Author: Heather Broccard-Bell, Ph.D., Honey Bee Health Researcher
Humans have been gathering honey from honey bees in one form or another for millennia. For most of that time, “management” was as simple as harvesting honey from wild bee colonies wherever they could be found. Apiculture has been transformed over the last couple of centuries by advances in technology. The invention of modular hive systems and moveable frames has greatly improved productivity, mobility, and the welfare of the bees themselves. Ultimately, most of this has been done in the service of one goal: to produce honey.
Now that we’re well into fall honey season (at least in Ontario, Canada), it seems like an opportune time to discuss some of the main considerations of modern honey harvesting. I realize that beekeepers around the world deal with many types of hives these days, but I am going to focus on the most common in North America: the 10-frame Langstroth.