While all of our clients are aware of the critical need for bees nationwide they usually want something back in return for their investment. When considering getting a beehive, everyone looks forward to that time when their beehive will give a little something back in return for their time and effort in the form of pure organic honey. And yes, the honey inside your hive is yours.
Our clients and anyone whose sampled honey straight from a hive, will tell us that it is the best tasting honey they’ve ever had. So questions are always forthcoming about when they’ll be able to get some honey, how much honey per year does a hive produce? and how much they’ll be able to harvest.
That’s often a tough question to answer; there are many factors that affect honey production including many variables that have to do with your individual hive in your individual neighborhood. Remember that one reason why hives collapse is starvation. As in, they weren’t able to gather and store enough honey to make it through the autumn and winter. In this area most hives will need additional feeding to help them create enough honey to get through the upcoming cold season. This is also us being conservative. Getting bees to survive is a challenge these days. Starvation is the one thing we can prevent and try to do so by feeding each hive in both spring and autumn. Every hive is different. Some Queens are better than others and only time reveals this. Also, some neighborhoods are better than others when it comes down to the pollen and nectar flow. So many factors have to be in sync to have a hive with a lot of honey inside.
And, to be right up front, we are very stingy about extracting honey from hives. Our company is geared 100% to the survival and increase of the bee population. What this means is that, even if there is a lot of honey in a hive, chances are, we’ll leave it in to make sure we aren’t taking food that will be needed from the bee’s table. If we were in the Deep South where it is always warm and honey is easy to replace things would be different. But, because no one can predict how long or severe any upcoming winter will be, we try to err on the side of the bees and not extract until spring.
Oftentimes, when we do remove frames of honey from a client’s hive, we ask them to store the honey in their freezer instead of extracting it. Again, we do this all for the bees. Honey we pull out and leave in the frame can always be put back into a hive later in the year if we believe a hive’s honey supply needs bolstering beyond just supplemental feeding. Once again, bees first, honey on the table second.
When does honey get extracted?
Our honey extractor will mounted for mobile use in our bee trailer.
We normally extracted honey in the spring after an area’s pollen and nectar flow starts up again and a hive is able to sustain itself again via nature. We would be extracting honey that the bees did not consume over the winter and is left over. Depending on how intense an area’s pollen and nectar flow is in the spring, there is a chance that we’ll be pulling honey out of a hive in the late spring because the bees are running out of space inside their hive where the Queen can lay brood. Technically this honey is extractable but, like we mentioned above, oftentimes we’ll opt to store it out of the hive rather than extracting it. Once we extract it out of the frames, we can’t put it back into a hive easily. With us maintaining your hives we can make sure they have enough room to place the honey so this doesn’t happen, this is a judgment call made on a hive-by-hive basis. We don’t ever want to regret extracting honey later on if we find out a hive really needs it. Being able to make some of those judgment calls based on environment, strength of season, quality of Queen, and overall strength of a hive is one of the big reasons you want to have us consulting with you on these matters.
Tamarack Apiaries are making that investment and will have the proper extractor on hand to do this easily. Additionally, will be the only people in the country to have a mobile honey extractor and be able to extract honey at a client’s location. When we give a client their honey it will usually be in plastic containers.
Does Tamarack Apiaries sell honey itself or for it’s clients?
Tamarack Apiaries prides itself in bringing complete hives to clients and maintaining them for them. While we do sell a little honey in our store We’re are not in the honey business. Setting ourselves up in the honey sales business would require too much time and effort and divert us from our primary mission of bringing back the honeybee to the Flathead area.
Also, when you think about it, no matter how many hives we have under our care, these hives do not belong to us. They belong to our clients. And, as such, the honey in them belongs to our clients.