How Much Honey to Expect
Worker bees literally kill themselves by working nonstop to bring nectar back to the hive to
be converted into honey. Although they usually overload the package to bring more nectar back, each hive can only
produce so much honey. There are a few factors that can help you determine how much honey to expect from each hive
or colony. If you improve on certain details, you may expect a more abundant harvest. Here are some more tips and
How Much Exactly?
A single bee can produce around 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetime. Their average lifespan is about
15 to 38 days, although they can live up to 140 days during the winter season. A colony has around 40,000 to 60,000
bees, so you can yield as much as 5 liters from a hive if it is maintained properly. To make 1 pound of honey, bees
have to visit around 2 million flowers. Per trip, bees visit around 50 to 100 flowers. During a single flight,
worker bees can gather as much as 1 drop of nectar. Bees make about 1 to 24 trips on a single day.
The Beekeeper's Role
Although bees will continue to work as efficiently as possible, provided that they are nourished and kept
properly, beekeepers have to maintain the hive. The beekeeper takes out honey on a regular basis then replaces the
frames full of honey with empty once having prefabricated wax combs. The bees will again start to work nonstop if
they find that supply is already low. Bees are always dedicated to making more comb. Bees can spend the rest of
their lives gathering nectar, making honey and making combs.
In the Wild
Wild bees make their own combs using beeswax. They can make very large combs to accommodate larva, royal jelly
and honey. Even in the wild, bees usually make more honey than they need. Their main nature is to gather honey and
store it, especially before winter season comes. During swarming season, bees that have been driven out of the hive
to look for better locations usually cannot create honey. There is almost no honey to collect from swarming sites,
since bees do not have cells to pour nectar into.
The Nectar Flow
The nectar flow is very important to consider when expecting how much honey to collect. Try to observe the
surroundings and check if there are enough flowering plants where bees can collect nectar and pollen. If there is
limited supply of flowers, then bees will only carry back nectar limitedly. Some bees will travel far distances
just to bring back nectar, but the trip will take longer thereby inhibiting the hive's capacity to produce honey
If honey in the extracting room is more attractive than local flowers, it is not common for neighborhood bees to
feast on it. Extracting should be done in a closed screened room like a barn, basement or garage. Bees can bring
back honey from supers back into their hive if you do not put screens.
Uncapping is easier done if only 8 or 9 frames are spaced evenly in a 10-frame super. Thicker comb requires you
not to scrape using the fork. After bees have traced the base of the first season, return only 8 to 9 frames into
extracted supers so you can easily uncap next crops. Uncap straight to the wood on the top and base bar.
You need enough honey containers during extraction day. A shallow super usually produce between 25 to 30 pounds
of honey or about 2 to 2.5 gallons. A medium-sized super will yield about 35 to 40 pounds of honey or about 3 to 4
gallons. A full-depth box will usually produce about 60 to 70 pounds or about 5 to 6 gallons. The yields will
depend on the number of frames. You will need to consider the process of extraction and age of the comb.
Wax cappings can hold 10% or higher of the honey crop. Screening drains the capping of honey. Solar wax melters
help melt the cappings wax after draining. Cappings may be left outside for bees to feed on.