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Author Topic: When to add the first honey super  (Read 1930 times)
dgc1961
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« on: April 02, 2009, 05:05:48 PM »

How can you tell when it is time to add the first honey super?  I live in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.
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David C.
Rich V
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2009, 06:35:02 PM »

It would be hard for me in Northern Illinois to say whats going on in NC. The best suggestion I can make is to keep in touch with some local beekeepers and they will tune you in as to what you should look for.
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JP
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2009, 06:38:08 PM »

Are these established hives? What's the set up, two deeps, a deep a medium? What's the set up consist of now?


...JP
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dgc1961
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2009, 08:08:07 PM »

This hive was started last spring.  It has 2 deeps on it.  And the hive has survived the winter very well.  It appears to be very strong, lots and lots of bees. 
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David C.
JP
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2009, 08:58:03 PM »

When's the last time you been in 'em?

I don't know what your weathers been like but Scott Derrick has been catching swarms in South Carolina and Iddee in North Carolina has been doing some cut outs and trap outs.

If you haven't gone into your hives my guess based on your neighbors is you need to for proper maintenance and swarm control.

I would check the two deeps and determine the next step from there. Make sure they have room, check for swarm cells.

You may even be able to pull a frame or two of honey but this is the time you want to make sure they have room and aren't honeybound or preparing to swarm.

After you do your checking and based on what's going on in your area weather wise, I would venture a guess that you are darn near close to needing to add a super.

Iddee can answer specifically as he's closer to you.

You may want to pm him.


...JP
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dgc1961
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2009, 09:18:52 PM »

I was in the hive 1 week ago, everything is looking good.  I moved outside empty frames towards the middle to increase brood.  I have seen plenty of capped and hatched brood.

I don't have to worry about neighbors, we have plenty of room around us.  Nothing but acres and acres of woods and fields behind us.
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David C.
JP
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2009, 09:22:56 PM »

You may not have many neighbors but you still wouldn't want your hives to swarm out on you.

What's your temps been like the last week and for the next week? Are flowers blooming yet in your area?


...JP
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

My pictures can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus
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dgc1961
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2009, 10:07:04 PM »

The temps have been warm, but we have had a lot of rain.  The weather for the next week is suppose to be in the 60's
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David C.
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2009, 11:58:35 PM »

 the rain followed by nice weather will trigger a bloom frenzy and the bees will explode on you.
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dgc1961
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2009, 07:42:27 AM »

What happens if you put the super on too early?
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David C.
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2009, 07:50:19 AM »

dgc,

I have two hives started last year as well.  Both consist of 2 deeps and one medium for stores.  Last weekend, I inspected and found the medium was empty on one hive and full of bees and brood on the second hive.  Lots of BBPH in both!  I split the second hive.  So they would have a little more room, I added a SECOND medium (foundation only) to the second hive.

Bottom line is both hives that were started last year have one medium super on them.  Once this rain stops (and it will tomorrow for several days according to the forecast), the bees will kick it into high gear!  Have your supers ready!  

Tulip poplars are predicted to be blooming in 10-14 days and that will be a major flow in our area.  If you have drawn comb, you can stack more than one super at a time on your hives.  If you only have foundation, you should add one at a time and let them draw out 7-8 frames before adding the next super.  In a good tulip poplar flow, the bees can fill a super in a week or less depending upon the strength of the hive population.

  
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2009, 07:54:31 AM »

If you have drawn comb, I would go ahead and put all of your supers on in the next few days.  The bees will collect as much nectar as possible and store it throughout the supers and begin to cure it.  I don't think it's too early.  If there is no nectar flow and you put a super on your hives, the bees will typically ignore it or chew up the foundation a bit.  I know from last year's experience!

If you only have foundation, only put one super on at a time and give the girls time to draw out the frames.
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"Don't know what I'd do without that boy......but I'm sure willin' to give it a try!"
J.D. Clampett commenting about Jethro Bodine.
dgc1961
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2009, 08:47:58 AM »

I do only have foundation.  Something I was wondering about that, I was going to use crush and strain to harvest the honey, but I am wondering about how much energy and honey loss is there if they have to keep re-drawing the comb.  Do you get a better harvest if you "spin" the honey out and save the drawn comb?
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David C.
JP
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2009, 09:07:24 AM »

You will get different answers on this but generally speaking its less work for the bees if you extract and throw those drawn frames back on.

Also depends on your needs. If you are having to keep up with demand you will want to extract, cause they will only have to backfill those drawn frames.

If you crush and strain they will have to draw out the comb, then fill, then cap.

If you are a hobbyist and just want to get some honey, in a good flow bees can do amazing things, like draw out, fill and cap 3 supers in as little as 3 weeks. Seen it happen on one of mine.


...JP
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

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dgc1961
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2009, 09:29:08 AM »

I want to keep it easy for the bee's and get as much honey as possible.  What about storing the drawn comb over the winter for the next season?  Whats the best way to do that?
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David C.
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« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2009, 11:44:27 AM »

Per George Imirie, Master Craftsman Beek:

Are you going to PROTECT your extracted frames from being destroyed by wax moths? It is estimated that bees can produce 160 pounds of honey stored in drawn comb frames, but only 100 pounds if they have to build foundation into comb; hence, PROTECT YOUR DRAWN FRAMES! Extract, put an EMPTY super on top of the inner cover, and your wet frame super on top of that, and tightly cover with your hive cover. Leave it there for 2-3 days, and the bees will meticulously clean the frames almost totally dry.
Then, place the supers out in the sun light with lots of air circulation for another 2-3 days. Then, stack them in your garage or basement, add 1-2 tablespoons of PDB, para-dichloro-benzene, to each super and seal them up. Repeat in 30-45 days, but not necessary after November 1st. Your frames will be roaring to go in April for a full crop of next years honey! Procedures to be done prior to December.

Others on this forum may have additional methods!  I haven't tried this yet but I would like to get some feedback from veteran beeks!

 

 


 
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"Don't know what I'd do without that boy......but I'm sure willin' to give it a try!"
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JP
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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2009, 07:19:10 PM »

I want to keep it easy for the bee's and get as much honey as possible.  What about storing the drawn comb over the winter for the next season?  Whats the best way to do that?


I have never used PDB but it is mentioned whenever this discussion comes up. This is what I use http://www.beeworks.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=18

If you have a large freezer you could store them in there as well.


...JP
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

My pictures can be viewed at http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus
and
http://picasaweb.google.com/112138792165178452970

My Youtube videos can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=JPthebeeman&aq=f

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eivindm
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2009, 11:18:58 AM »

A trick I learned from a professional beekeeper when I was going away for a while and was afraid of giving them too much space but also was afraid of giving too little as the weather was very changing was to put on a extra box on top with a sheet of newspaper under it.  When the bees need the extra space they will seek up and remove the newspaper.  This way you don't risk too much to put on one extra.
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