The long Alaska winters are a great time to teach kids (and adults) about bees and beekeeping. To that end, we are available to visit any Fairbanks North Star Borough classrooms that have interest. We’ll bring in some of our beekeeping equipment, honeycomb, some honey, and a few preserved bees. Kids can try on the bee veil and taste some local honey. Reach out to us on our Contact page.
When should I harvest my honey?
Knowing when to harvest your honey in Alaska is an inexact science. Harvest too soon and you’ll miss out on the full potential of your hive. Harvest too late and the bees may have eaten much of their honey. So when should you harvest then?
In Interior Alaska, where we live, bees won’t make it through the winter, so we harvest all of the honey from the hive. Most Alaska beekeepers kill all of their bees when they harvest the honey, so one summer is all you get from your hive.
Interior Alaska in the summer is a place of endless sunlight. That means if it’s warm enough at ‘night’, bees will keep collecting nectar and pollen 24 hours a day. This allows the hive to build up a huge colony of bees quite quickly. A hive in the middle of July can have over 100,000 bees in it.
The nectar flow peaks slightly before or after the hive is at max population – it depends on the weather. Therefore, the best time to harvest is when the nectar flow starts to drop off. Around Fairbanks, that is typically in early August, once the Fireweed starts to fizzle out. Unless you have a crop of clover or other continuously blooming nectar source, the bees aren’t going to find any single flowering species to keep up with the demand in the hive.
Keep an eye on the flower progression around your apiary and take your cue from the bees. The end of the Fireweed bloom is a good gauge, but always keep an eye on the amount of capped honey in the hive and the number of bees.
It’s that time of year in Alaska where we start to think about harvesting our honey. The Fireweed is in full bloom and our bees have been busily gathering nectar and pollen since spring.
We’re currently looking for beekeepers that want to sell their honey. Reach out to us at the phone number at the top of the page or use our contact page. We’ll get back to you right away.
Our marketing background coupled with our love of beekeeping ensure that your honey is sold for the premium prices that Alaska honey can get. We can also take care of extracting, bottling, and labeling. Give us a call!
What is a honey collective?
A collective is a group of individuals working together to achieve a common objective – much like honeybees working together in a hive. The goal of the Alaska Honey Collective is to bring together Alaska’s beekeepers to sell our honey and other bee-related products. We also strive to educate individuals about beekeeping and the importance of pollinators.
In the coming weeks and months we plan to post opportunities, ideas, and thoughts about Alaska beekeeping. Stay tuned…