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We strip all of our hives using bee escapes and a billet loader attached to a scale.  All the supers are lifted and weighed as a unit and that information is automatically downloaded from the scale to the computer to ensure that we have accurate records of each hive's production.

Strict guidelines in the yards and in the honey house ensure that brood never gets into the honey.

Single storey hives being stripped with billet loader.

We used to calculate our average production per hive using the current year's honey production divided by the number of hives that we put into the previous winter. The problem with is that tended to make the average appear lower because of winter losses, particularly high winter losses like in the winter of 2010.  Now when we are wintering 5 frame nucs and mating nuc hives as well as hives, it begs the question what number do you count as your hives going into winter.  If you count the nucs as hives, as I was doing, the average is further diminished.  However, if you don't count the nucs into your average at all, the number is unrealistically inflated.  The number is also impacted by how many bees (hives + nucs) an operation sells or brings in during a year or how many nucs they are making to recoup losses. 

In the end, it comes down to the old saying, "Figures don't lie, but liars figure."  So I've left the old graph showing averages that I was calculating with all the nucs and hives put into winter the fall before.  I've added a more recent graph that demonstrates how much the average changes depending on which figures you use.  You can look at the accurate records link to see a snapshot of what some of our hives are producing.



All of our hives stay as single storey brood chambers throughout the year.  See OUTSIDE WINTERING OF SINGLE BROOD CHAMBER HIVES and OUTSIDE WINTERING OF SINGLE BROOD CHAMBER HIVES REVISITED.  We have started wintering mating nuc hives and 5 frame nucs outside.

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Revised: March 17, 2017.
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Original Design & Graphics by Karen Pedersen
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