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Storing honey for the winter

Drawing comb on a foundationless frame

Bee spaceBoth of our hives are well on their way to putting away honey stores for the winter.  I didn't delve into the lower brood box because strong summer hives hate that (and there's no need at this time of year), but I counted 34 pounds of capped honey (and a lot more dehydrating nectar) in the mother hive and 21 pounds in the daughter hive.  That's pretty good for a post-split year, especially since I harvested about 5 pounds from the mother hive at the end of May.  Plus, if the upper brood boxes are any indication, there could be that much again in the lower brood boxes.

Here in the mountains of Virginia, you want to leave your bees 50 to 60 pounds of honey to make it through the winter.  That's 7 to 9 fully capped deep frames or 11 to 13 of the smaller frames in the supers.  (It's best for that honey to be in the brood box, though, so deep frames are definitely preferred.)

With our double deep system, I suspect that any honey in the supers should be fair game for our larder, so I'm excited to see the mother hive drawing out new frames and filling up their attic.  I'm not quite confident enough with this assertion, though, to risk stealing too much --- I think I'll just wait and take any excess in the spring.

Our chicken waterer makes care of your backyard flock nearly as easy as beekeeping.


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