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Yeah, I guess, sometimes I might look at a strong hive and seeing all of those bees I do wonder how many there are. Then, since it is beyond my ability to count them, those elusive buggers, I'm just grateful for a strong hive. One the other extreme, when there areso few that I can count them I know there is something wrong and I am in trouble.

When someone asks me how many bees are there in a hive I tell them between 40,000 and 60,000, depending on the time of year. That usually satisfies them.

I imagine that someone has an answer for you, like a standard deep frame covered w/ bees would have x number of bees on it. I don't know that number.

I thought that perhaps you were asking because of something going on in your hive.
 

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I had heard the best way to do this was to count their legs and divide by four..... OK, just trying to add some humor. I once asked the question of how to tell how many geese were in a flock and was told this too (divide by two).
 

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Yeah, brac. The hind appendages are legs and the front two appendages are arms. Everybody knows that. Sheesh. :)
 

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IIRC, there is a formula that involves counting the number of field bees coming and going from the hive per minute, and gives a rough estimate of bee population based on bee traffic. I don't recall the exact formula though. Maybe someone else knows it, or you may be able to find it in a search. I know it has been discussed before.
 

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I say 40,251.. sorry one was just born 40,252.. opps one of the forgers just got smashed 40,251.

But, when I tell them I have 35 hives in the back yard and each has 50k in bee's there eyes get really big, I can see the math happening in their head and they cancel on coming to my 4th of July BBQ. Almost 2 Million bee's makes people uneasy. :scratch:
 

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Estimating the number of bees from D. Sammataro's Beekeeper's Handbook:

[paraphrased] Count the number of bees returning to the hive for 1 minute (B/M). To estimate the number of deep frames of bees in the colony, B/M times 30 minutes X .0005 = numbers of deep frames of bees. The .0005 assumes one deep frame, covered both sides, contains 2000 bees. The 30 minutes assumes the amount of time one bee needs to make a return trip.

I've never done this personally; it'd be interesting to see how many bees (for example) cover a medium frame which is what I use. Actually, it would be interesting to try this formula and see if it has much correlation to cutout colony size.
 

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"I think it's an obvious question when you see a large number of something. Don't you wonder sometimes?"

A project for Adam Foster Collins:

This thread makes me want to make a one inch grid using brightly colored string or fishing line. You can put it in front of one side of frames with varying amounts of bees; take photos and count the number of bees in each one inch square and get an estimate of how many bees are on one frame. Use your computer. Those with with Adobe Photoshop probably wouldn't have to make a grid. Multiply by number of frames in the hive. The center 3-4 frames probably have more bees; the outer ones have less.

Here's the formula for adding field bees or bees in the hive but not on frames,....:scratch:,

How close in number do you want to be, A.F. Collins?
 

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Some of the books that I have say that a really large northern colony will have up to 60,000 bees, so many people who don't have any idea what the author had in mind all have 60,000 bee colonies. It is an interesting question, I think that few have any idea. Most of the time when I hear the answers I stop believing the people who know,:lookout: especially when they consistently don't know how many frames of brood they have.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Honestly, I have read or heard about bee numbers so many times (like there are x bees in a package, or x bees in a large colony, etc) that I assumed that there must be some formula for getting a fairly solid estimate of bees in a hive.

Maybe there isn't. In which case, it would be cool thing to come up with.

Adam
 

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X number of bees in a package is sorta easy to figure if you know how many bees there are per pound. Is it 3,000? I don't buy packages so that is one of those bits of data that I haven't memorized.

So, to figure out how many bees there are in your hive, you could weigh the whole thing, figure out the weight of the wooden ware, subtract that, figure out the weight of the combs of brood and honey, subtract that and you should have the weight of the bees left. Do the per pound math computation and that's how many bees you have.

Is an accurate number really worth all that? I guess if there was a really important reason to know perhaps it would be.
 

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Why don't you just vacuum up every bee in the hive (at night probably), then let them out of a jar one by one. To prevent errors, you should mark each bee before releasing it.

Time consuming, but effective!
 

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I only have one estimate. When someone ask me how bees are in that der box. I say (4 letter word) Load!
 

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Maybe Chuck Norris could kick a hive over and then, w/ a supersize scanner, one could get a count of all of the bees chasing Chuck. Then he could snatch them out of the air and put them back into the hive.

Chuck Norris didn't get his Honey from a hive. ;)
 
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