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I understand this is another loaded question with many different parameters, but I would really appreciate specific answers (or experienced-based guesses) to the following:

When coming out of winter with X number of frames of bees. How much honey do they consume when pollen comes in and they start brooding to get them to X amount of bees. Or something like my strong hive weighed X on Feb1 and only X on March 15.

My reasoning for asking is a classy problem. I put feeder rims on most of mine and they have used very little honey. We had a few nights at 15, then the recent cold snap that buried much of the country. I was in a deep with 2 mediums (90% capacity) last weekend. They had brood front and back about 4" diameter on 3 frames and without eating, they don't have much real estate to lay an egg.

I haven't really paid attention this early in the season before and I know there are folks on here who could spitball the amounts down to a fraction of a pound or kg or whatever. Thanks! :)
 

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It varies a lot depending on the strength of the hive. I have seen a factor of 2 difference of stores consummation between a strong hive and a weaker hive over the winter.

This hive was dead in the spring of 2020, but was alive every other year
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edit: added second graph
 

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based on seeley (2001) numbers its 3 pounds of honey per full deep frame of brood
Levenets (1956) 6.25 pounds per full frame of drone
 

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A friend uses a scale under a few of his hives. Previous years data showed that the colonies will consume about 25-30 pounds mid-February through April.
 

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sorry hard to follow completely. Are you saying Joe that a deep and 2 mediums are 90% full? and 3- 4inch circles are using up most of the open space? What did you mean wit the 90% capacity number?

GG
 

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Mel Disselkoen say hives with queens removed to grow another under his method store 100 pounds of surplus not used raising brood. I find that pretty accurate. Think about those queenless hives going into fall that seem to universally stuff two brood boxes full of honey before you discover they are queenless.
 

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Start your own weight charts. We have been tracking weights from fall to spring for a few years. Is it perfect? no but it helps. We have different nuc configurations and single and double deeps even mini mating nucs. I set a goal for fall weights and monitor midwinter and spring. And someday will get around to crunching all the numbers like I should.
But the big thing is making sure the bees don't run low in the Spring. I know this is not the answer you are looking for but beekeeping is local and someone else's numbers may not help you much. The reason I say this is that as long as they don't starve and are healthy they survive. Our first year we treated, fed in the fall, combined 2 smaller colonies left the weakest one that would not take feed. Come Spring who was alive the one weak colony survived 9 strong colonies. Made 4 splits in May. Since then I have questioned a lot of "bee facts" about wintering weights. From Fall to March 1 average double deep has used 26.7 pounds and single deeps 19.5. I will try and update with some more data.
 

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sorry hard to follow completely. Are you saying Joe that a deep and 2 mediums are 90% full? and 3- 4inch circles are using up most of the open space? What did you mean wit the 90% capacity number?

GG
That's my shortcomings in written communication. Yes, I'm saying the one hive had 2 mediums that under ideal conditions could have been drawn out a little further, but were at 90% capacity of fully capped frames. Also plenty of resources in the bottom deep.
 

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It varies a lot depending on the strength of the hive. I have seen a factor of 2 difference of stores consummation between a strong hive and a weaker hive over the winter.

This hive was dead in the spring of 2020, but was alive every other year
View attachment 62369



edit: added second graph
Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for. Looks like in your area (and with your bees) mid-April is the low point. I have a few nucs that are light and I've been dropping in a medium frame capped just to make sure. After getting them to March, I'd hate to lose them. On the other hand with the heavy ones I was a bit concerned they wouldn't eat enough raising brood and plug up and swarm when the slightest flow hit.
 

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That's my shortcomings in written communication. Yes, I'm saying the one hive had 2 mediums that under ideal conditions could have been drawn out a little further, but were at 90% capacity of fully capped frames. Also plenty of resources in the bottom deep.
ok if you have 2 mediums of 90% full you should have lots of honey.
the nest once brood starts goes from 85ish to 93ish, so enough to generate the additional heat and feed all the new bees and to consume to make the RJ and feed for the brood.
for me in mich I like 12 to 18 inches of honey overhead in fall, not always doable but that is the target. unless you are a winter feeder then what ever works for you.

agree with oldsap start keeping records, with fall weight, spring weight and inches or centimeters of honey for start and end. with bees wood and wax the pure weight would need to be understood as percent honey, some of my hives are thicker wood and heavier so if you have the same wooden ware this would be easier.

sometimes the cluster will shrink some time it will expand so nothing is a sure thing.

GG
 

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agree with oldsap start keeping records, with fall weight, spring weight and inches or centimeters of honey for start and end. with bees wood and wax the pure weight would need to be understood as percent honey, some of my hives are thicker wood and heavier so if you have the same wooden ware this would be easier.
Frame and box wise I have fairly consistent equipment before putting bees in so tare weight should be easy enough to figure. I will definitely need to get better at keeping records. Somehow in my brain if you got them to mid-March you had done your duty, but I can see this balancing act of brooding up is another aspect I haven't managed. Over the last few days I've taken a capped medium frame of honey and dropped in 3 light nucs as their stores were getting down to maybe 1/2 of 1 frame. Thankfully I have some that were not taxed by splitting or otherwise, and one that I jammed with extra brood and took nothing from so I'm fairly flush with honey across the yard to pass out. But some pre-winter management is in order. Thanks

Mel Disselkoen say hives with queens removed to grow another under his method store 100 pounds of surplus not used raising brood. I find that pretty accurate. Think about those queenless hives going into fall that seem to universally stuff two brood boxes full of honey before you discover they are queenless.
Do you mean keep 100 pounds on a average colony before winter?

I will likely have a lady I worked with extract a few supers this year (assuming some flow) as she likes the whole process from extracting to bottling to selling at the farmer's market. But going into this next year everyone will be heavy. I had one colony one time that were motionless on the floor until a few hours of sunshine and a drizzle of honey brought 1/3 of them back (including the queen). They had a great year after that but I will not cut them close again. 100 pounds sounds like a good rule-of-thumb.
 

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I can't give you an answer as there are to many variables. Also I don't care. I feed sugar patties all winter until they quit eating it. They will quit eating the hard sugar when there is enough better choices available
.
 

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That's my shortcomings in written communication. Yes, I'm saying the one hive had 2 mediums that under ideal conditions could have been drawn out a little further, but were at 90% capacity of fully capped frames. Also plenty of resources in the bottom deep.
It varies by year. I think it was much later last year because we got a hard freeze (<20F) mid April that set back a lot of plants. One year the low was in mid April, One it was in mid may.
 
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