Are your frames ready for harvest? It’s important to ensure your Flow Frames are full and capped before harvesting, otherwise your honey may ferment if the moisture content is too high.
Make sure you’re set up for success: When it’s harvest time in your apiary, read through our harvesting checklist to ensure you’ve got the optimal set-up for easy honey harvesting.
Do you have enough jars? Each Flow Frame holds approximately 6.5 lb (3 kg) of unprocessed honey, this can increase if the bees really build-out each frame. Bee prepared with extra jars in case your first one overflows!
The amount of honey available for harvest will be dependent on many factors, such as hive strength and available forage. Some beekeepers will harvest several times in one season, whilst other colonies will only produce enough to get them through the winter.
Depending on your region and climate, there can be periods of sparse nectar availability during the summer. It depends on what plants are flowering in your area at particular times. Keeping aware of how much food your bees are bringing home will allow you to judge when it’s appropriate to harvest. As always, local knowledge is really important here, so get advice from other beekeepers in your area.
If temperatures are typically over 85ºF/30ºC or if humidity is high in your area, you may need to offer your bees a little support so they can retain their optimal hive temperature. The ventilation controls on our Flow Hive 2 are really handy for this! If you have a Classic model, make sure the corflute slider is in the lower position or removed completely.
Ensure your bees have a nearby water source – but don’t make it too deep, bees aren’t good swimmers! Try to ensure your hive has shade during the hottest part of the day. Here are some tips on how to create a water station for your bees.
At this time of year you might see your bees gathered in large numbers on the front of the hive. If the temperature is hot, they are probably bearding, however, it is still possible to get some late season swarms.
Bearding is yet another fascinating behaviour, where bees fan their wings to maintain the perfect temperature inside the hive.
If your hive is bearding, you may like to ask yourself two questions; 1. Is there enough room in the hive for the expanding colony? And, 2. Could they be preparing to swarm? A simple hive inspection will assist with this – look out for peanut-shaped queen cells that indicate a late season swarm.
Summer hive inspections
When inspecting, be on the lookout for good population numbers, your queen, healthy brood patterns and honey stores, and most importantly, look closely for pests and diseases and treat accordingly.
Many beekeepers choose to start applying their mite treatments after harvesting so check with local experts for recommendations on this important process.
If you need advice with a summer inspection, we’re here to help! We have a swarm of resources available and a knowledgeable team on hand to offer support.
If your hive is too full, or you want to ensure your bees will have enough stores to get through the leaner months ahead, this could be the right time to give them more space by adding a second brood box.
The basic concept is that you take a portion of an established colony and transfer it to a separate hive thereby creating two colonies. They'll each have sufficient worker bee populations, stores and their own queen.
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There’s always more to learn to grow and deepen your knowledge in beekeeping.