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Phil46

tips on harvesting honey

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Morena whanau,

So im planning on harvesting an apiary with 20 hives this weekend and Ive never done more than a few at any one time.There is 40 honey supers to remove ,so im looking at how best to go about this with the least amount of damage ( robbing )?

Bees will be blown out as I have not yet purchased escape boards.My thinking is(per hive),remove honey supers,tip on end and blow out each in front of their hive,then stack on ground in front of hive and cover with board or sack ,carry out brood/disease inspection and then add staples,remove excluder and reassemble hive.Do this with all hives and when finished....come along with my wheel trolley and locate all honey supers to trailer.Stack  and cover with tarp.Strap down and home james.

To all you experienced harvesters,does this sound like a doable plan? what am i missing? what could I add? 

 

 

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I think you are setting up for robbing.  Removing the supers and then blowing the bees and then checking the hives is going to take a long time.

I disease check my hives one day and sort my (full) honey supers are on top and fit bee escapes. (I know you don't have them).

Then I go back 48 hours later and lift off the honey supers.  No flying/disturbed bees.

I then extract the honey and return the wets and remove the escape boards.

 

Bees hate blowing and I avoid that at all costs.

 

To each their own.

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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I WOULD BLOW the bees place the blown boxes on trailer with covers on top and bottom then inspect but do not do the next one untill you are sure there is no afb in the hive just blown

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2 hours ago, Phil46 said:

Morena whanau,

So im planning on harvesting an apiary with 20 hives this weekend and Ive never done more than a few at any one time.There is 40 honey supers to remove ,so im looking at how best to go about this with the least amount of damage ( robbing )?

Bees will be blown out as I have not yet purchased escape boards.My thinking is(per hive),remove honey supers,tip on end and blow out each in front of their hive,then stack on ground in front of hive and cover with board or sack ,carry out brood/disease inspection and then add staples,remove excluder and reassemble hive.Do this with all hives and when finished....come along with my wheel trolley and locate all honey supers to trailer.Stack  and cover with tarp.Strap down and home james.

To all you experienced harvesters,does this sound like a doable plan? what am i missing? what could I add? 

 

 

 

Heh Phil,

 

OK so we start in the middle hive and work to one end.  We then go to the far end and work back to the middle hive.  That's helps with robbing.

 

Take honey box off, place a damp hessian sack over the top of the hive immediately - maybe more boxes to harvest and we also do varroa/Queen check at the same time.  The hessian sack seals it better then lids.

 

Take the honey box and put it on top of a "stack":

-  One box at the bottom with empty comb in it,

-  One empty box in the middle,

-  One more empty box - but with a couple of narrow pieces of wood running through the middle - as the honey box sites on top of this box and we want to turn it around so don't want it falling through.

 

This setup is somewhere between the hives and the trailer.

 

Take the honey box and try and push frames around a bit so the frames are well spaced so bees will blow out.

 

Then,

-  Blow bees off the top of frames - try and blow away from the hives

-  Blow bees down into the stack of boxes - they usually end up in the drawn frames in the bottom,  This is the major blow.  Wiggle frames around blow and blow again.

-  Tip box on its end - blow bees off the bottom of the frames - try and blow away from the hives,

-  Keep blowing and push the bottom of the frames from side to side to get at any bees left.

 

Then, cleared box goes straight onto a trailer and a hive lid goes on it.  Over the top of all of the honey boxes is netting.

 

When another honey box is done / cleared take the lid off the previous honey box, put the new cleared honey box on, and lid back on, netting over the top.

 

There will be boxes in various states eg four frames of fd honey, these get left on the ground in a box with a hessian sack over the top of them.  

 

As we go we are trying to get a full box of honey ie 8 frames minimum sometimes nine into a box - as we pay for extraction per box.  That's where a half complete box like the one I just mentioned above come in handy - just whip out a frame and put it into a mostly full box.

