or is that about right."

well, i think that's pretty good right now for one hive considering your drought. indypartridge can probably answer that for you better than i can
 

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I also remove honey supers if they are capped, I figure that super of honey will buy a lot of syurp. But, then I hate feeding so I should leave them on. I am a tortured soul sometimes.:shock: I would check around with locals and keep an eye on things.
 

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Drew,

I am also in Indiana and I would have thought with the drought the honey crop would suffer. Perhaps it is to some degree BUT having said that, I just harvested 18 frames of honey and got 5 gallons of honey in the past week. I have another 10 frames that was "almost (80%) capped 3 days ago. I plan on checking in another 4 or 5 days to see if they are all capped and then harvest again.

Good luck.

Jim
 

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Removing and Extracting

For me, removing supers and extracting are almost one operation. I find extracting a sticky, messy job so I like to reduce the number of times I do it.

In our climate, we use the shake test. When we have a frame of capped and un-capped honey, the frame is held horizontally and given a swift downward shake. If no honey/nectar comes out then it is ripe for extraction. Droplets of honey/nectar means the frame goes back to the bees for ripening.

Hope this comment helps. :smile:
 
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