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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    16

    Default How much honey do I leave the bees?

    My bee mentor, who has been right about most things, is telling me to extract all the honey the bees leave in my supers. The bees have their own honey in the brood boxes that they use through the winter, he says, and you can feed them sugar and water in the spring. All of his hives survived last winter by the way, with no extra honey.

    However, most of the people in my bee meetup group tell me to leave them some honey. Does anyone out there think they don't need extra honey from supers to over-winter? (I am in Chicago so we have tough and long winters.) If no, how much honey should I leave them? If I leave a super on all winter for them, doesn't it freeze in really cold weather? How do they get to it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    3,075

    Default Re: How much honey do I leave the bees?

    I left them a deep last year and they really did not touch it until spring. When they started building up in March they went through it fairly fast. So either leave them honey or be ready to feed in the spring. I think a single hive could plow through about 5 gallons of sugar water in a couple of weeks during build up. no measuring their just a guesstimate. I will be leaving a med super on each hive this fall. I woudl rather have the insurance that honey is already on the hive than miss the start of the build up.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Starkville, MS
    Posts
    300

    Default Re: How much honey do I leave the bees?

    The key is how strong the hive is going into winter. The stronger the hive (numbers of bees), the more honey they can and will use. If u have two deeps and there are barely enough bees to cover all frames, then when winter hits and they go into cluster mode, the two deeps (with a good amount of honey stores) should be enough. You have to take into account the severity of your winter. Bees cluster to keep warm, if it is extremely cold, more boxes are just more area the cluster has to heat. If they can't keep the hive warm enough all over, they will starve with plenty of stores available to them because it is simply too cold away from the cluster for them to get to the honey.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: How much honey do I leave the bees?

    http://bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm

    I follow Doolittles "millions in the bank" plan. If the bees have a lot of stores to burn to build brood they will build brood in the spring. If they don't they will hold off for the flow. I adjust the amount of honey for winter to the amount of brood.

    http://bushfarms.com/beesulbn.htm
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,344

    Default Re: How much honey do I leave the bees?

    "I adjust the amount of honey for winter to the amount of brood."

    What brood is this referring to? The amount of brood that is still being raised in the fall, the amount of brood at the peak of the season, what you expect the brood to be in the spring?

    Do bees raise brood all winter long but in lower numbers? Does the queen totally stop laying in the winter leaving no brood until she starts again in the spring?

    If you have a strong deep with brood and honey stores how much extra honey in supers does one leave in place for each deep? Do you have to leave an entire super or can you take the honey filed frames out of a super and place honey frames in a number of brood boxes? If so do you put them at the outer edge of the deep so as to not interfere so much with the brood or wintering ball of bees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: How much honey do I leave the bees?

    >What brood is this referring to? The amount of brood that is still being raised in the fall, the amount of brood at the peak of the season, what you expect the brood to be in the spring?

    Sorry, I meant to say the size of the cluster in the brood boxes, but yes, they will raise brood from time to time during the winter. Usually in spurts.

    >If you have a strong deep with brood and honey stores how much extra honey in supers does one leave in place for each deep? Do you have to leave an entire super or can you take the honey filed frames out of a super and place honey frames in a number of brood boxes? If so do you put them at the outer edge of the deep so as to not interfere so much with the brood or wintering ball of bees.

    My minimum is one frame of capped honey for each frame of bees. My maximum (and preferred) is two frames of capped honey for each frame of bees. Two gives them enough to build up well, early in the spring. One give them enough to get them to spring without starving.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Flora,IL
    Posts
    2,644

    Default Re: How much honey do I leave the bees?

    Michael, very good number ! question, do you stack it in any particular order????

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,341

    Default Re: How much honey do I leave the bees?

    I do what I have time to do. Usually I manage by the box so if it's a strong hive, I just heft it and leave things where they are. If it's a weak hive, I might move some full combs down by the cluster to replace empty combs and compress the hive more to insure they can get to stores and they don't move into empty comb or have to cross empty comb. Other than not, no particular order.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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