How much honey to leave for winter if I'm trying to not feed
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    United States
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    12

    Default How much honey to leave for winter if I'm trying to not feed

    I'm new to this and trying treatment free including no feeding sugar or syrup unless absolutely needed. I use all 8 frame mediums, have 4 hives, and I'm in the Pacific northwest. I'm trying to figure out how much honey I need to leave each hive before I get too excited and harvest it all. I do realize I have a bit before I need to know this. But I love planning ahead.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Red Bud, IL, USA
    Posts
    1,801

    Default Re: How much honey to leave for winter if I'm trying to not feed

    Beekeeping is very localized, where are you located?
    “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    12

    Default Re: How much honey to leave for winter if I'm trying to not feed

    I'm in southern oregon. We have a mild winter. It goes below freezing at night every once in a while. I have read about 70-80 pounds of honey, but I assume that is for 10 frame deeps. Can I leave less for 8 frame mediums--or is the remaining winter cluster about the same regardless of size of summer hive?

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rensselaer County, NY, USA
    Posts
    5,534

    Default Re: How much honey to leave for winter if I'm trying to not feed

    Size of equipment doesn't dictate how much to leave. With 8-frame mediums you'll need to leave more frames, than you would in 10-frame boxes/frames.

    For example, if you do need 70-80 lbs of honey, that's 10 deep frames or 13 or 14 medium frames. Medium frames being roughly 2/3 the size of a deep. If using 8-frame medium equipment that means you'd need to leave nearly two boxes full of just honey.

    Now a much smaller colony, say the size of a nuc (or even a double nuc) might need less chow simply because there are fewer mouths to feed.

    Frankly, I think the health of bees well-supplied with calories from sugar is better than bees that teeter on the edge of starvation all winter due to short supplies of honey. Honey, is of course a more natural, complex, food, and thus presumably better for them in the long run than cane sugar. But lack of calories is worse, than the use of sugar. And it is very cheap insurance in case of unexpectedly high needs. For the cost of a nuc in my area (~$175) you can buy nearly four hundred pounds of Domino's cane sugar.

    Nancy

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, USA
    Posts
    183

    Default Re: How much honey to leave for winter if I'm trying to not feed

    Find out your area's rule of thumb from a local bee club for weight. Your mild temperatures are not necessarily requiring less stores for over winter success. Also dependent upon cluster size/breed, brood rearing (breed), the length of time with no forage (4 months vs. 6 months), etc.

    I generally winter 4 high.
    Regards,
    KGB-8Fmed

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Dane County, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,879

    Default Re: How much honey to leave for winter if I'm trying to not feed

    Quote Originally Posted by meganmarie View Post
    I'm new to this and trying treatment free including no feeding sugar or syrup unless absolutely needed....
    I think you need to figure out the definition of "treatment free" vs. "chemical free" first.
    It is being discussed.

    I am "chemical free" and will feed sugar (hard or liquid) without a second thought if need to set/save a worthy colony.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

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