Determination of Harvest Season and Honey Harvesting/Extracting

Honey harvesting takes place 45-50 days after the spring inspection of the hives in some regions, and in August or September in some regions. Harvesting should be done after the frames are full and the honey is well ripened. Normally honey is taken from the hive when it is glazed. In fact, honey that is not glazed is considered immature. This honey deteriorates quickly as there will be too much water in them. Honey to be harvested must be at least 2/3 or 1/3 glazed. Taking glazed, ripe honey without keeping it in the hive has the following benefits:

  • Honey harvested in the hot season is easily filtered.
  • There will be enough frames.
  • There is no danger of plunder.

While taking honey, first, light smoke is given to the beehive hole one or two times, then the cover and cover boards are removed. Smoke is given from the top, then the frames are taken one by one from the honeycomb, the bees on it are suddenly shaken, and the remaining bees are cleaned with a beekeeper brush. These works are done very quickly but blandly, without moving hard, in the twilight of the evening or in the early morning. If it is noticed that the queen bee is on the frame while extracting the honey, it is carefully put back into the hive and it is paid attention that there are no offspring in the extracted frames, even a small amount. In this way, while the frames are removed from the beehive, on one hand, the bees are directed to the hatchery and smoke is provided.

Since there is no possibility of shaking the natural combs cut while removing the honey from the old type hives, the bees on the honeycomb are swept with a broom in the water located near the hive and the bees remain in the water until the work is finished. Later, these bees are filtered into sieves or colander and left in the sun. Bees drying in the sun go back to their old hives.

Honey Filtering and Resting After Harvesting

Fully glazed and white ones from honey frames removed from the hive are removed from their glazes with glaze knives or glaze combs to be sold as honey with honeycombs. These works are done in a closed place, which must be in the apiary. If mobile beekeeping is carried out, the filtering is done in the tent. The honeycombs, whose glazes are taken, are put into the honey filter machine with their frames, and when the machine operates, the honey will be thrown out of the honeycomb eyes by centrifugal force. The drained honey is collected at the bottom of the filtering machine, then it is filled to the cans by draining from the filter in front of it by opening the tap.

For the honey to drain easily, if the weather is cold in the season, the honey draining place should be heated around 30 degrees. The drained honey is taken into the resting containers, and if necessary, a blend is made. The air bubbles in the honey, which remain in the resting containers for about 48 hours, come to the face of the honey together with other crumbs as foam. These are taken with a tool such as a scoop. Drained honey should be kept in places without humidity and with a temperature of 20 degrees. The temperature at which the filtered honey crystallizes most during the winter is 10-17 degrees.

If the honey is to be kept for a long time, it should be kept well below 15 degrees. Otherwise, there is a change in color, flavor, and enzymes. Honey should not be heated more than 40-50 degrees, except when it is being pasteurized. Honey is put on honeycomb frame or section on nylon or gelatine papers, and if it is filtered, it is put on sale as labeled in glass jars.

How to Harvest Honey?

The answer to the question “When is the honey harvest done?” differs from region to region, but honey harvesting is generally carried out in late August. If seasonal changes occur, honey harvesting can be done several times before or as necessary during the season. For those who are wondering how to harvest honey, the method of sweeping with the brush can be used without harming the bees, in order to remove the bees from the combs during the harvest. Or one of the most common methods used is the shake-up method, although the bees are exposed to stress while harvesting honey.

One of the easiest methods of honey harvesting for beekeepers is the application of the bee escape tool. However, if bee escape is to be applied, the queen bee grill must be present in the hives. If there is no queen bee grill, baby bees can be found in the honeycomb section and the method of bee escape is a problem when the bees in the honeycomb section leave this place. If it is used for a long time in hot weather, it can disrupt the ventilation in the hive.

The best time for honey harvest is when 2/3 of the honeycomb is glazed. If honeycombs are taken without enough glazing, the water content in honey will be high and souring will occur in honey. While honey is being harvested, the processes in one hive must be finished and closed, then the other hive must be started. While performing the honey harvest, it should be paid attention to leave enough food source in order to feed the bees in autumn and winter.

It will be easier to filter the honey shortly after the honey harvest. As the fluidity in the honey decreases over time and at the same time, the temperature is around 30 degrees, making the honey harvest easier. In response to the question of what hours honey harvest is made; since it may be the case of looting especially during harvesting, it is suitable to be done in the morning hours when the bee density is low, as the nectar flow starts to decrease.

In order to filter the honey, the glazes in the honeycombs are taken with a glazing knife or a glazing comb and the honeycombs are placed in the strainer. The honey strainer is available either electrically or manually. While the honey is being filtered, it is filtered through a sieve in order to get purified from foreign substances or honeycomb residues and to be prepared for marketing by being kept in the cans for rest. The filtered honeycombs are then transferred back to the hives to be cleaned by the bees. After the honeycombs are cleaned by the bees, if the honeycomb is still available to use, it will be removed for storage next season. Precautions should be taken against webworm (wax moth) or honeycomb moth before empty honeycombs are taken into storage.

