NZBF: Honey harvesting

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9
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My one hive presently has 4 3/4 boxes on top of a full size brood box.
Do I remove the 4 boxes and trust enough new honey will be produced for winter? Or what?
Not sure if I've given enough details.
I'm also curious to know how many boxes the bees can fit into after the first cull of honey.
In other words if I were to take away 4 boxes, would the bees have enough space in one 3/4 box with 10 empty frames + (brood box) initially?
I hope this makes sense and thanks for advice.
 
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Mummzie

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I'm going to answer a question with more questions.
How full of bees are all the boxes?
How full of honey are they and are they capped?
How do you intend to harvest the honey, and what do you plan you do with the frames after they have been extracted?

How about a brief bio of your beekeeping experience please.. ie is this your first season?
 
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I'm going to answer a question with more questions.
How full of bees are all the boxes?
How full of honey are they and are they capped?
How do you intend to harvest the honey, and what do you plan you do with the frames after they have been extracted?

How about a brief bio of your beekeeping experience please.. ie is this your first season?
Wow! Never expected such a fast response...
Here goes then:

To me, the boxes are well populated - not a lot of experience (maybe a picture is called for here?)
I'd say approx 85% capped
I use a two frame hand driven extractor
Previously I've let the bees clean the frames and then returned them one at a time to the hive, I was told to do this, tell me Grant is there a reason for not letting the bees clean the frame inside the hive?

Tiny Bio entered
 
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if I were to take away 4 boxes, would the bees have enough space in one 3/4 box with 10 empty frames + (brood box) initially?
what size is the brood box?
Previously I've let the bees clean the frames and then returned them one at a time to the hive,
returned the frames one at a time ??
no need to drip feed frames or boxes back on. put them all back on at once. the less interruption of a hive the better and also less honey smell generated the better.

for a hobbyist what you can do is simply take one box off at a time, extract it and return it when you take off the next one. unless its robbing season.

taking all honey boxes off all depends on what size the hive is and what is happening.
if honey is still coming in (most likely at the moment) they will start packing honey into the brood box (nowhere else to put it) which is not a good thing as it will reduce lay space and start reducing the hive population.
once the honey flow is over, the bee numbers will reduce and you can reduce the hive size to suit.
 

Grant

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Previously I've let the bees clean the frames and then returned them one at a time to the hive, I was told to do this, tell me Grant is there a reason for not letting the bees clean the frame inside the hive?
I'm concerned about this statement as it implies you are leaving wets outside and I would have thought if you were leaving wets outside, then it would instigate robbing or disease spread. I'll let someone else more experienced comment, but standby for some (hopefully not too strong, its an NZBF topic) opinions....
 
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Full depth brood box - remainder 3/4
they can winter just fine in a single FD brood box. however you certainly do not want to downsize them in the middle of the flow.
i highly recommend you use the same box size for supers as you do brood. this allows you to replace brood frames quite easily.
two 3/4's for brood works well.

I'm concerned about this statement as it implies you are leaving wets outside and I would have thought if you were leaving wets outside, then it would instigate robbing or disease spread. I'll let someone else more experienced comment, but standby for some (hopefully not too strong, its an NZBF topic) opinions....
excellent point.

there is a dirty old hobbyist trick of leaving wet frames, or even feeding whole frames, by leaving them outside the hives.
this is very bad. not only do you have a very high risk of making bees rob, which in turn can attack your hive, it is also a fantastic way to spread disease all around the neighbourhood. keep in mind city areas are the largest diseased areas in the country.

all wet frames (aka stickies) should be put back on the hive in a super. that way only that hive cleans them up. that avoids robbing and any disease issues stay in that hive not spread around the neighbourhood.
 
9
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Auckland
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Thanks for all the advice everyone!

I like the idea of using two 3/4 boxes for brood and contracting down to them for winter.

1. I'm guessing I start by moving the queen excluder up a couple of levels?
2. Is there a preferred temporary position in the 'new' stack of 3 brood boxes for the 'to be replaced full depth brood box'?
3. Will my queen migrate to a 3/4 box or is up to me to manually remove her from the full depth box?
4. Is there a critical time when I reposition the excluder to deactivate the full depth box?
5. I'm presuming it's my decision to keep using the full depth frame box? Advice requested please - (if I've not overstayed my welcome).
 
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the above method should work ok, tho for a beginner i would stick with excluder for now. it just makes life a bit easier.

i would make sure you have a couple of boxes of well drawn frames, not any with missing bits, holes etc.
put them above the FD and then excluder on top. it will take a while but queen will usually move up on here own. you have pleanty of time left for her to move up so there is no rush to "deactivate" the FD.
the hard part is making sure she is not in the FD. best way is to find her before moving the FD. the other way is to move the FD above the excluder and put another excluder on that. come back a month later and its very easy to see which boxes she is in.

you can keep using the FD box if you like. for a honey super anything goes.
the important thing is that you have some supers that are the same size as the brood so you can swap out poor brood frames for good frames.
 
