Author Topic: A very different question about pulling honey......  (Read 562 times)

Rojodiablo

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A very different question about pulling honey......
« on: September 02, 2020, 08:41:51 PM »
This one will be lengthy....... and wordy. (Sorry)  :P But I think te answers will shed a lot of light on honey pulling for newer beekeepers, so here goes:
I have several hives in my yard that were pretty stacked with honey; large bee populations, and most wound up with 2 honey supers, one wound up with three. I saw fully loaded, capped frames a couple months ago, and since they were working like mad, and so was I, I put an extra box on, and walked away for a while. Subsequent checks saw frames built out and filled, but not as much capped as the first boxes were. The two biggest hives had 3 honey supers, the bottom one 100% capped, the second half capped, the third built out between 10-90%, varying levels of nectar and honey in them.

Some of the capped honey wound up opened up, yet still full. I think when the heat wave hit, they tapped into the food fast, things went dry quick, and the flow stopped cold for like 3 weeks. Let's say these frames were 60-85% capped, and most of them were still 100% capped. I pulled these, and even the uncapped sections are like roofing tar, very dehydrated and thick. Good stuff!

Now, the second box, has been on a good while. 3 months give or take. Almost completely full, and about 20% capped. It's thick, and does not drip if I tip a frame sideways for a couple minutes. If I give them a shake out, I have no drips from nectar, it's dried beyond that.

The upper boxes are nowhere near ready, so I am letting them stay on the hives. So here's my conundrum....

Do I pull the second super, and maybe leave a frame or two in the upper box, then move it down? We do not freeze (Santa Ana California. They will fly 350 days a year here.) But I get the feeling I should pull the queen excluders within a couple weeks, and allow them access to that upper box for lean times and I know come November, December they will slow down a lot, and need to access the reserves for more body heat. Am trying to find a hygrometer on Friday to check moisture content.

So, for guys with more seasons at this, your thoughts? 1. Double box for brood and resources, no excluder, no 3rd box? OR, double brood box, giving them the upper or a mix from the upper and #2 super, and then keep the excluder and a 3rd box on top?
2. To the 3 deep hives, completely remove the 3rd box, give them the upper box for resources and no excluder?

We will get eucalyptus coming in late October, Nov. This is year round growing, so there are always trees and ground flowers blooming, so it's not likely they will outright starve regardless how dumb I am. (But I do give them 1/1 to help build comb when there is no honey supers on.) I know for my San Diego bees, I am in full emergency feed and salvage mode on them, for the next two months. These are a different issue, and not nearly so dire.

Thoughts please, I think a lot of us who are seeing their first big honey pulls are having similar questions about this. Thanks!!! ;D

vadentwin

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Re: A very different question about pulling honey......
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2020, 09:20:46 PM »
I have a very similar situation. I only use deeps to keep all my equipment the same. I have 4 solid hives that have 2 brood boxes. 2 of those I didn't add supers because they are still building out. Plenty of honey in outer frames on both brood boxes but not enough that I felt I should take from them or add a super. My other 2 hives have two deep brood boxes then an excluder, then 2 deep supers. The bottom supers they filled and capped all frames except for a small central circle in the bottom of the middle frames. The upper supers they capped about 75%. I only pulled the bottom super and still extracted the frames that were more than 80%-90% capped. I then put the top supers on top of the brood box excluders and after extracting returned the frames on top of that.

So now I have 2 bottom deep brood boxes, then a super about 75% full, then empty drawn frames in top box. I checked the other day and they have repaired all the extraction damage but have nectar in only a few cells. My small hives were pretty dry and I am feeding them 1:1. Those are recent cut outs or swarm removals. Our Golden Rod should be starting up soon, but I haven't seen any in the usual places yet. We have had a wet summer and I would expect a good golden rod flow, but you never know.

Long story short, IMO, if you don't need the honey, leave it. If you aren't sure it is cured, leave it. You only want Mead when its intentional. this brings up a side topic. I had to clean up some framed up cutout comb that were filled with honey but only 50% capped. I used that to make 2 gallons of Must, and I am not brewing some Mead with it.

Rojodiablo

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Re: A very different question about pulling honey......
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2020, 10:05:28 PM »
Vaden, I am thinking our bees dont starve out easily in winter, but if they need that honey..... with the excluder in, what kind of risk of starving out the queen because sh cant reach the food? I have seen her move onto capped honey, have the workers clear it out, then lay eggs in the comb, and I'd rather see her take a few  clean honey frames, rather than screw up and starve her out.

Seen a hive from the northern area where this was exactly what happened, but I don't think we have the same risks.

On a side note; if you know a decent property between Port St Lucie and Orlando, my son is there, closer to Orlando than Lucie now. Looking for a house for him, I am in a spot where I can help him out to get into something. If you know a place, a small house would be cool, on a lot big enough to park some kind of fishing boat and maybe sneak a few hies in under his nose..... :P Please let me know. He's just starting out, and I'd like to get him settled if the stars align right.

vadentwin

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Re: A very different question about pulling honey......
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2020, 06:34:12 AM »
I will be removing my excluders and supers once I think golden rod is done. My brood boxes all have good stores and I don't think they would starve if I pulled all the supers. I was more concerned with them not being fully capped because I don't have a hydrometer. My concern here is making sure the queen can stay with the ball of bees on a cold night if they move up.  We don't get long cold  spells here but it is not unheard of to have nights that dip into the teens and a day or two with highs in the 40s. Last winter I think I had 3-4 days total that the bees didn't fly.

