Comb Honey Production

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Jimmy 

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I'm very tempted to try producing comb honey next year from my main summer flow after moderate success going to the heather this year.
For the last two years the peak flow has been around the last 2 weeks of June and into early July, so it's well after the winter OSR has finished. Spring sown OSR is not an issue. The main flow forage is clover and bramble.
The manley frames and ross section rack are both primed and ready to go in the garage.

I know that I need a strong colony and a good flow to produce good comb honey.

I've read Richard Taylor's Comb Honey and would appreciate some advice/guidance on whether any of his methods are applicable in the UK. His methods are always with the caveat that it's different in the UK.

The relevant techniques would be:
1. running a double queen hive
where two colonies are combined into a single brood chamber with the two queens separated internally.

2. doing a shook swarm into a super.
where you shook swarm a strong colony onto a super of foundation only, then a QE with the comb supers above. Afterharvesting the comb honey, the super below the QE is then used as the 'half' to run brood and a half through the winter.


Any thoughts greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

Poly Hive 

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Ah yes the siren song of Mr Taylor.

I will admit to reading him some years ago, and in fact still have the book, and I can remember my head filled with dreams of super upon super of beautiful comb honey.

I was rapidly disabused of the validity of what he proposes.

Do play with two colony systems if you like but do expect to lose one.

How do I do it then. Well sorry to say by not being very exotic.

I build up my colony until they are on some 9 frames of brood and add a super of foundation in Manley Frames.

I then add a 2nd when the first is well on.

Yes there is a risk of pushing them to swarming but as I incorporate in crease into my system that is not an issue.

The other way to do it is to run half of your supers as CC. Intermingled with your drawn comb, DC/CC/DC/CC and so on.

Oh and over the years I have proved to my satisfaction that bees do comb better in poly supers than wooden ones.

KISS

PH
 

Chris B 

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Hi Jimmy,
I can't see anything wrong with your suggestions except they sound a bit of a fiddle, especially the 2 queen system. Why not simply boost a good colony with emerging brood just before the flow you're after?
 

Jimmy 

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Thanks both.

I'd like to plead guilty as charged with the offence of unnecessary interfering with the bees and would ask m'learned friends on the bench to take several other occasions into account.:eek:

The CC/DC alternation sounds good but I don't have poly supers - if I put my DC frames on the outside would this avoid some of the problems with wooden supers?

Is OSR comb honey a definite no-no?
 

Poly Hive 

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I attended a lecture by Clive De Bruyn, at I think it was the Steele and Brodie open day and he was saying, this is 1990 odds that OSR comb honey was perfectly acceptable to the consumer, the person who had in issue with it is the beekeeper.

I have sold a lot of granulated OSR comb, I ONLY sell comb these days and have experience no consumer resistance.

PH
 

Poly Hive 

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If you are serious about producing comb honey then the expense of buying a couple of new supers is surely an investment to set off against the enhanced value of your produce?

PH
 

Jimmy 

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If you are serious about producing comb honey then the expense of buying a couple of new supers is surely an investment to set off against the enhanced value of your produce?

PH
I'll add them to the Stoneleigh wish list.
 

Poly Hive 

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If you say you get (for the sake of argument) some 30lb from a Nat sup, and sell it at £4, minus label and Jar you are roughly looking at what £3+ per pound.

From the same super you achieve 30lbs of cut comb at £4-75 per 8oz.... I think you will find the cash to buy your supers. :) Trust me here it makes a difference.

PH
 

Poly Hive 

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Mr Taylor operated in New York State I believe and from the web this is the climate he had to work with.

"Winter temperatures are moderated considerably in the Great Lakes Plain of western New York. The moderating influence of Lakes Erie and Ontario is comparable to that produced by the Atlantic Ocean in the southern portion of the Hudson Valley. In both regions, the coldest temperature in most winters will range between 0° and -10°. Long Island and New York City experience below zero minimums in 2 or 3 winters out of 10, with the low temperature generally near -5°.

The summer climate is cool in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and higher elevations of the Southern Plateau. The New York City area and lower portions of the Hudson Valley have rather warm summers by comparison, with some periods of high, uncomfortable humidity. The remainder of New York State enjoys pleasantly warm summers, marred by only occasional, brief intervals of sultry conditions. Summer daytime temperatures usually range from the upper 70s to mid 80s over much of the State, producing an atmospheric environment favorable to many athletic, recreational, and other outdoor activities.

Temperatures of 90° or higher occur from late May to mid-September in all but the normally cooler portions of the state. The New York City area and most of the Hudson Valley record an average of from 18 to 25 days with such temperatures during the warm season, but in the Northern and Southern Plateaus the normal quota does not exceed 2 or 3 days. While temperatures of 100° are rare, many long-term weather stations, especially in the southern one-half of the State, have recorded maximums in the 100° to 105° range on one or more occasions. Minimum, or nighttime, temperatures drop to the 40s and upper 30s with some frequency during the summer season in the interior portions of the Plateau Divisions. It is not uncommon for temperatures to approach the freezing level in the Adirondacks and Southern Plateau during June and the latter half of August, but rarely in July."

I wish.

PH
 

Poly Hive 

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Manley for Depth and I get 9 to a National and 8 to Langstroth.

36 pieces of CC per super, full super Nat that is.

PH
 

Hivemaker. 

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I use shallow frame, 10 spacing for cc,gives correct thickness for comb to fit half pound plastic containers,full super gives 50 cut combs...and the strip of comb left along the bottom of the frame is either pressed,or put into jars with clear honey...chunk honey...the comb is generally heather.
 

Poly Hive 

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In general I will just add this.

If you are brave enough to want to get cut comb from wired foundation then good luck.

Having been down the route of pump and tank and whisky honey and all the foll de roll that goes with it all then reducing to the container, the template and the knife has a certain delight to it.

However producing comb honey is not the easiest of beekeeping challenges. ;)

PH
 

Petewhite 

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Yes there is a risk of pushing them to swarming but as I incorporate in crease into my system that is not an issue.

The other way to do it is to run half of your supers as CC. Intermingled with your drawn comb, DC/CC/DC/CC and so on.


Hi, for te benefit of a newbeek, could you clarify what is meant by 'crease' and CC/DC?
 

Poly Hive 

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Typo, space between in crease= increase?

DC... Drawn Comb. CC.... Cut comb.

PH
 
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