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Somewhere in the old site archives @tudorcd has written a very good "Easy Beekeeping" guide. I dunno if this link will work

Have downloaded the files and now need to read them - slight glitch, I needed to log on to the 'old site' before i could download the files.
Couldn't such a useful 'manual' be made available on this new web site?
 
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9
3
Auckland
Experience
Hobbyist
the above method should work ok, tho for a beginner i would stick with excluder for now. it just makes life a bit easier.

i would make sure you have a couple of boxes of well drawn frames, not any with missing bits, holes etc.
put them above the FD and then excluder on top. it will take a while but queen will usually move up on here own. you have pleanty of time left for her to move up so there is no rush to "deactivate" the FD.
the hard part is making sure she is not in the FD. best way is to find her before moving the FD. the other way is to move the FD above the excluder and put another excluder on that. come back a month later and its very easy to see which boxes she is in.

you can keep using the FD box if you like. for a honey super anything goes.
the important thing is that you have some supers that are the same size as the brood so you can swap out poor brood frames for good frames.
Can't wait to get started! Thanks again.
 
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Josh

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I migrated into FD a couple of seasons ago, it’s not too hard at all. Just take it step by step and double check the queen is where you think she is. Using a second QE as insurance is a good idea.

when you move the old FD above the queen excluder to grow out the remaining brood make sure there is an upper entrance to let the drones escape. They can’t get through the QE.

I turned my old FD into vented top boxes. If you have access to a table saw or band saw then you can turn them into 3/4
 
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they can winter just fine in a single FD brood box. however you certainly do not want to downsize them in the middle of the flow.
i highly recommend you use the same box size for supers as you do brood. this allows you to replace brood frames quite easily.
two 3/4's for brood works well.


excellent point.

there is a dirty old hobbyist trick of leaving wet frames, or even feeding whole frames, by leaving them outside the hives.
this is very bad. not only do you have a very high risk of making bees rob, which in turn can attack your hive, it is also a fantastic way to spread disease all around the neighbourhood. keep in mind city areas are the largest diseased areas in the country.

all wet frames (aka stickies) should be put back on the hive in a super. that way only that hive cleans them up. that avoids robbing and any disease issues stay in that hive not spread around the neighbourhood.
Thanks @tristan and @Grant for being strong on this point. @afmargetts one of the hardest and earliest lessons I learned when starting beekeeping was what can happen when exposed honey is left out in the apiary for any length of time. I made all the big mistakes in my first harvest (the worst of which resulted in my house besieged with bees) to learn that keeping any hive product that had exposed honey contained is imperative to personal safety and wellbeing and the harmony and hygiene of the apiary. This old method of leaving bees to clean frames outside (e.g. in open boxes in a yard) a contained environment (i.e. a hive box on the hive they were harvested from) is just bad form. Pity it is still a method shown in YouTube vids, older text books etc, particularly from the States.
Go well with your season @afmargetts and hope you have a nice bit of honey on toast from your own hive soon :)
 
9
3
Auckland
Experience
Hobbyist
I migrated into FD a couple of seasons ago, it’s not too hard at all. Just take it step by step and double check the queen is where you think she is. Using a second QE as insurance is a good idea.

when you move the old FD above the queen excluder to grow out the remaining brood make sure there is an upper entrance to let the drones escape. They can’t get through the QE.

I turned my old FD into vented top boxes. If you have access to a table saw or band saw then you can turn them into 3/4
Never gave those drones a thought! :)
 
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yesbut

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Thanks @tristan and @Grant for being strong on this point. @afmargetts one of the hardest and earliest lessons I learned when starting beekeeping was what can happen when exposed honey is left out in the apiary for any length of time. I made all the big mistakes in my first harvest (the worst of which resulted in my house besieged with bees) to learn that keeping any hive product that had exposed honey contained is imperative to personal safety and wellbeing and the harmony and hygiene of the apiary. This old method of leaving bees to clean frames outside (e.g. in open boxes in a yard) a contained environment (i.e. a hive box on the hive they were harvested from) is just bad form. Pity it is still a method shown in YouTube vids, older text books etc, particularly from the States.
Go well with your season @afmargetts and hope you have a nice bit of honey on toast from your own hive soon :)
Putting wets back on the hive they came from is a good way of cleaning them up. Perhaps you meant to say that.
 
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