As researchers find out more about bees every year, we get exciting papers that can give us tips on optimising our hives and even increasing honey yields!
It’s your goal as a beekeeper to increase honey production and optimise your hive to be the most productive it can be, this also shows that your bees are healthy and happy.
In this article, we are going to summarize various means that you can implement when increasing honey yields from hives and, using science, keep those hives churning with buzzing bees.
Pull Your Hive More Often
The best way to increase honey yield is by pulling more often, as soon as the frames of honey are ready. Pull, extract, and place those frames directly back into the hive.
However, be careful to not harvest before at least 80% of the frame contains capped honey. Otherwise you run the risk of your bees no longer producing for the season.
Still, as a general rule of thumb, don’t take honey from a colony in its first year. Often the bees aren’t strong enough yet to make an excess amount, and they need every drop they have to make it through winter.
More Bees, More Honey
A large and healthy population is the key to increasing honey yield because large colonies produce more honey than smaller ones. In other words, one colony of 60,000 bees will produce more honey than two colonies of 30,000 bees combined.
The larger the colony population, the greater the honey production per bee as long as the bees stay healthy, strong, and well-fed. Ensure that diseases and pests are controlled within the hive. If you prefer not to use chemical pesticides, there are natural ways you can fight pests.
A young queen is essential in a colony to guarantee a high population for honey production. Young queens can produce more brood than older queens. It’s also a fact that young queens are less likely to swarm.
Pro Tips For Hive Optimisation
The lineage is a key factor when building a robust population. Choose a lineage that’s responsive to your feedings such as syrup and sugar.
Placing the bees in an environment that features a diverse community of plants over an extended period contributes to the increase in bee population and honey yield. Bees feed on nectar and as long as there’re a variety of flowers, it signals a large source of food to the hive, hence, an increase in population.
Stimulative feeding in spring is one of the simpler population building techniques. In summer, the colony population reaches its peak. This is often the time to inspect the hive population to optimize your honey yield.
Remember, connecting with your local bee group will give you the best knowledge and support for what works in your area.