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Author Topic: Counting Bees???  (Read 1998 times)
Moots
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« on: January 28, 2013, 09:37:51 AM »

Ok,
I know counting them is not an option.  grin

I also know that it's widely report that a three pound package contains 10,000 - 12,000 bees.

But once you have your bees in a hive, how do you go about accurately estimating their population, or is it even possible?  Is their some "guesstimate" to how many bees occupy either a medium or deep frame?

For example, I took a look at my Nucs this weekend....They're 6 frames mediums.  As you can see in the picture most frames are pretty well covered, the new frame at the bottom which I pulled to take a look at is being drawn out slowly and had "some" bees on it.  I actually had to slid the cover back on slowly and was plowing some bees out the way.  Of course, when I show someone this picture, the first question is....HOW MANY BEES IS THAT?

Truth is, I don't have a clue.  LOL!  So, I guess my question is, does anybody?  and if so, what is it based on?


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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 10:15:52 AM »

You can come up with any number you want.  99% of the population is going to take your word for it.  My rule of thumb is a full size hive is 60,000 when ball park estimating.  There are 20 frames (deeps).  That's 3,000 per frame.  In a nuc if you've got 3 fully drawn and covered frames and the other two are works in progress you've got +/-10,000 bees.  Again, it's ballpark and being off isn't going to affect anything anyway.
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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 11:27:20 AM »

D Coats provides a pretty good estimate when able to get inside for a peek.  3k per full frame is a reasonable estimate.

An 'old timer' trick during a flow is to count the number of bees 'leaving' in a minute and multiply by 1000.

Ain't counting bees fun  laugh
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« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 11:35:36 AM »

Good information guys....thanks for the replies!  Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 11:37:55 AM »

D, You said 3000 bees per frame. I assume you are refering to deep frames? How many less on a medium frame?
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2013, 11:58:40 AM »

D, You said 3000 bees per frame. I assume you are refering to deep frames? How many less on a medium frame?

A medium frame is practically exactly 2/3 the size of a deep....So, I'm guessing it would be a safe assumption to say 2,000 per frame for mediums?
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2013, 02:18:23 PM »

.
Bee weight is 100-120 mg
When a bee is full of honey, its weight is 170 mg

Swarm bees are full of honey.

When I started beekeeping, 4 kg swarm occupied 2 langstroth boxes.
So it is 24 000 bees on 20 frames. It is about 1000 bees per frame.


I joined swarms when  I bought them and I made lots of 4 kg hives.

Is it so that 3 pounds of package bees occupye 5 frames?

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« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2013, 10:21:47 PM »

That one seems to be growing well.  I like what I see.  Might want to put the #6 frame into the center of the nuc next inspection.
There are enough bees there to easily handle it.
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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 09:31:47 AM »

I call one frame well covered in bees "1 frame of bees".  I call one frame sparsely covered in bees "1/2 frame of bees".  I call a frame with no bees on it "no bees".... I add up the frames and then I know how may frames of bees I have...
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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 11:36:09 AM »

I call one frame well covered in bees "1 frame of bees".  I call one frame sparsely covered in bees "1/2 frame of bees".  I call a frame with no bees on it "no bees".... I add up the frames and then I know how may frames of bees I have...


That is practically defined. When you inspect the hives, it is good weather and lots of bees are outside.

Important is to note when there are too much bees and the colony swarms if you do not add more room.
In late summer it is time to take off extra room.

When you put a swarm into a hive, after 3 weeks 50% of swarm bees have died. Then new bees start to emerge and soon you must add a new box.

What I do with number of bees? - Nothing.  I had a wrong knowledge about swarm bee number almost 50 years, but it has not
affected to my beekeeping.
I have read from book that one kilo bees is 10 000 bees, that is near truth. But when you have 1 kg swarm bees, the number is 6000 bees. 40% out of weight is honey load.

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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 05:13:54 PM »

please forgive such  newbie questions but during the summer when pollen is plentiful and the hive is growing by leaps and bounds (hopefully)  how many deep hive boxes can you end up having, realistically?

