how much is enough ?????
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Joliet, il

    Default how much is enough ?????

    Im new here as i stated in my past posts. And im learning alot just by reading different threads. But im reading almost the same threads started by different people. The threads basically ask should they feed the bees now during winter. Im just going to ask. How much or how many deeps do you leave the hive for winter food. My 2 hives will consist of 4 deep supers. I have children who are in the teens and myself, so im not worried about the weight. So once all the deeps are full maybe this year or next. how do you figure how much for you and how much to leave. Im not greedy i only want honey for my family and what i paid for bees i dont want them to starve. Do you have to buy patties, give them sugar or syrup or can you leave them enough honey to get thru winter with thier own stores.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Paulding County, GA

    Default Re: how much is enough ?????

    I think that your question may not have an exact answer. Over-wintering bees depends a lot on location and the winter that they go through. I will list a few of the variables that I am aware of.

    Winter temps.

    Characteristics of type of bee. (Size and activity of the winter cluster)

    Amount of bees going into winter. I think this is one area where I have not succeeded. I am reluctant to combine small hives with the larger ones, resulting in loss of small cluster that can't handle the cold.

    Mite load can have as much impact as the amount of stores.

    I don't think that you have to buy patties or give them sugar or syrup, but keep in mind that sometimes clusters are found dead with store only a frame away as they try to take care of the small amount of brood within the hive.

    *disclaimer* I am not an expert and am still trying to master these same principles for Georgia, when we can have lots of days for the girls to fly, but not bring in any resources.
    Last edited by 22DPac; 01-18-2015 at 07:47 AM. Reason: mispelling

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Pleasant Shade, TN

    Default Re: how much is enough ?????

    They WILL consist or DO consist? I have found that the bees decide how much comb to make and fill.
    As to how much stores....I overwinter in either singles or doubles (no honey supers)without issue. Just be sure they have plenty of capped stores by the onset of winter. Just my $.02 worth.
    A man is worth just as much as the things about which he busies himself- Marcus Aurelius

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Shreveport, Louisiana, USA

    Default Re: how much is enough ?????

    "Do you have to buy patties, give them sugar or syrup or can you leave them enough honey to get thru winter with thier own stores."

    The answer to your question is very dependent on your location and your breed of bees. We have not fed any this winter or fall, and all are well. We don't feed unless there is a specific reason for doing so. We try to leave the bees enough honey for reasonably expected conditions. Our hives are mostly eight frame mediums, and depending on the size of the hive, we leave about four total boxes on hives for brood and food. We check the hives' stores closely in very early spring because the risk is highest in our area when it's been warm enough for the bees to fly and there has been no nectar flowing. Good form with the children and the hobby. Cheers,
    David Matlock

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA

    Default Re: how much is enough ?????

    > Do you have to buy patties, give them sugar or syrup or can you leave them enough honey to get thru winter with their own stores.

    One way that may be helpful to you is to weigh the hive(s) to determine an approximate weight. Some experienced beeks just lift up one side with their hands, but an inexpensive scale can be used also. Here is one example ....

    Photo from this thread:

    Note in that thread references to hive weight (130 lbs etc). That may vary based on your equipment and location, but you can get a pretty good idea from weighing.

    Another similar thread:

    One you have determined a target weight, and if your hives are not at the weight you want, feeding sugar is one way to add weight. And if you determine partway through winter that they are lacking stores, sugar is suitable to feed.

    If by "patties" you are referring to pollen substitute patties, they are not appropriate unless you are expecting the hive to be raising brood in the immediate future. Patties that have protein also have indigestible solids, and in an Illinois winter that means bees will have to poop more frequently. Since cleansing flight opportunities may be few in winter, avoid pollen sub and stick to sugar. Sugar is highly digestible by bees, so it is a much better winter feed. Adult bees have very minimal pollen consumption as pollen and substitutes are mostly consumed by nurse bees needing to feed larvae royal jelly.

    Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 01-18-2015 at 08:33 AM.
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft


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