2017 Honey

Mini Horses

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DD put in a hive this Spring -- after 15 yrs out of it -- and they are doing very well. She doesn't expect any honey collection this year as they need winter reserves. But with all the rain and farming around here, who knows. She may get a couple pints. It's a wait and see situation.
 

soarwitheagles

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Has anyone extracted yet? How did your honey harvest come out? I'm looking to extract in the beginning of August.
Hi Happy!

We have had a non-stop flow since Feb. So yes, we are harvesting honey for the very first time ever.

We have many supers completely filled with honey...so that is 60-70 lbs per super. We do not have an extractor, so we simply scrape the frames with a honey knife and place the frames back in the hives for clean up and refill.

How much? Not sure...have not kept track, but I would estimate a few gallons for sure. Recently, we have been pulling frame after frame of honey and placing two at a time in nucs along with a frame of eggs and two frames of brood [five frame nucs].

According to the season, the honey appears and tastes different...

Feb - wild mustard and the honey was nearly translucent and very light.
Mar-Apr - wild flowers...honey was darker.
Apr-May Eucalyptus honey darker and different tastes.
May-June - Clover from nearby farmers and blackberry everywhere...honey becomes lighter again.
July-Aug - Star-thistle honey really dark and much stronger taste.

So that is our honey story!
 

Happy Chooks

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In my experience, blackberry is very dark and star thistle is very light. Maybe your bees were moving it around?

I can't wait to start extracting! I need to check on them this week. Privet is still in bloom here, and the star thistle is just beginning.
 

soarwitheagles

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In my experience, blackberry is very dark and star thistle is very light. Maybe your bees were moving it around?

I can't wait to start extracting! I need to check on them this week. Privet is still in bloom here, and the star thistle is just beginning.
So sorry Happy C!

I am still very, very new to beekeeping and after reading your post, I think I must have confused the honey/plant description. In fact, I think I totally left out Blackberry even though we have tons of it in our vicinity!

Yes, very dark honey came in during the last two months...recently, the honey has in fact, been super light [discovered this in one of our newly captured swarms that had built massive burr comb with honey in the last few weeks...

So, thanks for the correction.

Now my concern is we may be entering a dearth. I see the star thistle, but nearly all the local clover fields have stopped producing clover flowers except for mine own here.

We have begun the monitor the honey levels much more carefully...
 

babsbag

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There is almost nothing but star thistle in bloom where I live. Tar weed will be along soon but there isn't much of it. I keep thinking I would like to find a late summer/fall bush or flower and grow a few acres of it just for the bees. Of course there is no water available, or at least not yet. I have about 2 acres of seasonal stream bed that the goats can't graze and I am thinking of planting Coyote Bush. I would love to turn that 2 acres into bee habitat with many late blooming plants. Next year I intend to plant a lot of sunflowers and zinnias, they both bloom late.
 

soarwitheagles

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Hey babs,

I am not sure what is best for your area and soil type. As mentioned before, I invited the UC Davis Ag people out, and they were super happy to check our place out and give us good advice. I did not follow their advice perfectly [example: they said 15% clover, whereas I planted nearly 70% clover].

I can say this: since we began to either mow our perennial grass/clover pasture or let the sheep graze it, we have had a literal non-stop super strong bloom of clover flowers since May. So that is three solid months of non-stop, bee pleasing clover blooms [I know the bees like it because they are all over it every single day]. If we mow it or let the sheep graze on it, there are still clover flowers left over, and within 2-4 days, so many flowers it is impossible to count all of them.

I hope you can make it work there for you and your animals and bees!
 

Happy Chooks

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Checked on mine, and found a bit of brood in the bottom of a couple of frames in the super. They have been busy moving honey around, and are currently refilling the super, which is a couple of frames short of full. I may just have to extract some and put it back for refilling. We'll see how they are doing next week.

Privet and star thistle are in bloom now, so they have that.

Babs - have you considered rosemary? The bees love it, and it usually blooms here after everything else is done.
 
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