July

 

First honey pull

Continue to super your hives as required.  Now you need to super to keep ahead of the honey flow, instead of population growth.  If you have new frames that you want the bees to draw-out, now is the time to put them on the hive, spaced properly.  The bees will do a good job with new frames when they are on a heavy honey flow. 

Ensure you have:

Sufficient honey supers

Equipment for extracting (uncapping equipment, extracting equipment, pumps and setting tanks if needed)

Refractometer

Containers/jars and/or barrels

Extra Information

Early July

Continue to super your hives as required.  Now you need to super to keep ahead of the honey flow, instead of population growth.  If you have new frames that you want the bees to draw-out, now is the time to put them on the hive, spaced properly.  The bees will do a good job with new frames when they are in a heavy honey flow. 

If you open the hive and you see the white ‘beads’ of wax on the top bars, you can add one super.  If you see honey dripping from the lid, you are behind and can add- 2-3 honey supers, depending on when you will get back to pull your honey.  A strong hive can produce up to 20 pounds of honey in one day with perfect conditions and perfect forage.

Regardless of how many supers you add you your hive, make sure you have one empty super per hive in storage.  This will allow you to pull your honey, and give the hive one empty super (remember that when you pull honey in the middle of the day, a significant percentage or your bee population is out in the field gathering honey for you.  These bees will need some place to put this honey when they return, or they cannot go and get another load of honey.  If needed, you can extract one super per hive right away, and return this empty to the hive quickly to ensure they do not get over-crowded.

 Video for uncapping by scratcher

Late July

You will have you first honey pull off by the end of July.  A general rule-of-thumb is that honey that is more than 2/3 capped will be ‘dry’, ie. 18.5% moisture or less.  This is a general rule, as we have extracted fully capped frames at 19.8%.  The only way to be sure is to use a refractometer.  If you are packing into barrels, number them sequentially from 1, and use a new lot when required.

The biggest honey flow will occur early July – mid-August.  When you do your first pull of honey, place at least 2 empty honey supers back on the hive.  Go back to those hives 7 days later and check the top super.  If it is empty, add 1 honey super.  If it has 20lbs of honey, add 2 honey supers.  You should be pulling honey every 2 weeks, as long as you have enough honey supers.

If you see new frames come into the extracting room that are not fully drawn, you can space them back into your honey supers and send them back out to the field.  Place supers with foundation lower on the hive – this will be closer to the bees and they will do a better job to draw out the frames.

Video of methods for pulling honey

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