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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    berkeley, california, USA
    Posts
    6

    Default size of healthy brood chamber

    i'm brand new to beekeeping. i just got a package two months ago and installed them in the top bar hive. today i did my second full inspection and found four honey combs and 6 brood combs and i'm wondering if anyone can tell me if that is a healthy colony size. there are lots of bees covering all of the comb and definite signs of the queen laying eggs, so to me all seems well, but how large does a colony need to be in order to be considered 'healthy' and prepared to over-winter?

    kailey

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Sauk, WI, USA
    Posts
    144

    Default Re: size of healthy brood chamber

    Hi Kailey--I have topbars, 3# Italians installed the first week of May. I don't know the answer, but I can tell you that mine have about 16+ brood chamber, just starting to build out about 4 bars of honey with a bit of brood mixed in... We're in much different climates, though (at least I think), and so our bees will probably behave much differently.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sebastopol, Ca.
    Posts
    307

    Default Re: size of healthy brood chamber

    I too am new to this and I imagine that we will get no honey for ourselves as they build their comb. At least this year.
    I've read of folks taking a bit of honey around now with the notion that where you live will supply enough water to keep a decent nectar flow until October. Living in Berkeley will help as they are conscious of such goings on, AND there are a ton of folks down there that one may contact for personalized help. Let us know what you find....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
    Posts
    756

    Default Re: size of healthy brood chamber

    Its almost impossible to pic a number for colony strength. That is one of the major reasons it is recommended to have 2 hives, if you had another to compare you could tell what might be good and what might be kinda normal.

    Comparing it with someones bees who are within a couple miles can help but its still not the same. When my hives are booming before the flow and I'm feeding heavy they can have 10 or 12 frames of brood at a time, Their coasting now with about 3-5 frames now.
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    San Mateo, CA
    Posts
    4,899

    Default Berkeley=Bee Heaven

    There almost is no winter in Berkeley as far as bees are concerned. You are set to go. The Eucalyptus globulous starts to bloom in October, so besides a cold or wet December and January you are off to the races. You are probably on a great Privet and Eucalyptus ficifolia flow now, it is not starvation that will make you lose them in winter.

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