Live Bees for 2020 now available, click HERE to view

Harvesting Honey- It's the end of the main flow

August 24, 2019

Harvesting Honey- It's the end of the main flow

We have to be prepared for anything as beekeepers, and this summer proved to be an unusual and hard summer for beekeeping in Alberta. In Edmonton, we experienced a late start to the main flow, but when it came -it was fast.

August has created conditions for unusual swarming. Although not typical, the weather fluctuations and rain caused many hives to swarm late in the season. Social media was flooded with calls to catch swarms daily. 

Although there were many ups and downs, most people have harvested honey or are doing so right now. 

One of the most common questions we get is, when should I take my honey?

Everyone’s hives are at different points, and the answer to the question depends on what you are seeing. The main flow in Edmonton starred July 11, north and west of the City it started in late June. In our area the honey flow is coming to an end. See our video on harvesting honey.

Tips on when to take honey:

Is it nearing the end of the main flow in your area? Are most of the blooms done? If so, it’s time to take the honey. In the summer we get a nectar flow--Canola, alfalfa and sweet clover. For the fall, we are heading into pollen bearing flowers such as borage, golden rod and sunflowers. Check out our auto flow hive and honey comb video.

  • If your frame is 2/3 capped, you can harvest the honey. Why? Because in Alberta honey dehydrates faster than the bees can cap the honey. And, the bees use a lot of honey to cap the honey, so you can take it at this point.
  • Auto flow hive: If you see the honey is capped in the side windows and honey filling the back window, you can start turning your key to open the flow of honey.
  • Tip: Having spills? Don’t worry about it too much. The bees will come and clean it up for you.

How much honey can you take?

This depends on your setup and how you plan to overwinter. 

  • Typically you leave the bottom two boxes for the winter and take honey from the third box and up. 
  • You need to leave enough honey for the bees to overwinter outside. Your hive needs a minimum weight of 140-150 lbs (approximately 2 boxes). This includes all of the material, bees and honey. The bees need these honey stores to survive the winter months. 
  • Tip: Make sure your queen is in the bottom box and place your excluder on after you take your honey.

So we are now quickly coming to fall prep. We did our supers, most of you have already harvested honey, and now it’s prepping for the fall. Make sure your queen is in the bottom box when you are finished with harvesting honey. Now we have to move along and think about things like checking our mite levels and being prepared for fall critters that can wreak havoc on our hives too. See our video with tips on reducing entrances for robbing wasps.  If you have been doing varroa mite checks, good for you! If you haven’t yet, you should plan to check your mite level this fall. Stay tuned for fall prep tips! 

Have questions? We love hearing from you! Visit our Edmonton store for advice and the supplies you need this fall or shop online www.hiveworld.ca. Are you ready with entrance reducers and mouse guards?




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Education

What To Do If Your Hive Is Dead Before Spring
What To Do If Your Hive Is Dead Before Spring

February 10, 2020 1 Comment

What should you do if your bees have died? First thing you should do is look at your hive and see if you can detect any moisture, disease or anything else that may have caused your colonies demise. Do your best to take any samples you need, photos and get a second opinion from a fellow beekeeper, mentor or us!

Continue Reading

Why You Should Take A Beekeeping Course
Why You Should Take A Beekeeping Course

January 16, 2020

Beekeeping can be a fun and rewarding hobby or business, but to start out, you need the knowledge to do it well. We recommend that everyone takes a beekeeping course, and in some cities you are required to take one. Read our blog to learn the benefits of beekeeping courses.

Continue Reading

A Look Back At The 2019 Beekeeping Season
A Look Back At The 2019 Beekeeping Season

December 31, 2019 2 Comments

The 2019 beekeeping season was a rough one for many. The weather was extremely cold for overwintering, which was hard on the hives. The 2019 spring brought more cool and wet weather that gave the bees very few good flying days and limited blooms.

Continue Reading