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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Flesherton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    57

    Default How much honey do you leave for winter?

    I was wondering how much honey do you leave bees for winter?

    Do you overwinter in 2 deeps or 3 deeps?

    I don't plan to feed them anything but honey and was just wondering what would be a good number of honey frames? I'm thinking 8 frames of honey. 4 for each deep box.
    Or about 40lb of honey. Would that be enough?

    I'm thinking

    R7.5 insulation-honey-honey-pollen-bood-brood-pollen-honey-honey-R7.5 insulation

    structure for each brood box.

    Or should I do be lower box as per above and the upper box full of honey?

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Peter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cheboygan, Michigan,USA
    Posts
    86

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    I have two deeps and a medium, 3 total, 10 framed, with a Warre' quilt box on top of them.

    Fog

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
    Posts
    6,994

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    Brood size is regional and presonal preference. Have as much food as brood - deep for deep, medium for medium.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Edmonton AB Canada
    Posts
    705

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    Normally, here we don't touch the two deep 10 frame brood box....anything above it's yours.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    838

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    My 2 Cents here. . . It is critical to use the info in your local. I didn't look to see where exactly in Canada you are from, but I'd consult those that are near to you. If it's helpfull here's a link with some great info that I have found. This page is specifically on overwintering. . . http://www.beeworks.com/informationc...wintering.html
    Happy keeping!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Bartlett, Illinois
    Posts
    217

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    I find it's easiest to actually weigh your hive. The hive t(two deeps, inner cover, bottom board,... ) should weigh at lease 135 lbs in my area. Your area will definately require more. You should check what's required in your area.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,505

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    Since I lived in Sault Ste. Marie for three winters, I can assure you 40 lbs of honey will result in dead bees in the spring. Down here in the sunny south (southern Indiana) we winter in two deeps, with the top box full of honey (80 lbs or so). Probably more than is needed most years, but once in a while we get a long, snowy, cold winter. You always have a long, snowy, cold winter.

    As far north as you are, and with the length of winter you have, I'd leave an extra shallow super as well as two deep brood boxes, maybe a medium. Check with other local beeks, but I'd plan on 100 lbs of honey for your first year, then see what happens. You may be able to use just two deeps, but I'd want more myself. Winter starts early and stays late up that way!

    Peter

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    838

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    The page that I referenced above states that they overwinter in 3 deeps wrapped w/ roofing tar paper using upper entrances. I totally agree that 40# of honey will end up dead!!! Again my 2 cents is consult others that are in your area. Even a little north of you would be Ok. If it works for them then it ought to work for you. (however that may break down also as you have northern states and southern states that can't winter the same way for several reasons) I'm looking at Michael Palmer who is (I think) just a little north of me and seeking to use his advice on what's needed.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    York Region, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    55

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    I am a little south of you. Most of my hives are in 2 deeps, the rest in 1 medium and a deep. I want the top deep to be almost solid honey.
    I use an inch or so of newspaper on top of a notched inner cover with the holes open, a bottom entrance reducer and wrap in tarpaper.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Cattaraugus,New York, USA
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    I over winter my hives with 3 boxes, usually a deep and 2 mediums, but sometimes it ends up just 3 mediums. Usually there is honey left for spring build up, once in a while I have to feed, depends on the winter and how frugle the hive is with stores.
    Allegany Mtn. Bee Farm
    Quality Queens and Honey from Western New York

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Edmonton AB Canada
    Posts
    705

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    Edmonton winters are probably about the same then your area and two deep is the norm....some winter in one deep, hives are protected in winter.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    No one addressed the pollen interspersed in the interior of the overwinter cluster. Don't do that. They need solid honey/feed underfoot to provide winter warming fuel.
    Walt

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Flesherton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    No one addressed the pollen interspersed in the interior of the overwinter cluster. Don't do that. They need solid honey/feed underfoot to provide winter warming fuel.
    Walt
    So where do you place pollen frames? What is the structure of your deeps?

    Do you set this up in early September and give them at least 1 month of head start before the really cold weather starts?

    Sometimes we get snow in October in my area. Frost in September is not uncommon.

    Thanks,
    Peter

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Flesherton, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Konrad View Post
    Edmonton winters are probably about the same then your area and two deep is the norm....some winter in one deep, hives are protected in winter.
    How do you protect them?
    I'm thinking of 1.5" styrofoam boards on the outside tied with string and drywall outside corner for the corners. Then wrap the styrofoam with double aluminum bubble wrap. How much ventilation do you provide in the roof? Is 3/4" hole suffucient? Or should I do two or four holes?

    Thanks,
    Peter

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Coatesville, Pa, USA
    Posts
    838

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by wcubed View Post
    No one addressed the pollen interspersed in the interior of the overwinter cluster. Don't do that. They need solid honey/feed underfoot to provide winter warming fuel.
    Walt
    They do need pollen. If they don't have that there will be no new bees in winter. A whole frame may be overkill, however it should be intertwined in the brood chamber. How do you account for this?

