Ok, I'm a little confused. I know I need to leave enough honey on to feed the girls over the winter (Puget Sound Island, maybe snow for a few days). One of the posters said that he left on one and half deeps of honey for each hive. Huh? Does that mean that I need to have two deeps as brood boxes AND then another one and a half deeps of full honey for a total of three and a half deeps? I thought the conventional wisdom was that two deeps was enough to get the girls by. I thought this meant that we should just make sure there was enough honey in the two deeps. Help.
Important question for me because I was just about to harvest a full deep of honey and leave the girls with the extra crescents in the two brood deeps. My set up is two deeps of brood and a deep of honey (yes, it weights a ton )
Two deeps worth of brood and stores, should weigh about 120 pounds, should be enough to get you through the winter. Some bees take less but it's better to leave more than they need, they will use it eventully.
The most worrisom time is in the early spring when they kick into brood rearing. That is when you need to monitor stores and be ready for emergency feeding.
I winter outside, and up here we had temperatures that went to -50 Celcius...
Two full brood boxes, and I didnt loose any to starvation.
But like Bill said, take a peek when you can in early spring, it hurts to loose them in march.
Which of the islands are you on? I live over in the Snoqualmie River Valley in the little town of Carnation.
BeeMiner, the boxes are in Coupeville on Whidbey Island. I saw your post about your local club and may try to get to a meeting or two. It takes me about 1 and half hours or so to get to Snohomish (having gone to the BeezNeez several times.) Kinda rough for a buzy dad, Tuesday nights are Boy Scout night also. Thanks for the information.
If you don't want to be to worried in the spring make ups some candy now and leave it on the frames on the top suppers underneath the inner cover. If worse comes to worse they will have that candy to eat till the spring flowers come. Best though is just leave about 1 full supper on them with honey or syrup in it. You can feed them some syrup now just to 'top' them off for the winter. Then you can also make fondant
on how to make it. This you can leave on the hive all winter and the bees will eat it up without expanding the brood nest. I use it as emergency feed in the spring in my area, around JAN, FEB or even MARCH since there are times we get warm but with lots of rain. The bees get stuck in the hive with brood and the stores get close to being exhausted. This usually ties them up nicely. Worst thing for bees is the 40F to 45F degrees and damp weather. They will starve to death fast.
What most mean by the amount of honey need by the bees for winter is actual stores. A 2 deep system well feed(or just honey pulled early enough for them to store more) will fill the 2 deeps you leave starting at the top and working their way down to the last bit being used by the queen if she has not shut down already for winter. @ deep full of honey will take care of any hive thru winter in the US acording to the books I have read. Here we only need one medium backed full of honey for winter.