Week Six – Harvesting Honey from Your Bee Hive


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How to harvest your honey from your bee hives is described in this slide show -- how to remove your bees from the honey boxes (supers) - how to extract the honey and what to do with the extracted (wet) honey frames after extraction

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Week Six – Harvesting Honey from Your Bee Hive

  1. 1. Week Six – Harvesting Your Honey Dara K. Dimitrov dkd4@waikato.ac.nz
  2. 2. Honey, Honey Flow …. And when it stops  Honey flow – it is the magic state of the bees collecting honey and pollen  the weather begins to improve – lots of blossoms begin to appear (Spring time)  Bees begin bringing in pollen  The Queen is at her peak of egg laying – and the bee population in the hive grows very quickly  The nectar in the flowers is high – and the honey flow has begun
  3. 3. Honey Flow……  If it is a sunny spring with a few showers - -- the hives will thrive  If it is a really wet spring – the flowering doesn’t happen properly – and the hives are stalled and the honey season may be diminished  The spring sees the hives get really busy with activity – bees shooting out the hive, increasing numbers – you will see drones emerging from the hive
  4. 4. Honey flow…..  The honey flow will continue over the summer months  The Queen’s laying will slow a little bit  Hot and Humid nights – you should see bees cooling themselves on the outside of the hive  Now is the time you will start putting on Honey Super’s (Honey boxes)
  5. 5. Honey Flow ….  Inspections of the hive should be occurring weekly to every other week  Keep an eye on the health of the hive  Adding more honey supers when they are needed
  6. 6. Honey Flow …..  Honey frames that are full and capped are heavy  Each frame can weigh as much as 3 kilos  A Honey Super box can weigh as much 35 – 40 kilos  A good reason to use ¾ boxes for honey boxes Remember you should leave enough honey on the hives to feed them over the winter – to reduce any sugar feeding
  7. 7. When to collect the honey  You should be harvesting the honey from frames where  Honey is cured and capped  The honey flow is almost over – and the bees have filled the honey frames –  Capped Honey cells are capped with wax and ready to extract  Open cells (so not capped with wax) can only be extracted if it is cured  You give the frame a shake – if the honey leaks from the cells – it is not honey – the water content is too high and will ferment and spoil
  8. 8. Honey Harvesting  YOU MUST REMOVE THE BEES FROM THE HONEY SUPERS BEFORE YOU TAKE THE HONEY BOXES OFF  There are a number of ways to remove the bees  It depends on the number of hives you have  How much time you have
  9. 9. How to remove the bees  1. Shaking the bees off  2. Blowing the bees out  3. Using a Bee escape board
  10. 10. Shaking the bees out  You remove each frame from the honey super  You shake the frame gently to begin with  You can brush the bees off as well  Have to use this method if you have a top bar hive  This is a good method if you have one or two hives and you want to harvest a box at a time
  11. 11. Blowing the bees out  They hate this method (I am sure they do!)  You take the honey super off the hive  Place it onto a frame-stand with a space under it – happens away from the hive  Using a blower (you can buy a special one or just use a leaf blower)  You give them a 200 km per hour blast – and the bees are blasted off the honey frame It works very quickly – and the bees are removed – but they are very irritated and upset - Most Commercial beekeepers use this method
  12. 12. Bee Escape Boards  An easy method  Less invasive -- better for the bees  You place the escape board between the honey supers and the rest of the hive (honey boxes above the board)  The bees travel down to the brood boxes – but can’t travel back up into the honey boxes  It’s a one-way trip – you leave the escape board on for a few days before you collect the honey  Takes more time and therefore you need to plan for this
  13. 13. Extracting the honey  You need  An extractor – otherwise it is draining through a sieve  A filter to drain off all the other bits in the honey  Big buckets (at least 30 kilos a box in a good season)  An Hot Knife to uncap the honey frames with Make sure that everything is absolutely clean
  14. 14. Extracting the Honey  If you join the Waikato Domestic Bee Association – you can hire the honey extractor for $10 and the hot knife for free  You have to ‘uncap the honey’ by removing the cappings  A hot knife cuts off the cappings  Keep the cappings to drain for honey
  15. 15. Extractor and the honey frame  Spin the frames in the extractor
  16. 16. Tutin Toxic Honey  Bees feed on Tutu – which is native to NZ  Tutu is found in the bush – close to waterways and regenerating bush  Not commonly found in urban areas  Tutin is a neurotoxin for humans but not for bees
  17. 17. Tutin Toxic Honey  If there is tutu bushes near your hives (take a walk and check)  High numbers of vine hoppers (monitor this)  Hot dry weather and little rain (like the current weather we have had)  Then you are recommended to test your honey for tutin  You should avoid harvesting honey from the middle of Dec to the end of March if you live in a high risk area
  18. 18. A quick video on tutin  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedd ed&v=bWXQ6YJU_U4
  19. 19. Semi Commercial Bee Keeping  Places to put the hives  Sourcing the bees  Capital investment required  50 hives – approximately$10,000  Time involved in bee keeping  Generating an income
  20. 20. Set Up and Generating an Income  Revenue streams  Selling the honey  Selling the Propolis  Pollination  Selling the bees overseas
  21. 21. Guest Speakers Tim and William Stewart Silver Fern Honey NZ