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Author Topic: Honey Super Strategy Questions  (Read 1878 times)
FrogPond
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« on: June 12, 2005, 05:59:33 AM »

Reading all the posts here has been great. I understand the wisdom of "standardizing" equipment so I would like to get some feedback from the group on the following strategy. Just confirming some thoughts before spending a lot of time and money on equipment...

My hives (x3) are all screened bb with two deep supers. The foundation in the deeps is wired and very sound - it will remain for brood. I am approaching the time (wahoo!) to add supers for honey and whatever else the girls add above the brood chambers. So...

 smiley  I am thinking of standardizing on medium supers for everything other than brood chambers. Since I am starting out, I thought it would be easiest to provide unwired foundation and then - if I have a harvest - use a cutter to cut squares of comb, crush comb, and otherwise extract as possible. Am I right in thinking this means unwired foundation?

From what I have read, the medium supers make sense to me (I can lift them, no problem) but the foundation for the frames is a little murkey to me. Advice is appreciated! Thanks!  Cheesy
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RebelRx
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2005, 09:33:50 AM »

I am also in the process of standardizing equipment.  We run about 25 hives and I have all 3 sizes.  I run 2 deep brood boxes. (makes it easier to do splits and usually keeps the queen out of the supers laying brood) I still have some shallow supers that I am using but only buying medium supers now.  When the shallows wear/rot out. I will get rid of them. When starting new hives I use 1 brood and super it with a medium.  I use all wire embedded wax foundation. We used to cut and strain all our honey.  But now that we have aquired some more extracting equipment we sling out most of our honey.  We may use 1 super for cut comb. Just cut out the comb between the wires trim it down and put 2 pieces in a wide mouth pint jar and cover with honey.  The best part about extracting is that you don't destroy all the comb each time and the bees can refill the super in 15 to 20 days if a good flow is on. Starting over with foundation it takes them another 10 to 15 days to fill.  Just one perspective.  Buy 1 piece of equipment (large/expensive) each year you'll be glad you did.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2005, 01:14:55 PM »

>I am also in the process of standardizing equipment. We run about 25 hives and I have all 3 sizes. I run 2 deep brood boxes. (makes it easier to do splits and usually keeps the queen out of the supers laying brood)

I'm not sure I see the logic here.  I run all mediums including the brood chamber.  It's much easier to manage than deeps.  Easier to make splits because you have smaller unites to deal with to get what you need to make a split.  Easier to keep the queen out of the supers because I dont' have any distinction (no exluder and all the same size) between a super and a brood chamber.  I don't care.  If she lays some brood in the "supers" it's just another box with frames to me.  I can move that comb down, if I think I need to or leave it where it is.

>I still have some shallow supers that I am using but only buying medium supers now. When the shallows wear/rot out.

You can also add to the bottom of a shallow and turn it into a medium.  It's not difficult.  But the frames are more difficult.  I cut all my deeps down and the frames aren't hard do cut down (converting deeps to mediums).  But they are hard to add on to (converting shallows to mediums).

>I am thinking of standardizing on medium supers for everything other than brood chambers.

I'd standardize on them for everything (I already did), but the less different sizes the easier your life will be.  Of course if you use ALL the same size then you can steal honey out of supers to give to weak hives for winter stores... etc.

>Since I am starting out, I thought it would be easiest to provide unwired foundation and then - if I have a harvest - use a cutter to cut squares of comb, crush comb, and otherwise extract as possible. Am I right in thinking this means unwired foundation?

I know some people who use plastic and then cut the comb off of it.  I think it's much easier to use no foundation at all or starter strips or a comb guide, but if you want to use foundation, I'd get some 7/11 from Walter T. Kelly.  The queen won't like to lay in it.  It's unwired so you can do cut comb or crush and strain.

Just remember when using any unwired foundation (and surplus is thinner so it's worse) you have to put it in just before you give it to the bees and you have to give it to the bees on a flow, or the foundation will buckle.  Heat and time are the two factors.  The hotter it is the more it buckles.  The longer it's in the more it buckles.  It will all buckle eventually.  So don't put it in ahead of time.  Put it in just before you add the supers.

Which brings me back to foundationless frames where I don't have to worry about it buckling.  Smiley

www.bushfarms.com
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Michael Bush
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RebelRx
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2005, 05:56:00 PM »

I'm going to stop using shallow supers, probally starting next season.  This fall I will probally fix all the shallow supers and make mediums out of them .  However, I still like 2 deep brood boxes.  I cut back in the fall to 2 deeps.  Some beekeepers in our area lost 50% or more of there hives.  Not sure if it was infestation/starvation/or what.  We only lost 3 hives out of 21.  Those 3 hives were a mid summer swarm, and 2 extractions that should have been requeened in the fall.  I know your thinking but I almost never have a problem with brood in the supers on top of 2 deeps.  Thats the great thing about beekeeping, ask 2 beekeepers opinion and get 3 answers. HA
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Finsky
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2005, 12:28:39 AM »

I use normally 3 langtroth box and others are  farrar for honey.

When langstrot is full of honey, it's honeyweight is 50 lbs.  Farrar box is 20 lbs lighter. Farrar frames are easy to extract.

Honey in Langstroth box are painfull to back. If you have solid wooden  box it makes 20 lbs more.  Alltogether 80 lbs weight at it's best.

Many women are not able to lift 80 lbs box from the level of head. And also old men are weak.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2005, 09:50:12 AM »

>Many women are not able to lift 80 lbs box from the level of head. And also old men are weak.

I figure a deep is 90 pounds full, but it could be 80 pounds sometimes.  I guess I'm getting to be an old man.  I used to lift them all the time with no problems.  They get heavier every year.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
amymcg
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« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2005, 09:53:38 AM »

Finsky,

What is a farrar box?
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Finsky
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2005, 10:19:02 AM »

Farrar box is shallow 2/3 Langstroth
Frame is same lenght 448 mm but hight of  Langstroth is 232 mm and  Farrar 159 mm.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2005, 10:39:20 AM »

That would be 6.259" which is almost a medium (6.625").
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
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