I just assume you can end up having 2 deeps and if you want maybe a honey super or two.  But I don't plan on adding honey supers this year so realistically how many hive boxes could I end up with at the peak season?

This will be my first year so I'm full of dumb questions!  I just want to make sure I have enough boxes/supplies on hand.
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 05:56:30 PM »

how many deep hive boxes can you end up having, realistically?



I use 5-6 deep boxes during main flow.  In practice it means 3 brood boxes and 4-6 medium boxes.

If the hive is not that big, I join smaller hives for main flow in July.

If you do not add honey supers, the hive swarms and you loose the yield.

If you get one capped box of honey, the hive needs 2 more moces when it put the nectar to rippen.

Then even if you do not get honey at all, you need much boxes for colony expansion.
It depends how good is you queen to lay.
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2013, 06:43:21 PM »

please forgive such  newbie questions but during the summer when pollen is plentiful and the hive is growing by leaps and bounds (hopefully)  how many deep hive boxes can you end up having, realistically?  (SNIP)

That depends on a lot of things.

But for an example of what could happen:

I got some nucs May 30.  Put them into deeps and fed.  In 2 months they were in triple deeps storing honey in the top.
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2013, 09:13:16 PM »

Ok,
While we're getting paranoid about equipment...

My plan was to start with 3 hives, I'm running all 8 frame mediums.  I purchased 2 Nucs a couple weeks ago and will probably be moving them to hive boxes in the not so distant future.  The plan is to start the 3rd hive with a captured swarm.  It's not  a goal at the moment to grow beyond the 3 hives but if something would/could force the need to, I'd like to be prepared.

I built 21 boxes...Thoughts? 
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« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2013, 10:58:56 PM »

You're gonna need more Moots!

Scott
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« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2013, 11:07:04 PM »

You're gonna need more Moots!

Scott

LOL!  The more I thought about it, I was pretty sure that was the case.  Smiley

Anyone want to throw a number out for me...I'd like to be well prepared, but not off the deep end loony overboard!  grin
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« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2013, 02:51:10 AM »



I also know that it's widely report that a three pound package contains 10,000 - 12,000 bees.

But once you have your bees in a hive, how do you go about accurately estimating their population, or is it even possible?  Is their some "guesstimate" to how many bees occupy either a medium or deep frame?



To the beginning, where you need your "accurate estimation".

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« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2013, 07:24:44 AM »

IMO; one can't have too many boxes but should always have 'enough' to allow for possible expansion.  I use all 'mediums' so have a goal to have bees build up to at least 4 brood boxes before winter (not always successful) and always depending on the flow will add more boxes to....well...the sky is the limit  grin right? 

The most I've ever stacked on a single colony was 8 mediums (4 brood, 4 honey).  That was a boomer year!  My rule of thumb has been to stay 'ahead' of expansion, so if I have only 8 colonies I'll have enough boxes for 12 boomers.

Hope that helps.
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« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2013, 08:48:29 AM »

IMO... When running medium frame equipment, you need at least 5 boxes per hive.
Three for brood and two honey supers. If you run out of honey supers, you can extract and place them back on.
Keep in mind that's a minimum amount.
I usually stumble on a few swarms from my own bees. So, you can never have enough built.
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« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2013, 09:42:28 AM »

Been using all mediums for 7-8 years now.  I've overwintered in as few as one (guess that could be called a NUC) and as many as 4, never 5.  Unless honey was the goal 4 mediums for brood has been plenty in my own experience.  But that's just me Smiley and mine.
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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2013, 09:57:40 AM »

Guess I should have added that I only winter in three boxes. The five are for use during the flow.
I have some in only two boxes this winter. Already have placed more candy bricks on those.
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2013, 10:47:13 AM »

Amazingly (first time) all of my bees built up pretty well before winter w/ a late flow.  Only one of 7 Langs was in less than 4 mediums (a secondary swarm) before winter wrap up.  I've fed them all some Honeysugar.
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2013, 11:06:50 AM »

T Beek and tefer2, Thanks for the feedback and input...

