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### Author Topic: Counting Bees???  (Read 4111 times)

#### Moots

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##### Counting Bees???
« on: January 28, 2013, 10:37:51 AM »
Ok,
I know counting them is not an option.  :-D

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?

#### D Coates

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 11:15:52 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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#### T Beek

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 12:27:20 PM »
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:
"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."

#### Moots

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2013, 12:35:36 PM »
Good information guys....thanks for the replies!  :)

#### Course Bee

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2013, 12:37:55 PM »
D, You said 3000 bees per frame. I assume you are refering to deep frames? How many less on a medium frame?
Tim

#### Moots

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2013, 12:58:40 PM »
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?

#### Finski

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2013, 03:18:23 PM »
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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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#### bailey

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2013, 11:21:47 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.
Bailey
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#### Michael Bush

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 10:31:47 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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#### Finski

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 12:36:09 PM »
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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#### Just5398

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2013, 06:13:54 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.
Sally

#### Finski

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2013, 06:56:30 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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#### Greg

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2013, 07:43:21 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.

#### Moots

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2013, 10:13:16 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?

#### hardwood

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2013, 11:58:56 PM »
You're gonna need more Moots!

Scott
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#### Moots

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2013, 12:07:04 AM »
You're gonna need more Moots!

Scott

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

Anyone want to throw a number out for me...I'd like to be well prepared, but not off the deep end loony overboard!  :-D

#### Finski

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2013, 03:51:10 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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#### T Beek

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2013, 08:24:44 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  :-D 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.
"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."

#### tefer2

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2013, 09:48:29 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.

#### T Beek

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##### Re: Counting Bees???
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2013, 10:42:28 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 :) and mine.
"Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who say they've found it."