Friends of the Bees
Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Please Read The Rules before posting.

Please support Friends of the Bees to keep this forum free to use.

Harvesting honey from an hTBH

Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Horizontal top bar hives
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Jeff Lynn
New Bee

Joined: 26 Jan 2017
Posts: 2
Location: Fordingbridge, England

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:19 pm    Post subject: Harvesting honey from an hTBH Reply with quote

I'm struggling to find advice on when/whether/how much I can harvest from an hTBH. I can't see anything in Phil's book, my Natural Beekeeping friends just say that this is difficult - much easier with a Warre. Can anyone help?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Site Admin

Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1857
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


There are so many variables with harvesting that it is difficult to give hard and fast rules.
If you can give some specifics about your hive.....
How old?
Started from?... a swarm... prime or cast, a package or a nucleus colony?
How many bars of comb do they have?
Have they swarmed this season? If they have swarmed multiple times they will have a reduced workforce and therefore will struggle to replace what you take.
How many combs of capped honey are there?
How many combs of brood?
Is there a good arch of honey over each brood comb as well as solid bars of honey at the back?
What is your local forage like? Knowing what local plants produce a good nectar flow and when, helps you to predict whether they will be able to replace what you take from them, before autumn.... For instance, there is a mass of Himalayan balsam in my area (I live down by the river) which is just flowering now and produces probably my main nectar flow of the season. Heather is just coming into flower if you live on/near the moors. Do you have agricultural crops near by.... Oil Seed Rape is probably all finished but there may be late crops or peas and beans nearby or flax or some farmers have been using Phacelia as a green manure which is a wonderful nectar producer if they leave it until it flowers. Lyme trees can be a wonderful source of nectar too around this time of year if you have those nearby. The nearer the source of nectar the better as it is more efficient for them to collect it and therefore they will store more.

Many people with TBHs leave harvesting until the following spring, just to be sure their bees have enough for winter, but if you have a strong colony with good stores now, there should still be plenty of summer left for them to replace it, assuming the weather is not too dry or too cold and wet.
The great thing about top bar hives over Warre's is that you can just harvest a comb or two at a time rather than a whole box, which can potentially leave them short.

I'm sorry, there are no hard and fast rules I can give you. It comes down to trusting your own judgement and taking into consideration many different factors.
Beekeeping is a skill that is learned over many, many seasons because there are so many variables. Don't expect to get it right every time, but do figure out why things went wrong, so that you can try to avoid making the same mistake twice.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
Jeff Lynn
New Bee

Joined: 26 Jan 2017
Posts: 2
Location: Fordingbridge, England

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's the best answer - list of pointers - I've seen yet. Thanks.

Started from a relatively small prime swarm, as far as I know. Collected by a local beekeeper towards the end of April. 8 combs. No swarming. I haven't examined each comb as I'm trying to minimise disturbance so don't know the mix of brood and honey.

We live on farmland, less than a mile from a river. There was a great deal of oil seed rape earlier in the season, not sure what's in the fields at the moment. About half of local area is livestock - mostly sheep. Lime, clover, some ivy locally. Heather a couple of miles away.

I know I'm jumping the gun a little and the welfare of the bees is my priority but I am eager to try a little of my first honey.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Horizontal top bar hives All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

SPECIAL OFFER FOR UK FORUM MEMBERS - Buy your protective clothing here and get a special 15% discount! (use the code BAREFOOTBEEKEEPER at checkout and be sure to 'update basket')

Are the big energy companies bleeding you dry?

Is way too much of your hard-earned family income going up in smoke?

Are you worried about what could happen if the ageing grid system fails?

You need to watch this short video NOW to find out how YOU can cut your energy bills TO THE BONE within 30 days!


(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast

Now available from

Now available from

Now available from

4th Edition paperback now available from

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
site map
php. BB © 2001, 2005 php. BB Group

View topic - Harvesting honey from an hTBH - Natural Beekeeping Network Forum