Re: How much to leave for winter?
nerd, looks like you are getting some really good advice here. one thing to factor in is that not all winters are the same. what i did last year was to weigh my hives going into winter, and then check the weight as spring approached. if you have an idea of how much honey you have to start with, you can estimate how much has been used.
most folks in my area overwinter in a single deep lang with one medium of honey on top. that turned out to be more than enough stores for the mild winter we had last year for my five established colonies.
i also had five nucs that i overwintered that were 5 - 7 frames each. they were slighty more that half filled with stores going into winter, and i ended up having to give them sugar patties in the spring.
beekeeping since june 2010, +/- 20 hives, tf