How To Prepare A Hive For Honey Harvest

by Texas Homesteader ~

We have several hives in our small apiary. Here in NE Texas, we typically harvest our honey around the first week of July. It’s hot, sticky work that’s for sure. But there’s much more to getting that honey harvest than just strolling out to the hives.

Beehive - two deeps, one honey super, telescoping cover. There's more to harvesting honey than just walking to the hives. Come see the steps we take before harvesting that sweet honey we crave. #TexasHomesteader

It started with the first warming of spring. Our bees made it just fine through the winter, but periodically we still need to Inspect the Hives to make sure everyone’s healthy and happy.

When the hive is actively growing it’s time to Split The Hives to increase our hive numbers. And we also need to make sure there’s plenty of room for everyone. To keep them from running out of room & swarming away, we often need to Expand The Hive by adding another full box with frames to our splits.

A Space To Make Honey

Soon around April/May it’s time to Add A Honey Super Box to the hive. This gives the bees a nice clean box to start making extra honey. Sometimes if it’s a good spring we even add a second box to the hive. Yea!

But now it’s nearing the first week in July, so we make preparations for the harvest.

Preparing The Honey Supers For Harvest

We need a way to allow all the worker bees to exit the honey super, but not allow them back in. We’ll do this by installing a small *‘bee escape’ in the open section in the middle of each hive’s inner cover.

Using a bee escape before honey harvest. There's more to harvesting honey than just walking to the hives. Come see the steps we take before harvesting that sweet honey we crave. #TexasHomesteader

So about 3 days before harvest we go to the hives and remove the telescoping lid and inner cover. We install a bee escape in each inner cover. Then RancherMan lifts the honey super box and I slide that inner lid outfitted with a bee escape beneath that box.

NOTE: If your inner cover has an escape notch in it, make sure that notch is on the bottom side of that lid and away from the honey super box to prevent them from re-entering the honey super that way.

Then we put the telescoping cover back on top of the hive, sitting directly on top of the honey super box. This allows the worker bees that are currently in that box to exit gradually via the bee escape but gives them no way back into the honey super box.

Honey Harvest Day

On honey harvest day we take the truck to the hives, bringing along with us with a piece of plywood to set honey boxes on, an empty box to put frames into, a bee brush, our smoker and a small container to hold the removed bee escapes.

There's more to harvesting honey than just walking to the hives. Come see the steps we take before harvesting that sweet honey we crave. #TexasHomesteader

We open each honey super & remove a single frame. As we walk it toward the truck we’re using the bee brush to gently remove any bees remaining on the frames. (There are nearly always a few remaining bees in that box when we open it up.) We place each frame into the empty box & replace the lid so bees can’t get in.

We repeat this step with each frame until the honey super box on top of the hive is empty. We’ll bring the now-empty box & use it to hold the next batch of honey frames. We’ll repeat  this process with each hive until all honey frames are in the truck bed. Then we bring them all to the house.

Now comes the process of removing the honey from the frames. I’ll write about that this week – stay tuned!

(Note:  When I have extra beeswax I’ll often sell it on my Online Store.  Anything purchased from our online store helps support this blog.  So thank you!

~TxH~

Links Included In This Post:

Inspecting Your Beehives
How To Split A Hive
*Bee Escape Device
Expanding The Beehive Helps Prevent Swarms
Adding A Honey Super Box To Your Hive
Processing Beeswax

BEEKEEPING SERIES:

…And MUCH More!

See All Our Beekeeping Posts

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2 thoughts on “How To Prepare A Hive For Honey Harvest

  1. Laurinda

    Thank you for sharing all these steps with us! I don’t live where I can have bees, or any farm animals, yet. But I’m hoping to get there eventually, & I like getting a basic idea of what I can look forward to

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It’s my pleasure to share what I know (so far) about beekeeping. There’s always more to learn! And each beekeeper will do things a little differently based on their circumstances. But it’s so helpful to read how others do it so you can follow the path that works best for you. Thanks for being a valuable follower here on our little ole blog – your sweet comments are always so appreciated! ~TxH~

      Reply

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