I just listed my property in Ocala and I am making arrangements to move my bees. I am looking to get closer to the Gulf coast as this is where I am from originally. I am not as familiar with the Atlantic side and only go to Orlando when I have to.  I will PM you more details to avoid the rabbit hole.

linuxman51

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Re: A very different question about pulling honey......
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2020, 08:11:14 AM »
I dunno on the leaving honey up there indefinitely, I did that last year with some of my stronger hives (wasn't capped when I harvested, didn't want to go back later and create more work for myself, justified it by thinking they'll use it over winter), and after the great beetocalypse of this spring, I'm not doing that again.. if for no reason beyond simply not having the space for that many partially slimed frames nor the time to clean em up. Apparently I had a hard time getting queens back at any point this year, lost some early swarms (really early swarms, will not be waiting as long next year for inspections) that then created queenless hives and the beetles reigned supreme quick fast and in a hurry.

I realize that this is as much my fault as anything, but it makes such a mess and is such a waste. 5 gallon buckets with good lids go a long way for honey storage as long as it's dried out enough, or you can put it in a feeder and give it back to em if there's a winter dearth. Around here the bees bring in some pollens almost year round (esp if it's a mild winter like last year) but nectar gets scarce in october-ish. I've already got one 5 gallon bucket I'm gonna thin out a bit to feed back to the horde later this fall (and make pollen patties. yea yea beetles, but you gotta have bees to have beetle problems :-/ )

Rojodiablo

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Re: A very different question about pulling honey......
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2020, 08:17:43 AM »
Last year I got mugged by moths. I don't have a lot of beetles, so for this I am thankful. Looking for a hygrometer today, will check th stuff and then pull most everything I can, based on thae moisture content.

I guess side bonus....... if I pull all the frames that are close as it were- I'm looking at another 70-100lb of honey from these hives.
I like the idea of making some pollen sub patties using the honey if it's not really dehydrated, great idea. Thanks!

Miklg

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Re: A very different question about pulling honey......
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2020, 12:47:22 PM »
Since I no flow this year I dont have extra honey but this thread has some interesting  responses. I havent heard of making patties with honey. I know my grandfather fed honey back to bees from jars. Perhaps someone could start a thread with the different ways to feed honey back to bees for us beginners. I have set frames at distance robbing station from some deadouts but the the extent of my exoerience.

Rojodiablo

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Re: A very different question about pulling honey......
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2020, 09:03:20 PM »
Since I no flow this year I dont have extra honey but this thread has some interesting  responses. I havent heard of making patties with honey. I know my grandfather fed honey back to bees from jars. Perhaps someone could start a thread with the different ways to feed honey back to bees for us beginners. I have set frames at distance robbing station from some deadouts but the the extent of my exoerience.
I have to be real careful at my house with everything honey, food related, because we have a lot of ants and they can be savage when they need food. I like to put frames in a box, 3 frames to a 5 frame nuc box, and put them on a table in the yard, with bowls of water under the table feet to keep the ants out for a couple days while the bees clean up. I found that by keeping the frames kinda pen like this, the bees of several hives get to the frames without much fighting. The frames are well exposed to sunlight as well, and this allows me to get them cleaned out without a moth infestation.
For comb from cutouts with a mix of brood and dirty honey I like to put them in a big low flat tupperware container and then set it out on a table. Two weeks ago it was stupid hot here, and I put some water in the tupperware and loaded it with combs, they float and give the bees a way to get to water easily and climb back out. There was minimal drowning, and the bees were happy enough, and the honey mixing into the water made them really go to it hard. They cleaned the heck out of it all, and I am going to do that more with my cutout combs in the future.

Miklg

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Re: A very different question about pulling honey......
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2020, 10:08:42 PM »
Stupid hot is good description here also. I battle fire ants constantly with feeds and such. My robbing station is a old  bar b que  wheeled stand stripped down and flat table of 2x6. I just move it up and down a 1500 foot fence line  when ants become a problem. Then I can treat the  mounds.

Thanks for the response. Fire ants and 105 temps do make some challenges.

Andrew in SE GA

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Re: A very different question about pulling honey......
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2020, 01:39:02 PM »
I guess I am a lazy beekeeper.

I run one deep brood box with an excluder on some hives and 2 deeps for brood on others. I never remove the queen excluders, and I never pull honey after the 4th of July. In my opinion in never really gets cold enough here in Southeast GA for the bees to leave the queen behind in the brood box. I only move honey supers full of honey or frames full of honey if one hive has a surplus in the fall and another might not have enough to make it through the winter. My bees will make honey in September and October from Goldenrod and Spanish Needle. I have some hives with 2 full mediums which I will likely not touch until May 2021, if they do not eat it all December through January.