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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    North Liberty, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default How many bees in the hive?

    I've searched the forums, but did not directly find answers to this question. If someone knows the link to a thread on this topic, please direct me. I know there are a lot of variables, but I have heard a huge range in the number of bees to be found in a normal, healthy hive, from 30,000 to 70,000. I use 3 mediums for my hive. If I open a healthy hive, I might find 1000 bees on a frame, roughly estimating, so 1000 X 30, even with my inferior math skills, is 30,000 bees. Of course, not every frame has that many, so my guess is my typical hive, even with a super on, probably has somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000, perhaps up to 25,000. I read a syndicated story the other day about a beekeeper opening his hive and talking about the adreneline rush of facing 70,000 bees. Is that hugely exaggerated, or perhaps I just live in too cool a climate and my numbers won't get that high? Just curious what people think about this.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    I started counting in my hive the other day and made it to 3 then they moved. Sorry I'm not much help. But I wonder too

    -Dan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    North Liberty, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    lol, I also found they don't respond to the "Sit!" command very well.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    no kiddin', I'm tired of them not listening to me! lol

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    fairfield,ohio
    Posts
    640

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    Depending on what time you inspected, Most of your bees were probably in the field.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Gardiner, WA, USA
    Posts
    58

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    That's easy.....count the number of legs and divide by six.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,244

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    Did you not make it past your multiplication tables in the 3rd or 4th grade ?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Clifford Township, PA
    Posts
    1,660

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    Depends ( as everything in beekeeping and most things in life do.) Italian bees might be exploding in population in those monster hives while more economy-minded bees such as the Carnis and Russians raise only the brood they need. (So I've been told. My Carnis are new this year and they do have a smaller population and the Russians Are Coming (to quote the old film title) in September.

    Wayne
    Last edited by waynesgarden; 08-24-2010 at 06:48 PM. Reason: spelling

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pottstown, PA, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    Don't take the jokers who responded seriously. You asked a serious question, so here's a serious answer. Wayne hit it right on a number of things. Everything depends on the queen. If you have a healthy hive, you should see brood frames with a solid pattern. You should also see a reasonable amount of capped honey, and pollen. You should NOT see a lot of hive beetles, or any wax moths. If good there, you have a reasonably healthy hive. If I had any doubts, I would contact your local inspector, or a reputable beekeeper in your area to have a "look see". I used to worry about how many bees I saw in the hive. I figured I'd take a look when I was sure they weren't out foraging. Once I opened them on a overcast day when it was drizzling, and even the smoke didn't calm them! I was attacked like a bear was robbing them! The only time I was ever attacked that bad was at dusk. I can tell you there were a lot more bees than I found on clear, dry days!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    North Liberty, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    Thanks, Bumbles. Actually, I'm fine with my hive numbers, and I plan to harvest some honey this weekend--they've been pretty productive this summer. I was just curious what the upper limits might be, realizing it is tough to count when it's hard to estimate how many are out foraging. I just think some grossly overestimate how many might be found in a strong hive and found 70,000 to be a bit of a stretch. And you're certainly right about cool, wet days--they can be cranky.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Pottstown, PA, USA
    Posts
    46

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by iahawk View Post
    Thanks, Bumbles. Actually, I'm fine with my hive numbers, and I plan to harvest some honey this weekend--they've been pretty productive this summer.
    Glad your hives are doing well. Last year, I had a nuc I bought from Bjorn Apiaries that took off, and went CRAZY! One day I opened the hive to check them in late July, and I believe this is what 70,000 bees look like;I use a medium super on top of my inner cover to give more air flow. When I opened the telescoping cover, I had a solid mass of bees hanging from it. I kept lifting 1, 2 feet up, and still did not separate the column of bees! It was completely covering the lid from corner to corner ,and as I lifted, it was an inverted cone at least 8" in diameter at the base. On top of that, the inner cover was completely covered with bees at least 2" thick. That hive was bearded all over, 2 deeps across and high. on the outside as well. Needless to say, I split that hive soon after, and both were still stronger than either of my other 2 original hives were.

    Since we had an early flow this year, I took my honey off the 3rd week in June. last year, my supers were full the first week in June, then we had 26 out of 30 days rain, and they all but cleaned them out. Since this year we still had flow left by then, I harvested another 25% more the 2nd week in July. As dry as it had been in my area, I doubt I'd have any honey left to pull by now. I hope you do well.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Sedalia, Missouri
    Posts
    1

    Big Grin Re: How many bees in the hive?

    I'm somewhat of a math nut so here are some numbers we can play with. According to one of my Bee books, and this isn't a quote but I'm pretty close, they say a good queen can and will lay anywhere from a 1000 to 2500 eggs per day. Lets say after the 16th or 17th day they start coming out and live their 4-6 week life span here is what you'll have.
    1000bees/day@4weeks= 28,000 bees If 15%loss= 23,800
    1000bees/day@6weeks= 42,000 bees IF 15%loss=35,700
    1500bees/day@4weeks= 42,000 bees IF 15%loss=35,700
    1500bees/day@6weeks= 63,000 bees IF 15%loss=53,550
    2000bees/day@4weeks= 56,000 bees IF 15%loss=47,600
    2000bees/day@6weeks= 84,000 bees IF 15%loss=71,400
    2500bees/day@4weeks= 70,000 bees IF 15%loss=59,500
    2500bees/day@6weeks= 105,000 bees IF 15%loss=89,250
    So is 70,000 bees possible, yes. Likely? Maybe as long as the honeyflow and pollen collection is good. Also more likely with a queen that is 1 to 2 years old. Lots of factors but it would be cool to see.
    Last edited by TheRock83; 08-25-2010 at 03:34 AM. Reason: info left out originally

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    24,476

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken rice View Post
    Most of your bees were probably in the field.
    Since foraging is only one of a bee's life time jobs, I don't think so. Most of your bees are in the hive at any time.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    Posts
    96

    Default Re: How many bees in the hive?

    old tech transfer team book (ontario) puts max bees at about 100 000 early july
    a spring colony at start up 30 000

    hope that helps, that is Ontario data

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