How much honey do you leave for the bees this winter? Like lots of things in beekeeping, it depends. Since “all beekeeping is local”, it is good to start in your own backyard. Do you live in the south? Midwest? North? Far north? When are you pulling your honey? In August? Or November? Do you typically have a fall nectar flow? Is it strong or just… meh. If you don’t know, check with another beekeeper. They can give you added insight to the local conditions. (This is yet another time knowing an experienced local beekeeper comes in handy. Join a local club! – ed.)
Even if you have an idea of HOW many pounds of honey you should leave, you need to determine how much your colony has in surplus of what they will need to get them through fall and winter to spring. How do you do this? If you have your colony sitting on a scale, you have a good idea – regardless of the size of equipment. But if you don’t, you need to get some form of estimate. Can you ‘heft’ the hive like the old books suggest? Does that work for all beekeepers? What about counting honey supers and brood boxes. Whether you are counting deeps or mediums, you can estimate, based on the ‘typical’ weight of a super or deep and the number of frames you run.
Kim and Jim work through all your options in this episode and provide insightful direction that should help you leave enough honey on your bees, regardless where you live.
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Music: Heart & Soul by Gyom, Walking in Paris by Studio Le Bus, original guitar music by Jeffrey Ott
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