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Check your girls' winter stores!


#1

4 weeks ago, my honey super was about 40% filled with nectar. The girls either moved it closer to the brood or ate it. At any rate, I put some more feed to them because they were running low. :slight_smile:


#2

I finished feeding at the end of September. I didn’t look in but I weighed the hives. I know what each should weigh roughly and I aim for 35 lbs of stores ( bees in a well insulated poly hive use fewer stores). I was happy with all of them.
October has been warm and the bees have been busy on the ivy and are still brooding judging by the detritus on the inspection board. I weighed them last week expecting to have to feed some. What a surprise…every one had gained, some 25lb!!!
I can see I’ll be taking brood frames of stores off in the Spring


#3

Looking at that medium, I would guess that it couldn’t have held more than about 12lb or 5kg of nectar, and probably a lot less. I am truly delighted to say that I now have a working Arnia hive scale and monitor, so I can show you how useful that is! :smile:

This is one week of weight data. You can see that the bees use about 100-200 grams of stores per day.

For a week, that is up to 1.4kg or about 3lb. So @Bobby_Thanepohn’s observations and mine agree - 12lb of stores will last around a month, depending on your climate.

Of further interest is that my queen is still laying, like Bobby’s. I know this because the brood temperature monitor is stable at 33 to 34C. If she stopped laying, it would drop. Here is a screenshot of today’s UI graphic from the Arnia, showing you brood temp etc:

I have to give credit to Arnia’s customer support. We have had a lot of teething trouble with the system, but they have willingly replaced hardware, and we are now getting some truly helpful data from the setup.


#4

That’s pretty cool @Dawn_SD.


#5

Thank you for sharing Dawn. I’ve been looking at this system and sent a request for price and more information before I came across your post. Do you know how long the batteries last?


#6

Hi there! The system has two components needing batteries. If you have the Pro-Scale, they say the Hive Monitor batteries should last 6 months - it takes four D-Cell standard alkaline batteries. Mine only lasted less than 3 months, but the system was faulty, so it probably drew more power than needed. If you have the standard Monitor, it takes 4 AA batteries and they last about 3 months. I highly recommend the Pro Scale though - they may not quote you for it unless you ask about it. The difference is a much better weighing platform for the hive, and nicer monitors with improved ease of access for battery changes - no need to take the hive apart.

The other component is the Gateway Monitor. This is a kind of cellular modem. Mine was very problematic to start with, and I have gone through 4 sets of batteries in 3 months. It also takes 4 D-cell alkaline batteries. I also have the add-on solar kit, but I have had problems with needing to move the gateway around to solve reception issues (it uses 2G cellular data), so the solar kit hasn’t always had the best exposure. It seems a lot more stable now.

I would guess in the future I will need to replace 4 D-cell batteries every 4-6 months between the 2 units and allowing for the solar power.

Hope that helps. If you order, tell George that I sent you, and say hello to Wilma and Samantha in customer support. They are all good people. :wink:


#7

Good stuff Dawn. Keep those stats coming it’s fascinating. It’s good to see the differences in different climates. 35 lbs of stores here lasts maybe four/ five months here so our bees appear a little more frugal. how little brood will the temperature sensor detect? I can tell if brood has emerged by the cappings on the inspection tray


#8

Mine are Italians, so perhaps that is the difference. I would bet that Bobby’s are too.

I am not really sure. The probe is about 3mm wide and approximately 2cm long, but some of that must be housing for the wiring and connections. The advice is to put the probe in the centre of the best area of brood, dangling it between 2 frames. I would guess that as long as there is enough brood to stimulate the bees to heat the hive, and the queen is laying in the centre frames, there will be a reliable reading. I have seen a chart where the queen went up through the queen excluder and started laying in the supers. In that case, the brood temperature dropped pretty convincingly. Of course, I don’t know exactly how long she went up before the temperatures started falling. I could speculate that it should be 1-3 weeks, but I have no personal experience of data on that.


#9

Of course…the obvious explanation. thank you


#10

Ditto - Italians as well