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Watauga, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    366

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    I think this would be easiest if those of us in the US used USDA zones:
    http://www.garden.org/zipzone/index.php?img=nwusa

    I'm in zone 6b. I'm planning on leaving three eight frame mediums. What would the weight of that be and would that be enough? At least two of my hives are supposed to be frugal enough to survive on twenty pounds of stores, but I'm not sure... If you leave three eight frame mediums, will there be enough room for brood and sixty pounds of honey? Or do I need to leave four boxes? They've been brooding in boxes one and two, three pure honey, but in winter, won't they need less brood room?
    4.5 hives of Italians. 2 seasons of experience. And you-- yes, you! You're my mentor!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,945

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    Very seldom should you need to rearrange the hives / placement of stores ahead of winter. You generally see the cluster having moved to the bottom box with the 2nd box packed solid with honey. Sometimes the bees don't read the books and do things differently. Let them go and they should be ok. I leave the arranging of stores to them - and the quantity up to me. I have acquired a package scale and intend to weigh each hive this year to determine their fall feeding needs. Scales are not all that expensive and could be easily shared by three or four beeks - or a club for that matter. @Kazzandra - 3 mediums roughly equates in volume to 2 deeps. I would think that in NC you should be able to over winter in three boxes without issue - but be sure to check with your fellow beeks and listen to the voice of regional experience. Keep in mind too that keeping bees in medium boxes is a relatively new (last 20 years or so) phenomenon so you may find lots of expertise - just not the particular expertise you are looking for.
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Edmonton AB Canada
    Posts
    705

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    Quote Originally Posted by af_newbie View Post
    How do you protect them?
    I'm thinking of 1.5" styrofoam boards on the outside tied with string and drywall outside corner for the corners. Then wrap the styrofoam with double aluminum bubble wrap. How much ventilation do you provide in the roof? Is 3/4" hole suffucient? Or should I do two or four holes?

    Thanks,
    Peter
    I use 4 sheets of 1" Styrofoam...think have used some heavier one's in the past but not needed, put into a garbage bag, the front has two slots for bottom and top entrance, these I extend with a slotted 2X4 . Yes, tie the sides together with strings, I have a 3rd. empty box on top and put in some insulation also. The side sheets I make long enough to cover about 1/2 of the the 3rd. box.
    Top entrance will be your notch in the hive cover, you still need air circulation in winter. Make sure you tilt
    the hive slightly forward so condensation can run forward and down,....and not on top of bees, this can be death to a colony.
    Some guy's just use cardboard from a box or roofing paper. The bee supply store sells hive covers....not sure what they look like but they work.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Elkton, Giles, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    1,346

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    About the pollen thing:
    The colony does NOT need pollen in the winter brood nest to rear brood. Winter brood is fed protein from fat bodies of the nurse bees. The young bees reared in the fall eat a lot of pollen to fatten up for that purpose. Cluster shrinkage in early winter will often cause the colony to lose contact with the residual outside pollen used for fall brood rearing. Not a problem.

    As for how much honey to leave for wintering, there is a factor often overlooked by beeks and not treated in your training. Pertains to whether or not the colony gets their broodnest backfilled with nectar during broodnest closeout in the fall. They normally get it done in the southeast - but not always. In more northerly areas (Canada would qualify) the colony would still have substantial brood when field forage is frozen out. No way to backfill the broodnest and the colony is not going to winter over empty cells. They relocate the cluster upward onto solid capped honey. Have seen it happen here in TN a couple of seasons out of 20.

    When they relocate up on capped honey, they left behind the wintering broodnest that they had been preparing for a couple of months. The pollen and honey at the outsides of the winter nest are now out of reach. But they can make do on vitellogenin stored in the fat bodies for midwinter brood rearing. The point is that the weight of that lower box doesn't count for wintering success. A scale hive generally will not tell you whether or not the lower box got properly backfilled. Eyeball it in October. Feed syrup if necessary.

    ZZ:
    You are absolutely right about the applicability of the hardiness zone map. Latitude is not relevant for either east or west coastal areas. The inland mountain chains shield the coastal areas from the arctic blasts entering this country in north central US and moving into the quadrant from east to south. PA straddles the mountains and has 3 different zones.
    I'm in the outer fringe of 6 and very much like your area in native forage. I can winter in a single deep that is properly backfilled in late fall. and a deep/shallow is a cinch. But the small quarters makes it very easy for the colony to meet swarm requirements in the spring.

    Walt

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,316

    Default Re: How much honey do you leave for winter?

    >I'm planning on leaving three eight frame mediums. What would the weight of that be and would that be enough?

    That would be equivalent to the norm for you location. A deep and a shallow is typical. You'd have that same volume.

    80 to 100 pounds total weight (not food, but everything except the bricks on top) would be a good weight for that going into your winter, but locals could give a better estimate.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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