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Author Topic: Honey supers and backfilling brood boxes.  (Read 1321 times)

Offline BabcockFarms

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Honey supers and backfilling brood boxes.
« on: September 01, 2012, 01:08:31 AM »
Being a noob in this year of drought I feel fortunate to have 2 strong colonies that each have two brood boxes and 3 honey supers on right now. Both have two completely full honey supers of capped honey and the third is almost full with about 25% capped but some time will be needed before they will all be capped.

While doing an inspection this week I noticed their is still plenty of brood in both colonies. They are back filling to some extent but still producing a lot of brood. I also have a third hive that I started the first of June from a 4 frame nuk that has drawn and filled two brood boxes almost full. It looks like it will fill out nicely.

I'm thinking it would be best to not start another honey super so that the bees are forced to back fill more to build up stores for the winter. It also appears that they are starting to slow down now as they are getting a bit more pissy during the last inspection and not coming and going as frequently.

Am I thinking along the right lines or am I missing something?

Like everyone else, I want to go into winter with the best chance possible for their survival. As always your opinions are appreciated.

Ron
Ron Babcock

                                  "I believe the good that men do, will live long after they gone."
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Offline Finski

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Re: Honey supers and backfilling brood boxes.
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2012, 02:15:31 AM »

I'm thinking it would be best to not start another honey super so that the bees are forced to back fill more to build up stores for the winter. It also appears that they are starting to slow down

First, extract your capped honey yield.

If you two hives have 10 frames or more brood, you may give to your 4-frame nuc 2 emerging brood frames and your nuc will be normal one box hive.

Forced back?  sounds like swarming. Colony need the room what it needs.


If the hive has brood in two boxes, it needs 2 boxes for wintering.

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Offline BabcockFarms

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Re: Honey supers and backfilling brood boxes.
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 10:54:07 PM »
First I don't have an extractor yet. I hope to have one before long as I am looking to see if I can afford a decent motorized extractor or purchase an inexpensive one until next year.. My Nuk is just fine with 2 brood boxed nearly full.

I still have the a little bit to go before the third supers are full, so my original question remains. Do I add another super when the third honey super on both strong colonies is 80%-90% full or do I hold off to force back filling as fall is quickly approaching and nothing is really flowing now?
Ron Babcock

                                  "I believe the good that men do, will live long after they gone."
                                                                                                                          ~Mr. Fox Haas

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Offline T Beek

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Re: Honey supers and backfilling brood boxes.
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2012, 11:51:56 AM »
I suspect that in NE you should at least be thinking about removing honey supers and squeezing your bees down to the amount of space they can heat over winter.  

Surround your bees broodnest using 'frame manipulation' (hopefully broodnest is already located in the bottom middle range) with honey frames starting on the bottom box, creating a bit of a pyramid (adding more honey as you go up, w/ a 'full' honey super on top.  Some beeks, including myself will pour dry sugar on top of the inner cover (w/ an empty box holding it all together) as insurance come Spring.

By removing extra space this time of year you will encourage your bees to fill any remaining empty space with honey/pollen.  You don't want to give them so much room they are unable to heat it during winter.  

However, If you think they are getting crowded (it's been a while but I've had colonies swarm in September) and your goldenrod flow is as good as mine is right now, let them make some more honey for you and/or your bees before performing the above squeeze down.  It appears by your description they've made plenty (Hooray!!) already.  I usually leave the goldenrod for my bees  

For myself, I always try to pull some honey for me as well as my bees because although I will feed them sugar I prefer (and the bees very likely prefer) to feed them honey  8-).

And you don't need an extractor to harvest honey, just a butter knife (even a spoon), a clean wash tub and something to place the cut out honey comb, we use pint and quart mason jars.  If using foundation it's a bit more tricky (foundation...yuk!) but it can be done if careful.  Leave the clean up for your bees  8-)

t
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