Honey Harvest Time in Beekeeping

The beekeeping sector is an important income channel. With the climate conditions suitable for beekeeping in all seasons, honey periods are quite fertile. The honey period is the period when the bees start making honey. Bees start to make honey by visiting a thousand flowers. The beginning of the honey season is understood from bees entering the hive. It usually coincides with the spring months. Bees flying around and placed in flowers work hard to make honey. However, in the honey season, bees do not just collect the flower extracts. There are other jobs which I will explain further.

Bees generally start honeying in April. Citrus honey comes out in spring. Highland honey is started to be harvested in July. Pine honey harvesting continues until November. Except for a few months in winter, there is a very productive honey season throughout a year. A miraculous communication network is established between honey bees. Some bees collect honey, while others take other tasks. While bees placed from flower to flower collecting honey extracts, worker bees are flapping wings on the flight board. The purpose of bees flapping wings on the board is to provide airflow. They try to blow the water of the honey brought to the hive and throw the moisture out. This effort is a process that accelerates the formation of honey.

During honey-making season, the bad temper of bees decreases. The formation of honey has now started and the bees have entered into a feverish work order. Fresh honey smell starts to be caught from the hives. To check whether the honey season begins or not, a test bucket is selected and weighed and the daily weight is compared. After the start of the honey season, the beekeeper should follow the hive conditions regularly. During the honey season when the bees working process begins, the observation process begins for the beekeepers. The honeycombs need to be checked regularly.

Technical beekeeping is very developed in the world. The queen bee used in the enterprise affects the yield. The use of licensed queens has increased rapidly. This increases the honey yield. The honey that is created is slowly beginning to be glazed by the bees. Beekeepers should collect the honey created on time. At this point, the importance of observation becomes clear. Honey can be collected by looking at the seasonal conditions and the amount of honey in the hive. The honeycombs from which honey is collected are replaced and the bees are expected to make honey again. In some seasons, the honey-making process of bees progresses slowly, and thus, honey is collected slowly.

Ready-made combs should be kept and given to the needed hives regularly. During the honey season, beekeepers should protect the hives and help the bees work. First of all, the hive should be covered with gazebos or grass to protect it from heat. Excessive heat and sun affect the working performance of bees negatively. Bees stop working as a result of the hive temperature exceeding 37 degrees. Also, the beekeeper must shade the hives, since the bees that flap their wings on the hive will get tired to provide airflow.

How to Extract Honey from Cone Hives?

Honey harvesting in cone hives is still done in many places by immersing the hive in water or applying sulfur incense and putting out all the bees. In the harvest season, killing all the members of a bee family with a minimum size of 20-40 thousand, which is present in a hive, can never be incompatible with the love of the animals, as well as the loss of wealth.

It is both impossible for thousands of beekeepers working with these hives around the world to switch to modern beekeeping at a time when their credit facilities are insufficient and science hives are very expensive, and no precaution can easily support the beekeepers to work with these hives. Because these hives also have some special features such as their own facilities, features such as keeping them warm in the summer and cool in the winter and giving too many sons for those who want to increase the number of bee families, and even weak sons can make shelters and revive in these hives.

The harvesting of honey in cone hives is not as difficult as those who do not know about bees think and fear. If the bees are approached carefully and cautiously if it is moved slowly, it is possible to take all the bees out of these hives and remove the honey in the basket as easily as it can be removed from a honey chest, or to return these bees that were taken to another basket as a son bee, it is also possible to combine it with weak hives. On a sunny day of October, bees are calmed by blowing some smoke from the flying holes of the hive, from which the honey will be harvested. The beehive is slowly removed and taken to a place slightly away from the apiary and laid on its side. An empty basket is placed over the open mouth of the bucket. In the place where the beehive is raised, an empty basket is left, if any, so that the incoming bees do not dissipate and gather there.

The side of the beehive to be harvested, which is laid on its side and an empty hive is placed onto it, and the smoke is emitted from the bottom of the hive with the help of a bellows. It should be noted that the honeycombs are perpendicular to the ground so that both the honeycombs do not break and the smoke that is emitted can rise from the bottom to the pointed part and upwards. On the one hand, the smoke is given slightly, while on the back it continues to knit the sleeve with two hands from the pointed part of an auxiliary bucket to the large part or with two thick sticks it holds. If there is no assistant, the beekeeper does the job himself, leaving the bellows.

With this work, it can be seen that the bees come up from the basket with honey and fill up the empty basket above like a flock of sheep. 95 percent of the bees – and even all of the bees if the processes are done carefully and patiently- are collected in the empty basket above. After the bees are removed, the empty basket at the top is taken and placed on the ground. A few bees that lie on the upper side of the basket with honey are also shaken in front of the empty basket. After the sufficient amount of honey is cut from the basket, the basket is placed by taking it to where it was taken. Then, the bees calmly return to their old hives.

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Savaş Ateş

I like eating honey a lot. We have a huge interest in bees and how they make honey. I have visited honey farms. I have talked to a lot of honey sellers. I read a lot of books about them. I want to share my knowledge with you.

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