 

With the stack, when the bottom box with comb has plenty of bees in it pick it up and the box above and take it 30ish metres away and dump all the bees there.  Then set the stack up again.  What happens is when the are plenty of bees in the bottom they start crawling up the sides and into the honey box you are clearing, so best to just empty them out from time to time.

 

Robbing and heat are the two biggest issues.....if you are going through and doing the full service with looking at hives and brood etc, juggling frames, blowing them out, etc, it would be a real struggle to get through it in a day by yourself.  Lots of wai needed.

 

This is how we do it.  I wouldn't have a clue about how others do it, but this is what works for us.   Oh make sure you have spare petrol and oil for the blower - it rips through the fuel.  Real bummer being in the wop wops part way through harvesting and the fuel running out.

 

Oh yeh finish one hive at a time, remove all honey, do checks eg AFB, then close it up.  You may need extra boxes on hand to go on top or the could be too jammed into the bottom box - so take them if you have them.

 

Not much to it !!!  :-))

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by CraBee
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As per @Trevor Gillbanks except that we use Beequik to clear our boxes.  We too have tried blowing and believe it to be a recipe for robbing.

 

We check for AFB one day and sort frames so that there are the correct number per box and they are all capped as per our supplier agreement.

 

The following day, we remove all the supers from two hives and stack them beside them, as you would for a normal hive check. We place an empty super on each hive, and then place one full super on top and add the fume boards. The bees move down in to the empty super and the brood boxes below. (We have two fume boards on the go at a time, so that we can remove a box from one hive and then one from another, if that makes sense.) As the cleared supers are stacked on the trailer, they are covered with a slightly damp drop cloth. (We are not sure why but we have found that wetting the cloth seems to reduce the number of bees that try to get into the supers on the trailer.)

Once all the full supers are removed, we back fill the empty super with any uncapped/partially filled frames or foundation frames.

 

You don't have to have a fume board, at a pinch we have just used a piece of sacking cut to size and sprayed with Beequik and laid on top of the Super you want cleared. 

The bees move quietly down into their respective hives and stay calm, albeit that a lot will end up out the front of the hive due to general congestion. 

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We would go in the day before harvest, inspect for disease . Treatments in, all honey ready for harvest sorted and in the top box/box's .

Next day come back with blower blow supers out in front of each hive keep everything covered as much as possible. 

If you still have a flow u won't have robbing 

Edited by frazzledfozzle
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Interesting hearing all the various techniques... 

we use blowers for summer honey, built for ourselves using hitachi blowers built into a plybox with shoulder straps and vacuum cleaner pipe.. Like a ghost buster. 

48 hives per site on pallets, team of 5,  afb full shakedown, treat, stack supers beside colony on a mat with mat on top.. once 10 of the 12 pallets are worked a couple guys begin prepping the deck, mats on empty pallets, mini strop threaded under.. pull out the wee generator and blowers, we have small alloy blower stands which we sit at each end of the pallet, by then all quads have been worked, 2 guys/ gals chuck the blowers on their back and the others stack boxes onto the stand. 

The blower human lifts out one frame then runs the blower Ofer each frame side, good technique with the hive tool clears a lot of bees as each frame gets shifted along one space.. once blown the frame gets put back in, blower walks to other end of pallet to blow while the other human picks the blown box up and gives it a whack on the stand to clear bees then chucks on the pallet. 

Very quick. Works like a very well oiled machine. 

Autumn dew we use escapes but will blow if urgency is needed. 

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Our method of blowing is basically the same take one frame out and move each frame along while blowing the gap.

I think there's a difference harvesting honey with only one or two people rather than a team. If only one or two it takes too long to brood check and treat before or after blowing meaning you are much more likely to set up a robbing frenzy .

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We do same as Frazzlefozzel above, inspect, reduce entrances and put treatments in 1 day, come back the next and blow bees. Don’t seem to have an issue with robbing. We blow the box, immediately stack on pallet on truck and use spare hive lids to cover supers on the truck.

