How much honey will colonies bring in from Oct-March?

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BernardBlack 

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So, I’ve just done my final inspections before winter.

I know that laying slows down as winter draws nearer. But I just wondered about the amount of frames the colony will need between now and spring.

How much more honey will they bring in from now on?

I don’t want to put in empty frames to create needless excess space during winter, but I don’t want to leave them short of frames either.

Is there a guideline for judging this?
 

hemo 

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Not a lot of income once the ivy goes over and the rains come.
One will need empty drawn frames though if the stores aren't enough.
One has to gauge what is sufficient over a few years, the so called 40lb mark isn't a one fits all and some bees I have had happily over winter on far less.
Generally if on BS deep one will want 7 or 8 frames of stores, no use removing frames if brood is still present but one has to gauge colonies on strength, stores and current brood.
I last check in my BB's five or so weeks ago, I can see via the Polycarb cb colony strengths are very populated and hefting tells me they are heavy with stores. With 3" of top insulation and in their poly broods any frames that becomes vacant of brood is left as I won't know.
 

oliver90owner 

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Simple. It depends on the weather. Don’t expect any surplus collection after November. Guideline is a full deep National box for winter, but that depends on the winter and your location. Nothing like hefting and taking appropriate action. Isolation starvation is yet another facet.
 

drex 

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From now until March they will likely eat more than they bring in. Brood will be emerging creating space, lay rate dropping off, so no need now to worry about giving them more room. Mine are now shut up until their December vape, since all are an acceptable weight. I will heft regularly though, particularly in the new year.
 

MJNT 

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I need help please. I’ve never weighed hives just hefted but want to start to be more objective …. I’m confused about weighing hives during winter … do you add up number and therefore rough weight of full frames of stores and then when the hive weight drops by something approaching That amount you feed ?
 

StephenT 

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I need help please. I’ve never weighed hives just hefted but want to start to be more objective …. I’m confused about weighing hives during winter … do you add up number and therefore rough weight of full frames of stores and then when the hive weight drops by something approaching That amount you feed ?
I calculated weights of the all the hive parts without stores last year and then weigh the hive using an electronic luggage scale. Use it to lift each side of the hive very slightly and then add the two numbers to get the total hive weight. Minus off the total of the empty hive parts. It worked well for me last year. There’s a sticky thread on this subject I think where people have put empty hive weights.
 

Erichalfbee 

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I need help please. I’ve never weighed hives just hefted but want to start to be more objective …. I’m confused about weighing hives during winter … do you add up number and therefore rough weight of full frames of stores and then when the hive weight drops by something approaching That amount you feed ?
That's what I used to do. I know how much the hive weighs with around 40lb of stores. Once it has dropped to 10lb I would be on my toes to feed it if needed
 

pargyle 

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I need help please. I’ve never weighed hives just hefted but want to start to be more objective …. I’m confused about weighing hives during winter … do you add up number and therefore rough weight of full frames of stores and then when the hive weight drops by something approaching That amount you feed ?
Don't make it more complicated than it is ... If you have been hefting then the three finger test is where you start.

1. If you can lift the hive with one finger - really in trouble very very light
2 If you can lift the hive with two fingers - bit on the light side
3. If, with three fingers, the hive feels like it's nailed to the ground then they are pretty much stocked.

So .. then, if you don't feel confident about hefting, you weigh the hive at it's maximum weight (ie: 3 above) and keep a record of weights at regular intervals (one week, two weeks, monthly - whatever suits you) and you can see how much they are getting through in weight as winter draws on and into spring.

I'm on 14 x 12 frames and a typical honey filled frame weighs about 8lbs. I aim to have around 40lbs of stores in each colony going into winter so that's at least 5 full frames and perhaps an arc of honey above the brood nest to see them through - I'm run Paynes Polys and they very rarely run out of stores before they start foraging again in spring.

If you have an empty hive with drawn frames you can weigh that, if you wish, but a frame of empty comb is generally about a pound in weight so, if you only have an empty brood box you can weigh that and have a good idea of what really empty is and avoid getting anywhere near that weight as winter progresses into spring.

If you really want to delve into it then you can start and take into account the weight of the bees but ... I just always err on the side of caution - the graph of the figures will tell you how much they are eating and if you start on the basis of having 40lbs to start with it's pretty straightforward to see when they are getting near datum .... and get the fondant out if they need feeding.
 

hemo 

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I only use the heft method as long as the hive feels nailed down or is even hard to barely lift 1 or 2 cm then they have plenty, any other option they get fed fondant. If good stores are laid up in Autumn then they should be fine until March with some hefting in the new year months.
 

enrico 

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Put a screw into each side of the back of the floor. Put a link chain between the two acres and use a digital luggage scale. Be for you lift with the chain just ease the back end up slightly to ensure it isn't stuck to the stand. Gently lift with the scale about 2 cm take a reading now and every couple of weeks. It gives you a ROUGH idea of the weight if you multiply by 2 but I only use the half weight and compare with other years. After a couple of years you get the hang of it. Remember you are weighing the hive and the roof as well as the stores! I aim for 35 lbs on the rear only with double brood and a roof.!
 

oliver90owner 

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Hefting/weighing doesn’t work unless the dumb beekeeper takes action when not necessarily required. Beekeepers need to analyse their findings, should they think a hive is getting light in spring.