My original thoughts were 4 boxes for brood and up to 3 supers per hive...hence 21 boxes.  I've got a suspicion that in my area they may only take 3 boxes for brood, but I am running 8 frame equipment, so....I'm really not sure on that, I been told the bees will make that decision.  So from a 3 hive plan point of view, I think I'm in pretty decent shape.  I guess my oversight was the possibility of having to deal with a split or a swarm or something like that.  As I said, I don't necessarily have plans to expand this early, if at all.  However, should my bees be booming, I want to be able to handle that possibility.  I also, don't want to be the over exuberant new beek that needs but 12 boxes to get through his first year but builds 30+.  huh  But I do appreciate the fact that there's really no way to know that answer.  I guess that's part of the fun and challenge of beekeeping.  grin

So....With that being said, Would cranking out another 12 boxes put me more in the prepared or paranoid category???

As you can probably tell, I think I'm leaning that way!  Smiley
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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2013, 11:42:28 AM »

Moots,
Keep in mind, you can pull the capped frames, spin them and put them back on the hive. I went from 4 hives the previous year, only 2 hives made it into winter, one survived and ended up with 13 hives in the fall. Luckily I had 30 medium supers built the previous winter. Last year I pulled honey 3 times and still left honey on my hives for the winter. I did have all of my supers in operation by fall. I did have to shuffle frames around for winter after I did the last honey removal, I left minimum of 5 honey frames on each hives.
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« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2013, 12:35:26 PM »

@Moots

Flow, flow, flow...know what and when it is. Get into the field with a good wildflower book and start hunting for bloom. Last year I missed the main flow in my area (saw palmetto) and got hit by two tropical storms that dropped tons of water. Ended up feeding tons just to get through the summer dearth and only got a little late flow, enough to get 'em through though. At the end of the day, the bees will only build and grow out if there is flow...er, or you feed them a lot. At least that's my experience thus far. It's really farming; weather, overall livestock health and pasture. You can build/buy all the boxes you want, but if there ain't no groceries at the store...

Early spring or not, doesn't matter, could be drought or hurricanes yet...

Just my .02
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« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2013, 02:30:18 PM »



My original thoughts were 4 boxes for brood and up to 3 supers per hive...hence 21 boxes.

It is impossible what then will happen. You just take what hives give and you must be ready for that.

Of course your skills as a beginner is the most important thing. Beekeeping is not easy job to learn. It takes its own time and most never learn it.

Good honey flows are the most dangerours to beginners because they have not e
earlier experience to handle situation and the result is often that swarms escape.

But don't mind. If you do not make mistakes, you never learn.  If you learn beekeeping in 5 years, it is very good. It depends, do you get some good guy who teaches you.

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« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2013, 09:23:17 PM »

Moots, beeks in the north country run four medium 8 frame to winter. I think you can get by with three for brood. Starting with four brood boxes and adding three supers, makes 7 boxes high.
Your gonna need a ladder if they don't tip over on you.  I dunno
Michael Bush, is the eight frame medium information source.
http://www.bushfarms.com/beeseightframemedium.htm
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« Reply #27 on: February 01, 2013, 04:16:09 AM »

Moots, beeks in the north country run four medium 8 frame to winter. I think you can get by with three for brood. Starting with four brood boxes and adding three supers, makes 7 boxes high.

It will be seen when each hive grows. Important is that a hive will be enlargened in time. You cannot foresee, how much hive needs.
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« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2013, 07:50:54 AM »

I use 'follower' boards on both ends of my 10 frame 'brood' mediums, effectively making them 8 frame (or any size the bees can fill really, best when used as an 'expanding' NUC)).  I noticed some time ago that bees will often ignore the #1 and #10 frames anyway.  Perhaps that's the motivation toward 8 frame equipment?  Not sure, besides being lighter and easier on the back, which is my motivation  Smiley.
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« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2013, 08:20:17 AM »

...I noticed some time ago that bees will often ignore the #1 and #10 frames anyway.  Perhaps that's the motivation toward 8 frame equipment?  Not sure, besides being lighter and easier on the back, which is my motivation  Smiley.

