1. Kevin S. Lunsford Guest
Hello everyone,
On the east coast of the USA we have been in a severe drought for 5 years!! I just want to give you some statistics in Virginia for last year to justify fall feeding. The average mortality in Va. is 8 to 10%. Last year (2001-2002) the rate was 28% due to a fall drought (the same that is predicted for this year). If you fed your bees sugar water in the fall(of 2001) the rate was 21%. If you fed your bees AND fed a pollen substitute your rate was LESS than 12%!!! No rain=no pollen=no winter bees. Our bees are eating up their winter stores right now just to survive. Keep track of stored honey and feed as needed.
Kevin

2. Join Date
Sep 2002
Location
West Harrison, NY, USA
Posts
261
Hi Kevin,

being new to the trade, I wonder how do you determine how much honey the bees have stored without checking frame by frame. I guess the answer to this is: by some (which?) way of weighing the 2 deep hive bodies without opening them (I simply don't have a feel for 60lbs yet when lifting the back of my hive only). Then, the other question is, how do you estimate how much pollen is in there?

There is a lot of golden rod in bloom around here and I see a lot of activity in my bees, both carrying pollen and honey in.

Thanks

jorge

3. Go to the hardware store. They have 50lb boxes of nails. Lift them a few times and make a mental note. This is 50lbs. You want a little bit more.

4. Join Date
Dec 2000
Location
crown point, NY, USA
Posts
970
Hi Jorge,

being new to the trade, I wonder how do you determine how much honey the bees have stored without checking frame by frame. I guess the answer to this is: by some (which?) way of weighing the 2 deep hive bodies without opening them (I simply don't have a feel for 60lbs yet when lifting the back of my hive only). Then, the other question is, how do you estimate how much pollen is in there?

It should NOT weight only sixty pounds. Maybe 60 pounds of ONLY honey. But it should weight at least 100 pounds counting equipmnet, bees, combs, pollen, ect. Now that is a minimum! It is best to have 90 pounds of honey for a strong colony making the hive need to weight about 120 pounds. I run three deep brood chambers which I like to weight 120 at the minimum. It is hard if not impossible to measure the pollen accurately as much of it is under the honey stores. NY is a good pollen area so I wouldn't worry about have too little. However using three deep give you a much larger area to store pollen in. Often the bottom box will be chaulked right full. It is the pollen in a colony that makes it strong in the spring. No pollen, No brood (regardless of honey stores). Now the extra honey isn't necessary to get the bees through winter. It is needed when they start using the pollen and raise the spring generation of bees. If one or the other is lacking the bees will not develope as strong as possible.

Under POV (point of veiw)on beesource.com, read Under USDA papers about wintering bees.

Clay

5. I guess I figure the correct amount differs by climate, but you should have a good idea how to estimate the weight. Here, in Nebraska, I would not try to winter them with 60lbs of stores. I'd be looking for more like a 100.

6. Join Date
Jul 2002
Location
Huntington, WV
Posts
24
I too am new at bee keeping. I am in Southern WV and have three deep brood chambers. I have seen lots of activity at the hive with many of bees bringing in pollen. I will be treating for AFB in the tomorrow and will check honey and pollen stores.
I have read mention of a pollen substitute and am wondering where to get it and do the bees actually take to it.

Sean

7. Join Date
Sep 2002
Location
West Harrison, NY, USA
Posts
261
Thank you Michael and Clay,

I will make sure I have a good idea of the weight of my hive to det if I ned to feed or not. I do see many bees bringing in pollen all the time.
Clay, you say you run 3 deep brood chambers. Isn't that going to adversely affect the temperature inside the hive in the middle of the winter? The taller the "tower" the more heat will move upward and when the cluster is closer to the bottom, a lot of heat will be lost to the bees. I guess there is a tradeoff between temperature in the middle of the winter and food for the spring.

Jorge

8. &gt;I too am new at bee keeping. I am in Southern WV and have three deep brood chambers.
Assuming the hive is very prolific and has a lot of bees I'd say this is about right for a nothern climate. I really don't know how cold the winters are in West Virginia, so I don't know if that's more than you need or want.

&gt;I have read mention of a pollen substitute and am wondering where to get it
You can buy pollen substitute from most bee supply places. I bought mine from Brushy Mountain Bee and also bought some real pollen. Pollen substitued is pretty lacking compared to the real thing, so I mix the two together.

&gt;and do the bees actually take to it.
It seems to depend. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't and I'm not sure I understand the difference. I tried to put some dry pollen in my observation hive and the bees hauled it out the entrance and threw it on the ground. Sometimes I mix it with honey and make a paste and put it on wax paper and put it on the bottom board. Sometimes they ignore it, sometimes they take it. It helps if you have real pollen mixed in. If there is a real pollen dearth I've seen them rolling in my chicken scratch to get the dust. I've heard of them pulling the paint off of a tractor during a pollen dearth. I had always wondered about those bright red or blue cells of pollen in my hive.

&gt;From Jorge: Clay, you say you run 3 deep brood chambers. Isn't that going to adversely affect the temperature inside the hive in the middle of the winter? The taller the "tower" the more heat will move upward and when the cluster is closer to the bottom, a lot of heat will be lost to the bees. I guess there is a tradeoff between temperature in the middle of the winter and food for the spring.

Running out of food is much more adverse. A good strong cluster that makes a ball that reaches the sides of the hive will be plenty warm. The extra stores are good insurance. If you have a weak hive it would be better to limit the size more. You could also wrap them to hold in the heat. But they still need ventilation. Bees give off a lot of humidity and it will condense on the inner cover and drip. I use a vent box on top in the winter. I have a small entrance, partly for warmth and partly to keep out the mice, but you need a little ventilation in the winter.

9. Join Date
Dec 2000
Location
crown point, NY, USA
Posts
970
Hi Jorge,

Clay, you say you run 3 deep brood chambers. Isn't that going to adversely affect the temperature inside the hive in the middle of the winter? The taller the "tower" the more heat will move upward and when the cluster is closer to the bottom, a lot of heat will be lost to the bees. I guess there is a tradeoff between temperature in the middle of the winter and food for the spring.

Not really. The bees don't heat the entire hive. Also as winter progresses the bees work up into the heat being at or near the top when it is time for brood rearing to start. Also to produce all that heat honey stores are required for a strong colony. There is not so much trade off as you might think.

Clay

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