Leaving enough honey
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2014
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    Default Leaving enough honey

    A local Beek told me to leave about 60# of honey for winter per hive. The other day, I extracted (4) medium frames and got 8 lbs of honey. That means 16 lbs per medium 8-frame box, or (4) mediums of honey on top of 3 mediums for brood. Sounds like a lot of boxes to me...
    Three swarms, one queen added to brood from each of two purchased nucs (in deeps) for a total of 6 hives

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Cumberland Va.
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    Hmm, I would have figured more honey in 4 frames. Sure feels heavier. I will see soon enough, I will be extracting my first crop this weekend or next. Will report. Good Luck. G

  4. #3
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    Fort Gay, WV, USA
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    Should be getting more like about 35-40 lbs of honey from a full medium, 30-35 on a full shallow, and near 80 on a full deep. These figures are what i've been told and seen others get from their hives in general..

    I've been told between 50-60 lbs for my hive for winter stores, which i run all deep 8 frame so i figure the top box full and they got it made..
    Thomas Bartram

  5. #4
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    Jan 2011
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    Great Falls Montana
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    I seldom get more than 65 pounds out of a deep and 45 out of a medium. I have never weighed a medium frame full but a deep weighs 7 pounds as a good average.

  6. #5
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    Crown Point, NY, USA
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    Also remember guys some people use 8,9,10, and 11 frame spacing so the amount is gonna vary quite abit. Average deep frame with 10 frame spacing is prolly around 7-8 pounds.

  7. #6
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    Humboldt Co., California
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    Good question and one I have wondered about.

    The amount to leave, I would think, would also have to include some fairly large quantities of honey in the brood chambers (on the periphery).

    I want to get down to just a couple of boxes of bees to overwinter, so how do I calculate what to actually leave? Just guestimate what is in the frames and then add in some from the honey supers?

  8. #7
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    Belpre,Ohio, USA
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    All depends on your location, here in southern Ohio it's advisable to go into winter with at least 1 deep of stores above a deep brood chamber, there are beekeepers who will use 1 medium of stores above a deep brood chamber and call it " hive and a half," I think it is wise though to look further ahead then just winter and think about how much of the stores will be used for spring build up.
    Bill...in Southeast Ohio Zone 6A, Never look down on anybody unless you are helping them up

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    An old bathroom scale and a two foot square piece of plywood tells me when they have enough. I tilt the hive sideways and put the plywood down and position the scale so when I rock the hive to the other side it sits squarely on the scale. Then I balance the scale and look for a weight of 125 to 150 for a double deep. Less I feed them and more I check to see if they are queenless and have backfilled the broodnest. A colony that is solid honey has little room to cluster and needs some empty comb for that purpose. They winter better with some empty frames in the center.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Ash Grove MO. USA.
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    I've always averaged a quart of honey per medium frame. Some make more, some less but around 30 lb to a ten frame box.

    My bees are Russian ferel mutts and will winter on nothing. So if you have Itialians don't pay this any mind.

    Mine will get thru the winter with no noticeable depletion of stores. Once spring buildup starts say around Febuary they go thru a lot. They will starve to death in march.

    As soon as the temps start getting above 50 I start feeding a little to boost spring buildup.
    I bring single deeps thru every year and am yet to lose my first one. These usually have 4 frames full and some on the other frames. I'd like them to weigh 50 lb or better but have brought several thru that didn't weigh over 35 lb in October.

    Once I brought one thru with about two frames of honey and ten lbs of damp sugar on the top bars. Long story, this was not by choice nor ideal but it worked.

    In my double deeps October will see the top deep completely full. Feb 1 it will look the same way. By the time nectar starts coming in it will have a honey band above the brood but will not have a frame of capped honey anywhere.

    If I wasn't wanting to feed in the early spring I'd want my hives to weigh 100 lbs minimum. 150 being better.
    Woody Roberts

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    How did you extract? If you used an extractor did you spin them long enough? 2 pounds of honey per frame is way light.

  12. #11
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    jackson county, alabama, usa
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    Quote Originally Posted by F6Hawk View Post
    A local Beek told me to leave about 60# of honey for winter per hive. The other day, I extracted (4) medium frames and got 8 lbs of honey. That means 16 lbs per medium 8-frame box, or (4) mediums of honey on top of 3 mediums for brood. Sounds like a lot of boxes to me...

    by the time the first frost gets here they will have over half of those bottom three boxes filled with honey.
    as far south as you are i would guess four eight frame medium boxes would be enough for overwintering.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  13. #12
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    Cookeville, TN, USA
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    No matter how much you leave there is a long, hot - probably dry - summer still ahead. If you leave 60 pounds of honey that equals about $300 retail in my neck of the woods.