It may be that the cluster is completely isolated from their stores and may have near half a box of stores, but nothing in reach.

The smart hefter/weigher checks the hive weight from the sides of the frames, not the ends. If one side is light and the other is heavy, the smart beekeeper would maybe check where the cappings are being removed before interfering with their colony unnecessarily.

The weight of the hive is the sum of the forces (weights) needed to just raise the box(es) from the stand on each side. If one side is light and the bees close to that side, they can easily starve due to isolation from their stores if the weather becomes too cold. Of course, checking is made much easier with OMFs - the cappings are clear evidence, after a few days with a board under, or the bees can be observed from below.

I’ve never yet had a colony get sufficiently isolated, with fully stocked 14 x 12 boxes in the autumn, to succumb to isolation starvation. I have experienced it in a WBC with a deep WBC box of stores - but hefting WBCs is not so easy. It was easier to fit National boxes inside the outers.
 

Little_bees 

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Hefting/weighing doesn’t work unless the dumb beekeeper takes action when not necessarily required. [...]
The smart hefter/weigher checks the hive weight from the sides of the frames, not the ends. If one side is light and the other is heavy, the smart beekeeper would maybe check where the cappings are being removed before interfering with their colony unnecessarily.
Your post gives lots of useful pointers for inexperienced beekeepers but I wonder how many would be inclined to read it, having been insulted from the first.

Why the need to comment on dumb beekeeper / smart beekeeper??

Why not just say "check the hive weight from the sides of the frames, not the ends. If one side is light and the other is heavy, check where the cappings are being removed before interfering with the colony unnecessarily."

If people weren't disparaged by cutting comments, they would be more likely to read and take on board valuable advice.
 

Boston Bees 

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I love the way that, in answering a question in the Beginner's Section, oliver90owner comes on and talks snidely about dumb beekeepers, and Pargyle the moderator gives him an admiring "thumbs up".

Inspiring stuff.
 

pargyle 

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I love the way that, in answering a question in the Beginner's Section, oliver90owner comes on and talks snidely about dumb beekeepers, and Pargyle the moderator gives him an admiring "thumbs up".

Inspiring stuff.
With me it's never about the style - it's always about the content ... if I think it's good advice - regardless of how it is delivered - it gets my approval - I don't look to see who the advice is from a lot of the time.

If you don't like the way some members present themselves you always have the big red ignore button and then you won't see their posts and they won't upset you so much ...

As a mod I'm afraid I don't have that luxury - I'm obliged to read what is written - although, sometimes, I am a little prone to sliding over some posts rather than tripping over them.
 

Beebe 

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Somehow it's escalated to seven.
I love the way that, in answering a question in the Beginner's Section, oliver90owner comes on and talks snidely about dumb beekeepers, and Pargyle the moderator gives him an admiring "thumbs up".

Inspiring stuff.
Just for a change, he's not talking about any beekeeper in particular; so that's maybe an improvement.
 

Beebe 

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Somehow it's escalated to seven.
With me it's never about the style - it's always about the content ... if I think it's good advice - regardless of how it is delivered - it gets my approval - I don't look to see who the advice is from a lot of the time.

If you don't like the way some members present themselves you always have the big red ignore button and then you won't see their posts and they won't upset you so much ...

As a mod I'm afraid I don't have that luxury - I'm obliged to read what is written - although, sometimes, I am a little prone to sliding over some posts rather than tripping over them.
Please can you explain the meaning of this "good advice" as it makes no sense to this beekeeper: " Hefting/weighing doesn’t work unless the dumb beekeeper takes action when not necessarily required. "
If I did take action when it wasn't necessarily required, would hefting work, thus proving that I am not "dumb"?
Would hefting work for me at all as I am not "dumb", assuming that we're going with the American slang meaning of the word and not in the offensive and antiquated meaning of the word?
 

pargyle 

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Please can you explain the meaning of this "good advice" as it makes no sense to this beekeeper: " Hefting/weighing doesn’t work unless the dumb beekeeper takes action when not necessarily required. "
If I did take action when it wasn't necessarily required, would hefting work, thus proving that I am not "dumb"?
Would hefting work for me at all as I am not "dumb", assuming that we're going with the American slang meaning of the word and not in the offensive and antiquated meaning of the word?
So ...basically you are complaining about ONE word - 'dumb'. Read the rest of the post - it's good advice.

OK Rab has form for an occasionally sharp bedside manner. Take that one word out of the equation (and perhaps I should have edited it out but as you and others have quoted it half a dozen times it's a bit pointless now) and the rest of the post is beyond reproach.

Grow up guys ....
 
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