T Beek,
You're exactly right, that's the thinking behind 8 frame equipment. Honestly, I read so much while trying to decide on equipment I don't remember exactly where all I saw it, it may have been on Michael Bush's site, I know a lot of his concepts and opinions seemed to make a lot of sense to me.

But the thought is its a more "Natural width" for the bees. one that they will fill better.  The further reduction in weight is kind of an added bonus in my opinion.  Obviously, the down side is from a cost perspective. Hiwever, there are those that will argue that when you factor in the cost saving of not needing back surgery, it's quite affordable.  grin

The other equipment decision that I made, which I don't think many have done, but seemed to make a lot of sense to me...Is I went with the concept of the modified Lang and put my entrance along the long side. The concept allows you to work the hive from directly behind it without an awkward extended reach, saving both the ankles from stings and the back from injury.
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« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2013, 08:33:30 AM »

I've been thinking of moving the locations of my entrances for the same reason Moots.  It's almost 'standard' practice in some parts of Canada.

*I probably printed out 60% of MB's website, creating my own MB file, but bought his book as soon as it was published anyway*   Its definately one of my 'go to' books for common sense beekeeping.
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« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2013, 08:34:54 AM »

Ok, so I think I understand a little more...I would need to add honey supers just for them to survive the winter, is that correct?  Otherwise the queen will just keep laying in the combs?
IF that is correct, then how do I manage the hive as we are preparing for winter?  There will be the hive bodies then there will be the honey supers with the queen excluder in between.  I understand that the hive will decrease in numbers as they are preparing for winter and that I must begin removing boxes.    but in order for them to have the honey for the winter do I just move the frames with the honey into the hive bodies?
Just when I think I understand I feel more confused!  I honestly should not be worrying about this until the time comes, I have so much more I should worry about just getting the hive up and running like a well oiled machine!!!!
Thank you for your patience!
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« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2013, 08:55:28 AM »

There are few endeavors with a sharper learning curve than Beekeeping.  Never is it dull  cool

Do you have bees now?  If so, in NJ you should have already prepared for winter. 

You don't need to 'add' honey per sey, you just want to "leave" your bees enough to survive the winter, ideally without having to feed supplement syrup.  I stop taking any honey in August, but that's just me.

Queen Excluders;  Personally, I don't use them.  There are pro and con debates about their uses all the time, but its a personal choice thing.  Beekeeping is LOADED w/ personal choices  cool  We don't really need them and the bees prefer to go where they want to go IMO.  Does it mean a 'little' more work for the beek?  Sure, but well worth it it IMHO.

You definitely want that Queen Excluder "off" for the Winter.  Its mainly a tool used to keep fresh honey separate from a laying queen during a flow.  During Winter the Queen lays very little and moves very little.

Downsizing your colonies as winter approaches mainly consists of removing as many 'empty' frames and 'empty' boxes to a size capacity capable of sustaining bees for the winter.  Since I use 'all' mediums, for me it means I try to have bees built up to 4 boxes of mostly brood, surrounded by honey and pollen and topped with another box packed w/ honey.  That's the ideal and not always realized  Wink

Always; Trust your bees.
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« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2013, 09:12:28 AM »

I don't have bees now,  I will be getting them this spring.

I'm trying to understand as much as possible but like I said before I should not be worrying myself with this since I won't need to do it until fall of 2013. 

Thanks for you reply though!
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« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2013, 09:25:25 AM »

Worrying about your bees over winter months, heh. 

Kinda comes with the territory. 

I think that just means you'll be a good Beek once you get going  cool  Nothing wrong w/ being prepared, especially in beekeeping.
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