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Winterizing the hive, part 1: Honey stores

Capped honey

At the beginning of September I embark on the first of several winterizing-the-hives tasks. Step one --- check on the honey stores and determine whether we need to feed.

Here in zone 6 (southwest Virginia), the rule of thumb on honey stores is:

  • Langstroth hives should have 50 to 60 pounds of honey (which is equivalent to 7 to 9 deep frames or 14 to 18 shallow frames)
  • Warre hives should have about 39 pounds of honey (which is equivalent to 1.5 boxes full)

Inside a Warre hiveHow do our two hives stack up?

  • Langstroth hive: 23 pounds of honey (6.5 shallow frames)
  • Warre hive: 26 pounds of honey (1 full box)

It looks like my beekeeping mentor was right --- I probably shouldn't have stolen quite as much of their basswood honey. That's okay --- I'll top them off with sugar water now while the weather is still warm enough to evaporate the gooey concoction. Meanwhile, the copious brood in both boxes will ensure that the bees are also socking away nectar from the "yellow flowers" (as my mentor likes to call everything from wingstem to goldenrod). Hopefully by the end of the month, we'll hit quota.

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