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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

Currently planning to get started next year - likely with a few Apimaye hives. Have been researching different box size combinations and right now, 1 deep with everything else being medium seems to make the most sense to me. I am just trying to determine if 1 deep plus a medium would be enough honey to get the bees through a northern Rockies winter. While I’ve been able to figure out how much honey a medium will hold and how much honey is suggested to have in the hive for winter - can you generally count on any honey in the lowest deep brood box at all headed into winter?

Curious what this might generally be in terms of number of frames or amount in pounds, etc. Thanks for any input!
 

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As far as quantifying honey in the hive. Weigh weigh weigh. With standard equipment, winter weights are pretty widely known. With non-standard, I'd suggest that you can work backwards and figure it out. But for Langstroth equipment, it's pretty easy to translate to your configuration.

Regarding one deep with all mediums. If you're sold on that, then I would just go all mediums and be done with it. To me it makes no sense for a hobby person to do something like that (one deep + mediums). I personally run triple deep wintering configurations and honey harvest is out of medium supers. I do not run queen excluders. If you've got a deep with a bunch of mediums you will absolute have a bunch of brood in the mediums unless you use excluders. And in that case, you're likely to have a lot of swarms with just the single brood box without some pretty intense colony management compared to other methods (look into single deep systems, certainly possible, I think Crazy Roland on here does it and has described the system). It's personally 'not for me'.

While I do not myself run all deeps or all mediums, I see the advantages in both ways and have more than once thought that having all deeps might have been a better option for me. But dangit they are heavy when they're full of honey. As far as weights, it matters how many frames you put in them. In a 10 frame medium with 8 frames, I usually figure on an average of about 30 pounds of extracted honey. Some a little more, some a little less depending how full they made the outside frames. With 10 frames in the medium, a little less than the 30 pounds. For a 10 frame deep with 10 frames, I think I usually guess at 45ish pounds of extracted honey. Deeps seem to take a lot more time to extract and for whatever reason, the honey in them seems not to extract as well. I try to completely avoid extracting from deep frames and instead hold them to distribute as 'feed' in the late summer/fall to colonies that need it instead of feeding syrup.

These are just my eye balling estimates when I'm trying to size up how big of an extraction project I have. It seems to be pretty close most of the time on average, though it might not be the most accurate estimate for an individual box (if that makes sense).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks - lots of food for thought! My plan had been to let them use 1 deep and 1 medium with no excluder to start spring and then use an excluder later in spring, so that I could ladder frames from the medium up to the medium super on top of that to encourage activity there as well as straight comb in a possible foundationless super.

Will certainly dive into weighing the whole hive. Really curious how many lbs / frames of honey they might be inclined to store in the deep with a medium on top, if the medium was full and headed into winter…and if that’s enough storage space (1 deep and 1 medium) for enough honey as the medium alone sounds borderline. Any ideas how much they’d generally store in the bottom deep headed into winter?
 

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A full medium frame of honey weighs about 6 pounds, and a full deep frame about 8. Depending on the size of your hive (8 versus 10 frame) you can pencil out what the deep/medium combo would be able to pack away. I'm trying a deep/medium combo this year; I know folks in this area successfully overwinter in single deeps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks! Any ideas how much of the bottom deep brood box is typically used for honey storage / backfilled going into winter? My understanding is the outer frames are typically utilized for this but curious if that’s just 2 frames, 4 frames, etc….or if it just depends. :)
 

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HiveTime it is "ALL" used / utilized.
if the bees can break cluster they can get to any honey if they cannot they use the honey covered buy the cluster.
in spring there is warm in the day time to break cluster every day and still no bloom so they then use the "edge and bottom" honey

I use 8 frame and have 16 deep frames instead of 10, 60% more and I like the winter utilization of the stores better than 10F as with 10F they can go by honey and still starve, if cold enough. also the weight of the 8F ware is more to my liking as I age. for me here in Michigan, I like 4 box either D+D+D+M or D+D+M+M in any order as I treat the M brood boxes the same, so they can be in the middle or bottom of the stack. I also ladder up the none brood M frames in spring to get them going in supers.