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If the hives are on a good honey flow they won't rob. I endeavour but don't always manage to get the main crop off the hives before the flow ends and if They arestill getting a flow I put one honey super back on which makes it a lot faster at the end of the season and less chance of robbing. I do a quick brood check on every hive as I go. Especially for beginners I suggest you mark Each box on the hive within individual hive number. You can do this with a crayon and if no diseases found you can then ignore it. I have only ever helped blow boxes  a couple of times in my life so I can't really comment on blowers but whatever you do I don't recommend double handling if it can be avoided.

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9 hours ago, Phil46 said:

Morena whanau,

So im planning on harvesting an apiary with 20 hives this weekend and Ive never done more than a few at any one time.There is 40 honey supers to remove ,so im looking at how best to go about this with the least amount of damage ( robbing )?

Bees will be blown out as I have not yet purchased escape boards.My thinking is(per hive),remove honey supers,tip on end and blow out each in front of their hive,then stack on ground in front of hive and cover with board or sack ,carry out brood/disease inspection and then add staples,remove excluder and reassemble hive.Do this with all hives and when finished....come along with my wheel trolley and locate all honey supers to trailer.Stack  and cover with tarp.Strap down and home james.

To all you experienced harvesters,does this sound like a doable plan? what am i missing? what could I add? 

 

 

 

do not do that.

 

single most important thing is to do your disease check before any blowing or moving boxes away from the hive. AFB 101.

 

i doubt you will have robbing this time of year unless wet weather ha stopped flow.

however the key to avoiding robbing is simply sheer speed. the longer your around the more worked up they will get. this is where extra people come in handy.

 

so take apart the hive as per normal, inspect, do any brood work, treatments etc. then reassemble the hive minus the boxes your taking off.

if you do not have a blower stand a simply way is to put the box on the hive on its end and blow the bees behind the hive. this allows you to spin the box around and blow inbetween frames. much faster than taking frames out. simply blow, stack on trailer and cover. most important cover them well.

 

 don't stack directly in front of hive. as per working a hive normally nothing goes in front of a hive. you don't block a flight path or have a new home for a queen to crawl into.

 

keep it simple and QUICK. a few minutes per hive.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Phil46 said:

Morena whanau,

So im planning on harvesting an apiary with 20 hives this weekend and Ive never done more than a few at any one time.There is 40 honey supers to remove ,so im looking at how best to go about this with the least amount of damage ( robbing )?

Bees will be blown out as I have not yet purchased escape boards.My thinking is(per hive),remove honey supers,tip on end and blow out each in front of their hive,then stack on ground in front of hive and cover with board or sack ,carry out brood/disease inspection and then add staples,remove excluder and reassemble hive.Do this with all hives and when finished....come along with my wheel trolley and locate all honey supers to trailer.Stack  and cover with tarp.Strap down and home james.

To all you experienced harvesters,does this sound like a doable plan? what am i missing? what could I add? 

 

 

Home James ..... and don't spare the horses !

 

Blowing's Ok ..... it's noisy and sweaty as you race the bees to see who can get the honey first, but it gets the job done. What I'd do is number all hives and boxes first. Then blow honey and load on trailer. Then get the trailer way the heckout of it, parked up and covered, several k's away. The go back and disease check. Or disease check first and stack honey back on hives. Then blow. 

The work has to be fast and furious.

 

And don't forget the chilly bin with the cold "orange juice" for as you drive down the track at the end of the day high fiving at mission accomplished.

I always enjoy that part of the day most !

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kia ora mo ena ki nga whakaaro koutou katoa...ka mau te wehi!!

 

Thanks for all your thoughts/info on how to go about this duty.I will bee  staying near the apiary for the whole weekend,so the idea of splitting the duties into two days will  work in well with that.I also have a helper (my babe) who can lift the lids/covers on and off as i place supers onto the trailer.

