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House Bee
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I've had a poor crop this year, mostly due to problems carrying over from last year, such as supersedure of new queens and thus missing the main flows.

As a result I've got several hives which have supers where only 2 or 3 frames have any honey stored in them, and some frames are only half or a quarter filled. As a result there's probably under 10lbs in total, spread across many frames.

What do people do when all their frames are like this?

Do you still extract what you can?

Do you store the supers 'wet' - if so, how do you keep it?

Or is there some other option?
 

Gaz Fella 

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If you spin "non-ripe" honey and uncap and spin "ripe honey" from the same frame, and you do this to a lot of franes , and there is a lot of "non-ripe" you will end up with a mix which isn't really "honey" ... containing too much water, liable to ferment, and illegal to sell as honey.

Try spinning your frames at a low-ish speed WITHOUT uncapping ... gets out the "non-honey", which you can collect, eat, feed to bees, make mead out of ... whatver you fancy.
THEN uncap the frame, and extract in the usual fashion, to get legitimate honey

works well.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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That amount is not worth messing with.

sort it all out to concentrate up and then place above a hive that needs some feed.

Spaced off from the crown board with an empty supper they should take it down to the main brood hive as stores/consume if they need it.
 

oliver90owner 

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If there is only 'about 4-5kg of marginal quality honey on several (you mean 3, don't you? per profile) that means no crop to me.

You could spin the odds and ends and feed it back to the strongest hive, with the fullest frames in place, and hope they actually fill and cap (or near to capping) in two or three frames and take that.

Frankly, I would not bother with a crop, if you are intending giving up on any more honey yield. Don't know how your season is up there or what there might be left of it but looks like they need as much help as possible for the winter and those few stores need to be bolstered, not raided.

I am still hoping there will be a late warm spell down here in southest Lincolnshire. The bees are laying steadily and stocks have increased this last week on the two hives I split last week (one is queenless and the other queenright, in adjacent boxes located in a fairly rural setting about 1/2km from a small village). This is despite this week's weather being not exactly convivial to the bees.

You are going to tell us you increased colony numbers as well as expecting a honey crop? Superceding might mean a poor queen previously, but she should still have been laying while the virgin mated and came into lay. If you have increased, it sounds like you may be uniting some for the winter? Or tell us why 3 hives means several?

Regards, RAB
 

Gaz Fella 

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well, I beg to disagree re "worth the bother". I got 93lbs of honey out of 7 less-than-ideally-filled supers last year, using the method I mentioned, with excellent results on the refractometer. OK - poor for any commercial effort, but better than nothing for the desperate small beekeeper, and a helluva lot more bottled honey than many fellow beekeepers up here last year!
 

Onge 

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Good little tip there Gaz Fella

I got some partial frames to go (luckily i got a most off mid july fully capped).
 

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Firstly I'll set out the situation with my hives, which will hopefully give a better idea as to why my yield has been so low. 'Several' does just mean 3 - its a lot of hives to me :)

I started the year with 2 colonies, hive 1 I swarmed (pagden) mid June. The 'old queen' in the swarm has been the best colony, with maybe 5 frames worth in the supers, and happy healthy bees.

However the new virgin queen took 5 weeks to mate, probably due to a lot of rain and cold weather. She eventually started laying well, but when I checked last week they'd started superseding her.

Hive 2 never really got going, and they superseded their queen again mid July, and (as I expected) they were queenless last week.

I'm going to merge together the two 'poor' colonies and hope for the best. I'm not holding out much hope that it will get through the winter, but we'll see. They all have a lot of stores in them, so hopefully they won't need much feeding. Its more a question of whether the new supersedure queen makes it through the winter...

As to the supers, the general advice seems that most folk wouldn't bother going through the hassle of extracting such a small amount. Getting the bees to take it down as stores for the winter seems the best option - I didn't know the trick of putting an empty super between it and the brood box - I'll give this a go once they start to slow down bringing in stores towards the end of this month.

I'm hoping they might have a few weeks of production left in which they fill up the rest of the supers, but that all depends on the weather...
 
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Floss 

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I am in a similar situation Match . Thanks Gaz fella - I thought I was going to have to buy some honey (get through lots) - it would be nice to have a few jars but don't want to deprive my hardworking bees.
Seem to be bringing in a fair bit though, esp my swarm- lots of beans and evening primrose about but I think they are bringing in a lot of balsam from the river. Also bright red pollen which I can't identify.
I wish to remain optimistic like RAB for a fine end to the summer!
Floss
 

oliver90owner 

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Gaz Fella,

well, I beg to disagree re "worth the bother".

James was, I think, referring to the small amount - less than 10 lbs was stated for everything (mature enough and not-so-ripe).

Over ten times that amount of good non-fermenting honey is not in the same league - it's like the the first division and non-league in the old football ratings!

If a large spinner is involved there could be more left in the bottom and on the side wall than collected.

Not saying it is not a good tip, it is; it's just the small amounts involved.

Regards, RAB
 

Gaz Fella 

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Ah So!
Fair cop, guv!
I thought he meant 10lb-spread-across-many-frames-per-super
Rather than 10lb spread across [say] 30 frames[or more], which I didn't think one would be able to quantify anyway .. after all, 3lb per super would be [say] only 2"x3" of capped honey per side of super frame.
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Ah So!
Fair cop, guv!
I thought he meant 10lb-spread-across-many-frames-per-super
Rather than 10lb spread across [say] 30 frames[or more], which I didn't think one would be able to quantify anyway .. after all, 3lb per super would be [say] only 2"x3" of capped honey per side of super frame.
Gaz Fella,

well, I beg to disagree re "worth the bother".

James was, I think, referring to the small amount - less than 10 lbs was stated for everything (mature enough and not-so-ripe).


If a large spinner is involved there could be more left in the bottom and on the side wall than collected.

Not saying it is not a good tip, it is; it's just the small amounts involved.

Regards, RAB

Yes that is how I read it hence not worth the bother of getting the spinner out to clean off more than you would jar off.
 

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