I noted the commercial guy down the road leaves two deep boxes for winter. He does wrap them and leaves entrances open. I assume one brood box and one filled with capped honey? All the posts on this wed site forum recommend leaving more honey for the winter. I am assuming that in our cold winters our bees are less active and therefore require les honey to make it through the winter. Does this make sense to you guys and gals?
I will take a shot at this. I thought that I had read that anything warmer then 40 degrees used more honey and anything colder then 40 degrees F. used more honey.
Now the question is do you believe everything you read? To me the above makes sense though.
Your theory of active bees consume more is right but the food requirements are also based on length of winter. I bet the commercial guy knows exactly how much honey he needs in frames (probably 15). Your bees will collect a little pollen and nectar at 8 C. or 46 F. but nothing substantial til 12 C. or 54 F (non rainy) so how long is your winter? (months without a positive food flow). I know from experience how much honey I need at each of my bee yards and each is different (i.e. 10 frames or 60 lbs in my Vancouver bee yard). Your theory is correct in that a freaky warm October for us can mean very active bees with not much food (major consumption).
Opto, all the feed they can store is what you need. My bucket feeders are still on, covered by medium supers. Trying to get them to fill the 3rd deep up top. 2 of them have, 2 not so much, and the 5 over 5 nuc is solid honey, pollen, and bees.
All will get a sugar board, a quilt board for moisture control, and insulation.
February to April are our critical times up here; 53rd parallel, east of the Rockies.
Some warm days, chinooks, followed by deep freezes, repeated for several months.
A 2-deep needs to have about 80-90 lbs of stores up here, and more is better.
Last year my 2-deep starved in February ( I was on vacation) but the 3-deep made it fine.
PM me if you want, I'm out west of you
53N 115W El.850M