One of the many reasons why there are now more beekeepers is that people know for a fact that honey can be quite profitable when produced in abundant amounts and then sold. That is why more and more people are turning into beekeepers on the side as they would love to earn money part-time from the honey they sell from their bees. In that regard, how many times can you actually harvest honey in a year?
Most beekeepers tend to harvest honey from their hives two to three times a year or per season. This usually happens somewhere between June and September, whenever the conditions are right for them. However, beginners may not be able to harvest that much in their first year.
Knowing when to harvest honey from your beehives is a crucial part of being a beekeeper because of how you would want to be able to harvest honey at the right time when it is supposed to be harvested. As such, most beekeepers don’t often harvest their honey whenever they could but would rather make sure that they time it right so that the honey tastes great and is of the highest quality.
How much honey does one hive produce a year?
Nowadays, you can find more people who have taken up beekeeping as one of their hobbies or as one of the ways they can earn money on the side. There are even some people who have turned beekeeping into a full-time job because they know how lucrative honey can be when sold. This is why beekeepers tend to have more than a handful or even dozens of hives since they know how much they can end up earning from the honey the hives produce.
In that regard, how much honey does one hive actually produce? The one thing you need to know when it comes to how much honey a single hive can produce is that it is actually dependent on a lot of different factors. These factors can include the following:
- The concentration of flowers that are abundant are available as the ‘raw material’ bees need to make honey
- The rainfall in the region since this allows flowers to produce a lot of nectar
- A hive that is strong and healthy and free from any illnesses and pests
- Storage space for the honey
- Weather that is perfect for the bees such as when it is warm and sunny
- Plenty of daylight for the bees to be able to see where they are going when they are looking for flowers
Regardless of the different conditions that can affect how much honey a single hive can produce, a typical beehive can produce about 10 to 200 pounds of honey in a single year. There are a lot of variables in play though (as you can see above), so these are not hard and fast figures. This is why you should make sure that you provide the best possible conditions for your beehives if you want to maximize the amount of honey you can harvest in a single year.
There are some moments when the bees actually tend to produce a ton of honey to the point that a medium-sized super can weigh up to 50 pounds. As such, it is important to make sure that you are physically strong enough to carry the supers that are full of honey.
How many times can you harvest honey in a year?
Now that you know how much honey a single beehive can produce in a year, you might be wondering how often you would actually end up harvesting honey on an annual basis considering that beehives can easily produce 200 pounds of honey if the conditions provided are perfect for them. So, how many times can you harvest honey from your hives?
So, when you are looking to harvest honey, there are some things you need to know first. For one, you don’t want to harvest too early because you might not be able to fully maximize the honey produced by your bees if you do decide to do that. At the same time, waiting too long to harvest your honey can be problematic especially if you harvest the honey during the latter portion of fall, which should be the time when your bees are preparing for winter and they need the honey as their own food storage to get them through those cold months!
That said, it is important to find the crucial time to harvest your honey because this can make a huge difference between honey that actually tastes really good and honey that may not be at its best quality. In that regard, the number of times you can harvest your honey from your beehives will depend on the conditions of the place you live in.
However, in most cases, beekeepers tend to harvest honey from their beehives two to three times a year. This usually happens sometime during June and September, but not the latter parts of September, as you would need to make sure that the bees still have enough honey left in the hive for when the winter season comes. And, depending on the climate and the other conditions that can affect honey production, there are even some beekeepers that may be able to harvest honey only once in a single year.
Another thing you need to know is that you should only harvest honey that has been capped. What that means is that, when you look at the frame, the honey should not be wet on the outside and must have some sort of dry “cap” covering it. The cap is actually wax that the bees produce once they have already fanned the nectar down to less than 20% moisture level. Capping the nectar will allow it to get cured and turn into honey.
It will always be recommended that you should only harvest honey that has been capped because this allows you to know that your bees will still produce honey for the remainder of the season. Remember that bees will only cap the honey when they know that it is ready. So, if you were to harvest honey that is uncapped, it would be too raw.
However, there will also be cases where the bees won’t cap the honey, even though it is already ready for harvesting. So, if you notice that the other supers have capped honey while the others don’t, you can still harvest the ones that aren’t capped as long as you know that they were produced at the same time. But, to be sure, you can measure the moisture level in the uncapped honey using a refractometer. If the moisture level is below 18%, that is when you would know that the uncapped honey is ready for harvesting.
Also, beekeepers do not harvest the honey directly from the hive. Instead, they will harvest the honey from the supers. The bees will only fill the supers with honey once the hive has already been filled with honey. So, the reason why you should only harvest from the supers and not directly from the hive is that the bees need the honey from the hive as one of their food sources. They will need the hive even more during the winters because of how they cannot go out to find pollen and honey, which are also food sources for them.
Think of it like this, as a beekeeper you are simply taking the surplus honey made by the bees, not their main food storage.
What month is honey harvested?
So, if you are wondering when honey production is at its peak and in what month you should be harvesting honey from your beehives, you should know that this happens somewhere between June and September. That means that there is no exact month when it is ideal for you to harvest honey, as this can happen at any time between June and September. This can also vary slightly depending on your exact location and the climate it has.
As such, this can happen during the latter part of spring, throughout the entire summer, and during the earlier portion of fall. Your bees will most likely spend the entire early part of spring collecting nectar from flowers right after coming out of dormancy from winter. Then, as they produce honey the entire time from the moment they started collecting nectar, you can expect the honey to be ready for harvesting during the latter portion of spring, or perhaps when summer is about to start.
However, it is important to make sure that you do not harvest honey from your beehives during the latter portion of fall, and that is why you should only harvest up to the middle portion of September. The reason is that you have to see to it that your bees have enough honey stored in the beehives in time for winter because they will need the honey as their main source of food when they cannot go out when the weather is too cold for them. As such, don’t be too greedy and make sure that you only harvest up to the mid-portion of September or when fall is just about to start.
If you are interested in finding out what happens if you don’t harvest honey, I have a full article on that too.