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Author Topic: Bee Movement & Super Sequencing  (Read 672 times)
Tucker1
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« on: April 28, 2009, 09:57:54 PM »

I'm a little confused about Bee Movement during the year and the concepts of "Top Supering Sequence" and/or "Reverse Supering Sequence".

[Assume that the hive starts out with two full brood boxes, the lower filled with brood, the upper filled with honey.]

A) As I understand it, during the winter months the bees tend to move upward in the hive as the weather gets colder and towards the storage of honey (towards the top of the hive). The upper levels of the hive also warmer. (Correct?)


B) As the weather begins to warm up  the bees move downward in the hive, with the queen laying eggs in the empty lower brood box comb. This is aided by the bee keeper providing sugar water in the the early months of spring, before there is any real nectar flow or pollen. This is the colony "build up" before nectar flow.

[We can now move into nectar collection and honey storage. stage.]

C) Now, if using the Reverse Supering Sequence, the Beek will place empty supers on top of the hive while the bees continue to move downward away from the already empty top brood box. The bees will fill these empty supers and the one empty upper brood box with honey, as the nectar flow begins. When the summer is over, the bottom brood box or boxes will be filled with brood, while the upper brood box and supers will be filled with honey.

D) If the beek elects to use the Top Supering Sequence, the beek places an empty brood box on top of the existing brood boxes that are filled with bees.  As spring passes into summer, the bees move downward. The beek now places empty supers on top of the hive, which the bees fill with honey. By the end of the season, the beek has two brood boxes on the bottom of the hive and one or more supers with honey on the top of the hive.

E) Assuming that I've gotten this right (which would be a bit of a stretch), which approach is best? Why would one be preferred over the other.

Please feel free to comment on my summary and "straighten" me out. I'd like to manage my larger hive more effectively this year, so the help would be appreciated.

Regards,
Tucker
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2009, 07:39:02 PM »

>a) As I understand it, during the winter months the bees tend to move upward in the hive as the weather gets colder and towards the storage of honey (towards the top of the hive). The upper levels of the hive also warmer. (Correct?)

My bees usually go straight to the top and spend the winter there.  No slow movement.  My guess is it's because it's warmer.

>B) As the weather begins to warm up  the bees move downward in the hive, with the queen laying eggs in the empty lower brood box comb. This is aided by the bee keeper providing sugar water in the the early months of spring, before there is any real nectar flow or pollen. This is the colony "build up" before nectar flow.

Basically they fill the space they are in and then expand to where there is space, which in my hives is below them.

>C) Now, if using the Reverse Supering Sequence, the Beek will place empty supers on top of the hive while the bees continue to move downward away from the already empty top brood box. The bees will fill these empty supers and the one empty upper brood box with honey, as the nectar flow begins. When the summer is over, the bottom brood box or boxes will be filled with brood, while the upper brood box and supers will be filled with honey.

I know few who bottom super.  It's way too much work.  You have to lift off all the boxes and put the new one on the bottom.  Now how do you know if that one is full?  Lift off all the full boxes again to look?  Bees will move to available space.

>D) If the beek elects to use the Top Supering Sequence, the beek places an empty brood box on top of the existing brood boxes that are filled with bees.  As spring passes into summer, the bees move downward.

By the middle of the main spring buildup the bees have not moved anywhere.  They have EXPANDED down to the bottom of the hive and possibly further up as well if there is no excluder, a good queen and room.

> The beek now places empty supers on top of the hive, which the bees fill with honey. By the end of the season, the beek has two brood boxes on the bottom of the hive and one or more supers with honey on the top of the hive.

Which is what you will get no matter which way you do it.

>E) Assuming that I've gotten this right (which would be a bit of a stretch), which approach is best? Why would one be preferred over the other.

If you are Hercules, I think bottom supering MIGHT get you an extra 10 pounds of honey at the most and might not get you any more.  And you will only have to lift several hundred pounds of honey several times to get that.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Tucker1
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2009, 10:10:27 PM »

Michael:

     Thanks for replying to my rather lengthy e-mail.  It seems I'm just making things too complicated. Last year I was somewhat lucky and harvested a  bit of honey, as a first timer. Going into this spring, my initial hive is a lot larger in comparison, with the better part of 2 full large brood boxes of bees and another large brood box with all empty comb. I realize this isn't anything special, but I worried that I'm not quite ready to maximize the potential of this larger colony. The rotation of full brood boxes, empty brood boxes and supers seems a bit confusing (when you read the literature). I have three completely empty supers in place to use when their needed. The three brood boxes (Two full with bees and one empty with comb) are already on the hive. I just need to figger out how to prevent the girls from swarming and keep them filling brood boxes and supers.

     Thanks again.

Regards,
Tucker
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