IF in your opinion they do not use the honey in the bottom, then your setup needs thought IMO.

try a couple of each of 3 or 4 setups, keep race the same and see what works best for you, each locale can be different.
IE do not copy someone from Fla or TX, maybe down the street.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Gray Goose. Understood they can break the cluster to use the stores located throughout the hive if the temp is right. Is there a guideline of how many frames the hive should utilize / backfill in a single deep brood box going into fall / winter for honey stores? I am reading that if too many are used, they can become honey bound with no room to raise winter bees.
 

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Thanks Gray Goose. Understood they can break the cluster to use the stores located throughout the hive if the temp is right. Is there a guideline of how many frames the hive should utilize / backfill in a single deep brood box going into fall / winter for honey stores? I am reading that if too many are used, they can become honey bound with no room to raise winter bees.
I guess they "could" over fill, IMO they would swarm first.

I cannot offer insight on single deep for winter as I winter in 3 or 4 boxes, I like the comb depth and the cluster space the 3-4 box gives and never have the Insufficient space for brood issue.

Others can perhaps offer comment.
my guess is 2/3 full of honey, 1/6 full of pollen, 1/6th of empty comb. that would be for Michigan.

however it depends on where you are, perhaps add in your Profile your location and the advice can be more accurate.

GG
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Gray Goose. I’m in the northern Rockies so winters are long and cold. I see up to around 90lbs of stores are usually suggested. Have definitely done the local research but everyone has a different configuration. Sounds like with a single deep and a full medium the hive could be at the 90lbs or more of stored honey going into winter however. Looking at Apimaye hives so hope consumption would be less, of course some say it will be more.
 

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Thanks Gray Goose. I’m in the northern Rockies so winters are long and cold. I see up to around 90lbs of stores are usually suggested. Have definitely done the local research but everyone has a different configuration. Sounds like with a single deep and a full medium the hive could be at the 90lbs or more of stored honey going into winter however. Looking at Apimaye hives so hope consumption would be less, of course some say it will be more.
its not more, I have some insulated hives, they "Need" less heat if less heat escapes.

with that said I do not have Italians, I have Russian mutts and they know to stop brooding in the fall.

GG
 

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I'm in NE Oregon (USDA zone 4A) and have had my share of trouble wintering my colonies. My current set up is all 8 frames, I use 2 Deeps for brood chambers and will add deeps or mediums for honey. I currently winter my hives in an uninsulated shed that I can close up in the winter (always have an opening for cleansing flights and no glass for them to get trapped on) and open in the spring and make sure I have insulated tops for them. My winter survival rate has improved with moving into the shed.

Last winter we had a very early and intense cold snap and I lost most of my colonies since they were still on brood at the time. I think I will order some Russians for next year.
 

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I'm in NE Oregon (USDA zone 4A) and have had my share of trouble wintering my colonies. My current set up is all 8 frames, I use 2 Deeps for brood chambers and will add deeps or mediums for honey. I currently winter my hives in an uninsulated shed that I can close up in the winter (always have an opening for cleansing flights and no glass for them to get trapped on) and open in the spring and make sure I have insulated tops for them. My winter survival rate has improved with moving into the shed.

Last winter we had a very early and intense cold snap and I lost most of my colonies since they were still on brood at the time. I think I will order some Russians for next year.
I use the "shed" idea as well.
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Also am transitioning to 8 frame.

I found an old article about Buckeye hives.

Test driving 5 of them this year.

keep trying, there is a way.

GG




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That is very nice, your "shed" is nicer than mine. I eventually want to do that exact thing in my barn. I will have to look at the Buckeye hive, it looks interesting. Do you have any suggestions on a Russian queen breeder, I think I would like to try some next year.
 

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That is very nice, your "shed" is nicer than mine. I eventually want to do that exact thing in my barn. I will have to look at the Buckeye hive, it looks interesting. Do you have any suggestions on a Russian queen breeder, I think I would like to try some next year.
PMed you

GG
 

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A certain number of pounds of honey is misleading. It depends how big yiur cluster is. We overwinter nucs all the time. There is no way we can fit 90# of honey in a 5 or 8 frame deep nuc. Here in upstate NY with carniolan mutts 5/8 of the comb with honey is sufficient and i start checking stores in february thaw and again towards the end of March. In rare occasions thry need feed. The only starve outs ive had were when my day job confilcted with fall assessments so i didnt get feed on some nucs. Err on the high side and then experiment. Good luck!
 
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