Honeybees are relatively small insects, but they can significantly impact the world and the environment. They’re one of the most prominent pollinators in the world, but they also produce a sweetly delicious substance known as honey. If you’ve ever had raw honey, you know it’s incredibly flavorful and sweet; however, you might also wonder how these little bees can make so much of it. Follow along to learn how much honey one beehive will produce in a year.
Why Do Bees Make Honey?
Even though you might think bees make honey for humans, that’s certainly not the case. In fact, honeybees make honey to help their colony survive the winter. Because plants are dormant in the winter and don’t produce nectar, bees don’t have an active food source during this time. Therefore, they must make honey—which doesn’t spoil—and store it in the comb to eat later. Therefore, beekeepers shouldn’t remove honey from the hive until they know their bees have enough to get them through the winter months.
Factors That Impact Production
Even though bees must make honey to feed themselves, many external factors may affect their production. Consider some of the common honey hindrances bee colonies encounter.
Ultimately, rainfall and temperature determine how frequently bees leave their hives and forage for nectar. When rain, wind, extreme temperatures, or other undesirable weather conditions are present, honeybees are less likely to produce a significant amount of honey.
Pests and Diseases
Pests and diseases are always a threat to honeybee colonies. For example, a varroa mite infestation can lead to the decline of the whole hive, depending on the severity. Because varroa mites attach themselves to bees and suck their blood, a significant infestation can decrease overall honey production. If you have a beehive and you’re concerned about mites, consider VSH queen bees for sale to strengthen your colonies.
Hive robbing is another phenomenon in which bees from foreign colonies enter neighboring hives and steal honey from those bees. Even though a strong colony would have the necessary defense to stop robbers, weaker hives might not be able to produce enough honey or recover from a robbery.
How Much Honey Do Bees Make?
Ultimately, there’s no set number of jars or pounds when it comes to the amount of honey the average colony makes. Nevertheless, most researchers agree a colony can produce anywhere from 20 to 200 pounds of honey annually.
However, as we mentioned, that’s not the amount the beekeeper can remove from the hive. If your bees make about 100–120 pounds of honey per year, you can expect to harvest 30–60 pounds to bottle and use or sell. But a weaker colony may only make 20–60 pounds of honey; in that case, you can’t harvest any.
Now that you know how much honey one beehive will make in a year, you can plan your harvest accordingly. Bees may be small, but they can make a significant difference and produce lots of honey when they work together as a strong colony.