My hives and boxes are all numbered individually already,so thats a head start....my leaf blower was modified last night and has a new vac hose extension fitted.Plenty of fuel,oil and water and check vehicle/trailer over and dont forget the spare for trailer!! ohh and lots of smoker fuel!!

Ill post up a panui of my adventure next week.

Edited by Phil46
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We use a small petrol compressor and an air duster  attachment. It’s small, light  and I can get into all the corners. And uses a couple of liters for the whole day. Also for us smaller handed beeks I would need two hands for a real blower. Our Process is much like everyone else. Boxes off one  hive at a time. One person is blowing bees out while I afb check. Boxes all numbered back to hive and stacked on truck ASAP. Everything is kept covered up with crown boards unless being handled. Bees are blown back to the front of their hive. I kinda like the idea of blowing them off to the side though. 

 

Edited by nikki watts
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blowing the bees down to their hive entrance is good. they often will just march on in. where as blowing bees into the air will make them more agitated. 

however you really need a blower stand.

 

 

image001.thumb.jpg.fe4a59dd1310dd45963e493d3344f16f.jpg

 

one i made a little while ago.

 

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On 16/01/2019 at 11:25 AM, CraBee said:

When another honey box is done / cleared take the lid off the previous honey box, put the new cleared honey box on, and lid back on, netting over the top.

Have often wondered what sort of netting folk use. Some sort of horticultural/crop protection cloth might do the job?

Don't know how well it would wrap over/around, it would have to be fairly soft fabric I imagine.

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10 hours ago, Ali said:

Have often wondered what sort of netting folk use. Some sort of horticultural/crop protection cloth might do the job?

Don't know how well it would wrap over/around, it would have to be fairly soft fabric I imagine.

Knitted windbreak cloth works and it is very strong and long lasting and can be sewn together

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Thanks @Trevor Gillbanks , yes sewn to shape might be the way to go.

 

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I made up an oversize lazy Susan from ply wood. I stand the box on its end and can spin it top to bottom to get the bees off the bottom of frames and back to top bars for a last little blast. Works a treat. I put this on the hive next to the one I'm working and blow the bees out the front of the hives. I work from behind. The bees just pour back into their hives and I'm left relatively bee free. Robbing is always an issue if harvesting late as you are blowing the scent of honey far and wide for all to smell. Harvest early. Brood check the day or 2 before. Assessments made notes taken what may be needed to be brought back. Queens for example. 

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On 17/01/2019 at 9:52 PM, tristan said:


blowing the bees down to their hive entrance is good. they often will just march on in. where as blowing bees into the air will make them more agitated. 

however you really need a blower stand.

 

 

image001.thumb.jpg.fe4a59dd1310dd45963e493d3344f16f.jpg

 

one i made a little while ago.

 

 

Wow. That’s cool. Do you do the welding yourself and is that alloy?

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I have learned so much from this thread. Thanks to all the contributors and particularly @Phil46 for asking the question. 

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10 hours ago, CHCHPaul said:

 

Wow. That’s cool. Do you do the welding yourself and is that alloy?

yes. i even dragged out the mig which i was a bit rusty with.

the scoop is some scrap aluminum that i tig welded.

design needs a few tweaks. toying with a full aluminum version.

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13 hours ago, tristan said:

yes. i even dragged out the mig which i was a bit rusty with.

the scoop is some scrap aluminum that i tig welded.

design needs a few tweaks. toying with a full aluminum version.

 

Learning to weld properly is on my bucket list! Particularly aluminium welding. Then I can fix the leaks in the boat!

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10 hours ago, CHCHPaul said:

 

Learning to weld properly is on my bucket list! Particularly aluminium welding. Then I can fix the leaks in the boat!

well i'm still learning. i don't find aluminum hard, just a bit different.

there is a great amount of good utube videos with excellent quality arc shots. that really helps a lot.

get stuck in ! :D

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My tip for blowing honey is if you don't think you can sell it, don't blow it.

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