© 2017-2021, ZBees Apiary, Waynesville, NC. Buzz the Apiary
As a beekeeper, have you ever wondered how many honeybees might exist in the typical hive? I was curious about the number honeybees flying around my backyard and decided to conduct some studies to determine how many bees were in each hive. Of the course of three months, I developed a method to estimate the average bee count per hive. If you calculate the average number of cells in a typical deep-frame you find that there are approximately sixteen workers cells per side, in a one inch square cut (see image below).
A Recap of the Math for Estimating a Healthy Deep 10-Frame Double Box Hive
Remember, every 21 days the hive grows with new bees and approximately every 63 days old bees die off.
Apiary populations fluctuate based on various factors like: old age, bees who get lost in flight, bees eaten by birds, bees killed by the beekeeper, or queen laying during cycles.
Another thought- the average 3-lb package of honeybees is approximately 11,000 bees.
Hence, 372,000 / 11,000 = 34 packages of bees.
At an average cost of $125 per package, the apiary has an estimated live value at approximately $4,250 during “peak times,” and this only includes the honeybees. Consider the cost of equipment, tools, gear, plus supplies and the beekeeper begins to correlate the “true value of the apiary.” This factor alone should entice beekeepers to closely monitor their apiary and document apiary data for continued success in the future.
After months of research this data has been reviewed and included in the HiveSmartHQ beekeeping app which is distributed through Appi Bee Services, Ltd. A new Population Estimator is included to help beekeepers get a better estimation of hive populations during their inspections.
RESEARCH 1 - Determine potential number of cells on a single frame.
These “average cell counts” do not account for frames in the honey supers and as such it is quite possible for a colony to reach an even higher threshold of bees.
Average number of cells per square inch of comb
16 cells per side.
FRAME 19- Actual number of workers working a brood frame during the Mid-morning- 766 with +/- 3% on one side only.
FRAME 23- Actual number of workers working a brood frame during the late evening- 903 with +/- 3%, on one side only.
RESEARCH 2 - Determine potential number of honeybees on a single frame #19 at 1030 hours.
RESEARCH 2 - Determine potential number of honeybees on a single frame at 18:30 hours.
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