How much honey should I leave for me bees?

Hi all,
This has been my first summer as a bee keeper. Absolutely love it. I have successfully extracted all 6 of my frames in my super. I haven’t done this all at once, on average one frame every 2-3 weeks, with my 6th frame extracted last weekend.

I just inspected my super, and there is still more honey I could take, but I’m not sure if I should leave it for the bees as summer is about to finish here in Sydney.
As an Idea on what I have in my super in regards to how full and capped they are,
Frame 1: 0%
Frame 2: 100%
Frame 3: 80%
Frame 4: 90%
Frame 5: 100%
Frame 6: 85%.

I was thinking I could take frame 2, and maybe frame 5 and leave the rest for the bees over the upcoming Autumn and Winter. thoughts?
Much appreciated.

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You need to seek out local knowledge in order to find out when & if the honey flow stops in your area. You may be able to take all the honey super honey right up until winter, especially if you are in the suburbs.

It’s worth remembering that as the days shorten with nights cooling, the bees will constrict the brood, thus replacing it with honey. It wouldn’t be uncommon to find 3 frames of honey in the brood box going into winter. Not to mention the honey arcs above the brood in the rest of the brood frames.

PS, you may not always give away your location, therefore it would be best if you could change your profile location. Sydney instead of “backyard”. It helps people to know your location in the world when considering what advice to give.

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Cheers Jeff, thanks for the advice.

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Hi Richie, welcome! It’s great to hear about your exciting experience so far :clap::clap: And you’ve asked a very good question that Jeff already answered, but I only want to expand a bit on his point about local climate. Whenever someone mentions ‘winter’ I think about temps low enough for bees to have to cluster around the queen to stay warm - here, it’s anything below 50f or so. If you have sustained days or nights like that in your wintertime, then you MUST remove the queen excluder! Otherwise, the bees will move up to get at the stored honey and the queen will be left behind, and die of cold/starvation.

Of course, I realize that for your area, winter might just mean a long nectar dearth - but I didn’t want to take the chance, since you’re new to beekeeping and there are so many details to learn about :blush:


Just a technical question out of interest here. My plan for winter is to take off the flow super and replace it with a honey laden ideal over one brood box. I intend to take out the QX too, but wondered, would the cluster be too high to be separated from the brood box, meaning the queen wouldn’t be isolated if there was a QX in between? I realise cluster size might vary, but, for those in the know, or that take thermal images, would this be a reasonable assumption or not?
PS An ideal is about half the size of a deep (similar to a shallow) box.

Bees in temperate climates will start shutting down brood rearing in the weeks before coldest weather sets in, and backfill the brood nest as much as possible with late fall nectar, if available. There wouldn’t be brood to worry about leaving behind.

Apologies, I don’t think I explained myself very well. If a cluster moved up the hive from the brood box and into the ideal (over winter), would the whole cluster fit in, or would part of it, still hang in the brood box below? So relating back to the question above. If the cluster moved up and there was a QX in between, is the queen likely to be ok, because the ideal (or shallow box) isn’t tall enough to accommodate the whole cluster and the queen would be below the QX, still with part of the cluster?
NB. No, I’m not intending to do this and I realise cluster sizes may vary depending on hive strength - just asking the question out of curiosity.

Depends on the size of the cluster. Most should be deeper than an ideal. I wouldn’t risk it with a QX in place though. Not worth it. Bees do what they want, and they do unexpected things all the time. :thinking:


Thanks for the response Eva.

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