They burn a frame of honey for every frame of brood they rear, so if they are actively rearing three combs of open brood, they will burn up three combs of honey to feed them and that would take about 8 days before they are fed and capped. Adjust for the amount of open brood...
That sounds like a simple question, but is actually one of the most complex questions that can be asked. Around here they are almost always feeding brood with a mixture of stored honey and fresh nectar, so the amount of honey used varies widely.
Some of the variables:
- state of present honey stores - warm/cold, crystalized/partially-crystallized/not crystalized (crystalized would need more water to reliquify)
- ambient temperature outside the hive
- relative humidity
- availability of forage
- strength, competence, and availability of foragers (many could be needed to forage water for cooling)
- availability of water in forage range (honey needs dilution with water for feeding brood)
- availability of and sugar concentration of available nectar (if fresh nectar is available, they will likely use it -vs- stored honey)
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