This is my first season where my bees are making it through the summer, and I am a bit confused about what to do about honey harvesting. I have a Bee Thinking TBH (which I highly recommend if you are thinking about getting a TBH; support Bee Thinking).
In any case, in poking around the internet, I found a couple of suggestions about what to do as the harvesting season approaches, which seem to be contradictory:
A. To overwinter successfully, top-bar hives probably require at least one full comb of honey for each brood comb in the hive. This means that in a hive with 30 top bars, 10 or which are occupied by brood comb, perhaps 10 or fewer combs with honey can reasonably be harvested.
B. The last honey harvest in the fall should only be to prevent the bees from attaching their comb to the follower board. Do not remove more than 1-2 honey combs.
C. As winter approaches, make sure the hive has stores of 40-60lbs of honey (that’s at least 7 full bars of non-brood at roughly 6 lbs. per bar).
D. If you start early in the spring with a new hive, you will be able to harvest 1-3 combs before fall.
I have also heard of harvesting one bar at a time (occasionally) throughout the season.
So, is there a consensus on what the right thing to do here is? My TBH is about 2/3 full as of mid-August. Several of the last bars have honey, but none are completely built out and chock full of capped honey (yet). Most of the bars have brood, it appears.
Maybe others will be able to benefit from general advice on this as well…