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Author Topic: When to add honey supers?  (Read 2639 times)

Offline neurobee

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When to add honey supers?
« on: June 06, 2011, 12:54:44 PM »
My hive has two deeps. The bottom hive has 7 frames drawn out on both sides. The top has maybe 6 frames drawn out on both sides. Should I wait until they've drawn out comb on all of my frames before adding a honey super?

Offline D Coates

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Re: When to add honey supers?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2011, 01:26:06 PM »
Personally, at this time of the year when I am in your situation I'll split the brood nest by moving the undrawn frames to the center of the hive to ensure they get drawn out.  I wouldn't add a super until all the frames in the deep are over 80% drawn.  That's my 2 cents and it may be overpriced. ;)
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Offline L Daxon

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Re: When to add honey supers?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2011, 05:25:41 PM »
You didn't say, but is sounds like this is a first year hive.  If that is true, it is doubtful that will get much if any surplus honey this year.  I would concentrate on getting the two brood boxes completely filled out and making sure there was enough honey/pollen to get the girls through the winter.  Once all the frames are drawn out--not necessarily full of brood and honey--you could/should add a super to make sure the girls feel like they have room to expand/don't swarm.  But on my first year hives, I usually concentrate on getting a 2/3 deep brood chamber well established and don't worry so much about suppers, unless there is a terrific flow on, but even then, it is doubtful that the queen will have built up sufficient population numbers to take advantage of the flow and store much surplus honey.

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Offline Finski

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Re: When to add honey supers?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2011, 12:46:35 AM »
My hive has two deeps. The bottom hive has 7 frames drawn out on both sides. The top has maybe 6 frames drawn out on both sides. Should I wait until they've drawn out comb on all of my frames before adding a honey super?

I would do in this situation so that I lift brood frames in one punch. Lower box propably has more brood than upper. Bees are not able to keep warm the whole hive and it makes build up slow.

- honey comb next to wall or pollen comb. Then brood combs.
- the rest foundation and drawn combs to the lower box.

So the bees may expand the radius of brood patch in frames and get more workers.

So the hive has 13 frames occupied and 7 waits expanding.

Now you just follow weekly the expansion on the colony. When the lower box is half full bees, add the super. The lower box has reserve to expand.

In July the colony should be capable to forage real yield and it should have 4-5 boxes and it is a real hive.

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Offline Finski

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Re: When to add honey supers?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2011, 12:50:17 AM »
I would concentrate on getting the two brood boxes completely filled out and making sure there was enough honey/pollen to get the girls through the winter. 

It depends on how the colony grows. It is not time now to think about winter.

When 2 brood boxes are covered with bees, the hive expands quickly. You may add every week a medium super or two. - You should be ready to do that.

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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: When to add honey supers?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2011, 05:55:44 PM »
When developing a hive it is necessary to recognized that, in most cases, the two outer frames occupied by the bees are storage frames, frames used only to hold capped honey or to process nectar into honey.  Bees will readily leave those frames as they don't contain brood. 
To assist the bees in hive development move those storage frames towards the hive walls and replace with with undrawn frames.  The bees will then drawn out those frames.  This helps because it not only pulls the bees off of non-brood frames, but places undrawn frames beside the brood frames enlarging the brood area as the frames are drawn out.  If the hive was in danger of becoming honey bound it also frees up cells in the brood area as the bees will use the honey deposited in the brood area to build out the undrawn frames.

When supering move those storage frames up into the next box with several undrawn frames between them, this draws the bees up into the super to manage the stores and they will draw out the undrawn frames between the storage frames once there is sufficient population in the hive to force the bees into a new box.
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