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Author Topic: Super management?  (Read 794 times)
dfizer
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« on: February 28, 2013, 02:41:17 PM »

Hello -

I have a question about the number of supers on a hive come summer time...  This is my first year of getting the bees through the winter and from all accounts it looks like all (3) of my hives are going to make it through!  If it sounds like I'm happy about that its because I am! 

I have a few questions:
1) as I begin to add supers, is there a point where there are too many supers on a hive?  I guess what I'm asking is - at what point do you remove supers?  Could the answer be as simple as to remove them once they are full?  Or should I keep putting supers on until I harvest in the fall?  My fear is that the hive will get too tall.  I'd like some advice on super management / best practice.

2) I kept 9 medium frames of capped honey from a super from last fall - this was going to be for emergency feeding if I needed it but as it looks now I may not need them. They currently are in the freezer - frozen solid.  What should I do with frames?  Would you put three each in the supers that I add in the spring to each of the three hives?  Should I just allow them to thaw then harvest the honey from them now?  Please advise.

Thanks again and please know that the advice from fellow beekeepers is invaluable to me!

Best regards -

David

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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 03:34:01 PM »

>1) as I begin to add supers, is there a point where there are too many supers on a hive?

You could give them too much excess space.  You could get so tall you can't get the supers on and off.

>  I guess what I'm asking is - at what point do you remove supers? 

I try to not take them off until the end of the season.  That way I only have to extract once.  Cleanup is time consuming and wastes honey.

>Could the answer be as simple as to remove them once they are full? 

Some do.

>Or should I keep putting supers on until I harvest in the fall?

That's what I do.

> My fear is that the hive will get too tall.

You can hope.  I've seen it once or twice in the last 39 years...

>2) I kept 9 medium frames of capped honey from a super from last fall - this was going to be for emergency feeding if I needed it but as it looks now I may not need them. They currently are in the freezer - frozen solid.  What should I do with frames?

I would let them thaw in the kitchen, and then put them on the hives.

>  Would you put three each in the supers that I add in the spring to each of the three hives?  Should I just allow them to thaw then harvest the honey from them now?  Please advise.

You can harvest them if you like.  The bees tend to burn a lot of stores in the spring raising brood, if they need it, I'd give it to them.  If not, then I would harvest it or give it to splits later to get them a good start.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
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dfizer
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 03:52:30 PM »

Thank you, thank you, thank you.... and just to get my point across THANK YOU!

You answered my questions to the T and gave me some much needed advice and ideas - I had not considered using the frames of honey for splits - great idea! 

I would like to harvest as much honey as possible this year but will not add supers until the proper time as to not have too much space.  I am considering splitting so that I can grow my yard to 6 hives.  I live in such a good spot for the bees to forage. 

I have my hives in an area where they can collect uber amounts of nectar and pollen therefore I hope they can build up the supers rapidly.  I know this all depends upon the weather but I can be nothing but hopeful. 

I have started feeding pollen patties (added them today).  They are global patties - 15% and I really hope the weather cooperates and there's enough of a flow to accommodate the new brood once present.  I know I'm gambling a bit but if if comes to it I know I have the back up frames of honey to feed if it comes to it.

Once again - mucho gracias for the help
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ThomasGR
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 02:55:08 AM »

Quote
>Or should I keep putting supers on until I harvest in the fall?

That's what I do.

Hello from Greece,
1. Do you use queen excluders some time during all that long period ?
2. Are you waiting a late main flow or you just want a rich and mixed honey ?

Thank you, Thomas.
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T Beek
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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 05:35:23 AM »

Some excellent advise above;

Spring can be quite exciting for bees and Beeks.  Throughout winter bees generally move up in a hive as they feed off stores, allowing Beeks the opportunity to clearly 'see' what's on the bottom (usually the bottom super is empty of bees and can just be removed/stored) and clean, clean, clean those bottom boards (if using one) or your SSB, straighten things out for the season ahead. 

Early Spring has the least amount of bees in a colony and the best opportunity to completely investigate what occurred over winter, don't let it slip away while thinking about honey harvest  Wink.
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dfizer
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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 12:49:37 PM »

thanks T Beek - I agree that the time to clean is in spring and I am indeed chomping at the bit to get started - I don't really want to tax the bees too much with cleaning as I'm certain it'll cause a disturbance. 

A question for everyone - At what temp would you say it's safe to start the spring cleaning?  I think it's still a little cold for this to be done - the highs are in the upper 30's and lows slightly below freezing.  I'm gonna wait until the weather is consistently above freezing - even at night - before I perform my spring cleaning.  At this point I think I'll reverse the deeps (top to bottom etc) 

Any advice on this and other activities would be appreciated.

David

One question - if all the bees are in the top deep would it be ok to remove the bottom one now?  When i put the pollen patties in yesterday there sure were a heck of a lot of bees right up top which leads me to believe that the bottom may be a ghost town.  Also I took a small stick and pulled out as many dead bees as I could reach with but there were a lot of obstructions that I couldn't remove with the stick.   I'd kind of like to see what's in there and get it situated.   
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T Beek
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 02:31:43 PM »

Personally I don't enter a colony unless its at least 60F and the sun is shining.  You can take a quick peek into the top when its colder (30's even and sunny) just to see how stores are holding up and feed if needed but for deep inspections you want bees out and about and temps in the high 50's low 60' remain my personal window of opportunity.

I think its a bit early to remove any boxes yet (I'm 6 weeks or more away) but I'd check w/ other local beeks to see what they're doing.  Do you have things blooming already?  Are they bringing in pollen?  If so, go for it, if temps coooperate.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 02:43:00 PM by T Beek » Logged

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dfizer
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 03:24:29 PM »

I think out temps are about the same as yours...  I have nothing blooming, not even close and although the temps are a little above normal and the snow is pretty much gone, the bees are really still in a cluster most of the time... on the warm days they have been relieving themselves and flying around a little bit. 

I am probably a good 4-6 weeks from temps in the 50s so I guess I'll just leave everything as is and be patient for a few weeks.  I hope the bees like their pollen patties and start to build up numbers but not too much of a population explosion.  This would be not good before the bloom starts....

David
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T Beek
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 07:30:24 PM »

If that's the case then you kinda want your "queens a layin" right now so as the bees hatch out they can take full advantage of willows for first pollen and dandelions for first flow collections. 

Your only concern right now is to keep them from starving this time of year when many colonies do just that as they run out of stores before anything 'wild' is available.
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