    So what if they eat all of it during dearth between now and fall? Then you have to spend another $30 to get them back up to weight for winter - leaving you $30 in the hole.

    Whereas if you take just half of it now and sell it for $150 then even if you have to replace it now with $45 worth of sugar ($15 for the 30 lb you rob, and $30 to get them up to 60 lb in the fall) you are still in the black by $105. Not counting other expenses of course.

    If you take $150-200 worth of honey, eventually you will have a vested financial interest in keeping your bees healthy - not just a casual (hobby type) one.

    One way is a hobby that costs money and the other is a hobby that makes a bit of money - and a lot more motivation to keep your bees fed and healthy year after year. And a lot different point of view for your wife if you decide you want 25 hives.

    So in theory, making a profit is in the long term interest of the bees - in theory.

    Just a thought.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    Where is my like button!

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    Where is my like button!
    Ditto too! But you need to have a brood break in July-early August, drop med for mites during that time and then feed like crazy to get them up to 60 lbs going in to late fall so it's tricky.
    Most of my bees are carni mutts so they will slow down on eating during the hot months but the tricky part is getting the population back up before the end of September. The italians that I keep in another yard will just go crazy and rob each other for three months.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    makes sense david. so far i've not seen a colony go through anywhere near 2 supers of honey to get through the summer dearth here. i suppose it could happen if we got into an extreme drought though. my bees are brood breaking or at least brooding very little during that time and really don't go through that much of their stores. last year the abundance of rain keep a little field forage available from the end of the main flow pretty much until the fall blooms arrived. the other thing i've noticed is that they really don't start burning through much of their winter stores until february when brooding starts back up. i found that leaving two supers of honey over the single deep is more than is necessary, even for getting a strong spring build up. i am extracting some frames from last year that they didn't even use.
    journaling the growth of a (mite) treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #16
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    Mar 2014
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    With a small 2-frame tangential Dadant. Going to try a bigger, motorized radial tomorrow on 6 frames. As for long enough, I have no idea, cuz I am on my own. But it APPEARED there wasn't much left in the combs.

    Quote Originally Posted by shannonswyatt View Post
    How did you extract? If you used an extractor did you spin them long enough? 2 pounds of honey per frame is way light.
    Three swarms, one queen added to brood from each of two purchased nucs (in deeps) for a total of 6 hives

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    You probably extracted most of the honey just fine. It doesn't take a lot of spinning with a tangential extracter. Mine holds 3 in tang position and 6 radial. Other than having to flip them tangential is far faster than radial extracting and requires much lower speed. Your comb probably wasn't fully drawn and filled. It will get better.
    Since '09-75H-T-Z6b

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    I think a full medium will hold more than your calculations. In my 10 frame mediums I usually get 35-40 pounds of honey. That's assuming they're wall to wall capped. Not all of them are. Going into the winter, you want a heavy hive. I don't worry so much about the total weight of honey in the supers, I just want my hive to be heavy. Takes a little practice but you'll get the hang of whether or not it's full of stores.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  20. #19
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    May 2010
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    Knox County, Ohio
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    Back to your original question. Only leave your 3 medium brood boxes for winter. There is adequate space in 3 - 8 frame medium boxes to over winter a cluster of bees and their stores. Do Not leave extra honey supers on over winter!!! The decisions you need to make for your area are; when do I take the honey supers off, and do I need to feed them in the fall to build up stores if they don't have the 60 pounds needed??

    If you had one of those massive colonies going into fall you might leave a 4th box but it would be unusual that it would be needed.
    Beekeeping: "Know the Rules and Learn the Art"

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Leaving enough honey

    Give this a try. Next time weigh a frame (I wouldn't bother doing them all) before you extract it. A kitchen scale that can go up to 10 pounds should be fine. You are just doing ball park. Then after you extract it weigh it again. I don't what it should weigh when fully extracted (maybe someone else can chime in) but it should be pretty light. The only frame I have that is dry and it is bone dry, no way you will get it that light.

    I have heard some people say they like putting them on weight with some weight left so they refill them quickly.

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