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Honey collection

 
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Cosmicwillow
Guard Bee


Joined: 07 Oct 2015
Posts: 82
Location: U.K. Notts/Lincs/Yorks border

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 12:05 am    Post subject: Honey collection Reply with quote

Not that we decided to keep bees for honey or that we are about to attempt it now....but when and how do you extract some honey, can it be done in a 'non destructive' way? Just preparing for our first full season as it appears the two colonies we collected quite late last year have (are) making it through their first winter, active at the moment with collections of pollen being taken in.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a bit of an ask two bee keepers a question and get three answers dilemma.

Many on here only harvest in the spring when they know the bees have made it through the winter. This for many will mean no need to feed in the autumn. With my two HTBH hives I will take the occasional comb, just one or two at a time and use that as part of comb rotation to prevent build up of pesticides in the wax. With my Warre I will take a box off when I am sure they have plenty without it, sometimes spring, sometimes in summer depending on the season.
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Cosmicwillow
Guard Bee


Joined: 07 Oct 2015
Posts: 82
Location: U.K. Notts/Lincs/Yorks border

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can we extract from comb without destroying it
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Barbara
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Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1568
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It depends on what type of hive you have and if the honey is crystallised or not. If it's solid, even in a framed hive, you will probably have to destroy the comb. In Spring there is more of a chance that the honey left in the hive will be crystallised. Framed hive honey is normally extracted by centrifugal force.... basically putting it in an extractor and spinning it out but it will only come out if it's liquid. If it's from a top bar hive, crush and strain is the usual method of extraction, which obviously destroys the comb. If it has crystallised then you will need to VERY gently warm it, to get it back to liquid. Airing cupboard for a few days is a good place or I put mine on top of a storage heater for a few days.

I would just like to add to what catchercradle has said regarding timing of spring harvest. I would wait until there is a nectar flow before you harvest any. At the moment you probably feel that your colony has come through winter but now is the time that they will really eat into those stores because they are raising brood and it's still a bit early and cool for a nectar flow, so they could starve if you harvest too early.
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Cosmicwillow
Guard Bee


Joined: 07 Oct 2015
Posts: 82
Location: U.K. Notts/Lincs/Yorks border

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for advice, we have two TBhives and and certainly not thinking about any harvest yet, just getting the thought processes going for the forthcoming season
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