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Removing Surplus Honey

The bees will fill the combs and cap the honey when they have cured it to 20 percent or less water. Some of the frames of honey may not be capped until several days after the nectar flow has stopped.

The frames and supers of honey that are capped can be removed from the colony. The frames and supers of uncapped honey can be removed after two weeks of warm dry weather or three weeks of humid or wet weather.

Honey must be processed and packed within three to four days after removal from the hive to prevent wax moth damage or honey can be stored at 10 F for long periods of time. Be prepared to process the honey when you remove the super from the hive.

Open the colony and inspect the supers of honey. Frames of capped and uncapped honey can be exchanged between supers.

The super of honey will be occupied by many bees. The excessive use of smoke to drive the bees out of the super may taint the flavor of the honey.

Place an outer cover turned bottom side up with the empty super in the cover near the colony. An inner cover with a bee escape, a flat piece of plywood or an outer cover is needed to cover the super as you place the frames of honey that are free of bees into the super.

Remove a frame of honey from the super of honey removed from the colony. Hold the frame by the ends of the top bar in front of the colony a short distance above the entrance. One or two short, strong shakes will dislodge all the bees. Immediately place the frame into the empty super and cover the super to prevent the bees from returning to the frame. Shake the bees from the remaining frames and load the super, keeping it completely covered except to enter the frames of honey. This method can be used very effectively with a small number of colonies.

Place a outer board in direct sun and let it warm for 15 minutes. Then moisten the felt liner of the fume board with a repellent such as Bee Go and place the fume board on top of the supers to be removed. The Bee Go will drive the bees out of the super within 15 minutes. Avoid excessive amounts of Bee Go. Do not wet the felt liner to the dripping point.

A queen may expand the brood nest up into the honey supers. Check all supers of honey to be removed for brood. Locate the queen and return her to the brood nest below. Exchange frames with brood for frames of capped honey consolidating all of the brood into one super. Place the super with brood on top of the brood chamber below the queen excluder. Honey stored in brood frames is food for the bees and should not be packed for human consumption.

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