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Question: how many supers would you use above 2 deep hive bodies in southern new york?
2 - 5 (50%)
3 - 4 (40%)
4 - 1 (10%)
5+ - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 4


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Author Topic: how many supers?  (Read 6416 times)
justgojumpit
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« on: May 01, 2004, 09:18:21 PM »

Hello All, I have three hives, two langstroth and one top-bar.  I will harvest honey from the top-bar hive as needed, but for the langstroth hives, i would live to make trips to the extractor (which is at a friend's house about 30 minutes away) as little as possible... like twice a year or so.  How many supers should i have for my hives?  I live in westchester county, NY, which is about an hour north of NYC.  I live out in the country, where there are many blooms year-round.  I currently have two deep hive bodies for my hives, which will then be followed by a queen excluder, and then by two medium supers.  Will i need more supers than this?  This will be my first year keeping bees... they come in a week!  I've seen many pictures online with 4 or more supers per hive.  is this because they only extract once a year?  would 2 per hive get me through a strong honey flow, after which i could extract and get ready for the next one?  Or should i buy some more supers?  thanks for the input,

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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2004, 09:52:58 PM »

This is the first USER POLL - Congratulations!!!

My general rule of thumb is to add a super when the previous top super is 80% full, whether you are talking honey or brood. Too many supers and you get sporatic cell building, possible waxmoth invasion and also ant eggs and larva storage.

To few supers and you get lazy bees with no place to store food or brood, excessive swarming and after swarming - competition for your food crops and increase risks of parisites because of swarms gone feral.

I really believe in the 80% rule - it allows the bees to have some elbow room, yet still they are strong enough to protect what little excess space the have from invading insects. You can surely stretch that down to 70% and still have plenty of time to add supers when needed.

I am NOT for just plopping 2,3,4 however many empty supers with foundation that needs to be drawn out, that is asking for invaders into your hive - even fully drawn frame with cells ready for filling can be confusing to the bees - they just don't start at the bottom and fill their way to the top - it's not that easy, they need discipline and structure - remember they are compulsive little creatures and anal about cleanliness, you don't want them to have a mansion unless they have the cleaning staff to manage it!

As much as I hate to, I can't vote in this for the reasons mentioned above - but if a gun were put to my thick skull, I'd (from your choices) two!

Thanks so much for creating a poll - nice to see that feature works!!!

John
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justgojumpit
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2004, 10:24:02 PM »

I'm proud to be the first!!  thanks beemaster
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forrestmk
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2004, 08:18:09 PM »

I agree with John on everything he had to say. You will put supers on as needed. I wish I had to put 5 supers on a season, even a well developed hive that would be good,more than that excellent!!! I know you see pictures of this but don't expect to much the first season. You might live in a good area for honey and I might be wrong, but if you even get to put on a super or two and have it all drawn out and filled you will be sucessful, extremely! Leave the lower two deep hive bodies full for the bees to winter atleast. Some people even leave a super on for the bees to make it thru a long tuff winter.

Remember there is a perfered sequence when adding supers as necessary, put the new one in place directly over the deep hive body and the 80% full one over the new one. Continue to do this as necessary  making the first full super be the top most part of the hive.

I too agree that the poll you created is one I can't vote on . There is no correct answer for the poll due to the correct answer is you put on what is necessary. Sorry, but congradulation on being the first one to figure out how to do it. Try another poll and I'll vote. Good luck this year. Keep the forum informed, you never know, I could be wrong on how many supers you will need.

Its always been my practice to have more than enough supers just in case.

Mark______
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justgojumpit
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2004, 09:08:12 PM »

thanks for the reply Mark

I know there is no definite number for the supers i will need, I am just trying to figure out if the four supers that i have now will be enough or not for two hives.  That is the reason for the poll.  I am looking for estimates, and if i get to where a first super is filling up quickly, i will buy another two supers and frames.  I like the poll feature in this forum.  I think i will be using this again!
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2004, 09:25:40 PM »

Not to be a ney-sayer, but I have different thoughts on supering.

First of all I DO agree on the foundation issue. NEVER put more than one super of foundation on at one time,  and ALWAYS make sure it has 10 frames.

When dealing with drawn comb,  I prefer to follow the advise of master beekeeper George Imirie, inventor of the Imirie shim.   Place one super on to start (with no queen excluder).  When 6-7 frames are filled,  make sure the queen is not in the added super and place a queen excluder under it.  George them recommends placing a shim on top of the super followed by 2 empty supers, another shim and 2 more emtpy supers.  I personally just add 2 (not 4) and continue adding when they start working the upper super (always have at least one empty super).

By putting multiple supers on at one time is believed to stimulate the bees hoarding instinct and makes them work harder.   More importantly it provides them lots of storage room for thin water nectar until it is ripened.  Why limit the bees ability to collect and store thin nectar while they have to wait for ripening for room to store?

Just my $.02......

If your just starting out with foundation this year,  most of the effort is going to be in drawing out comb.  Depending on how the season is, you might only get one super drawn out.
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justgojumpit
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2004, 03:09:09 PM »

thanks robo, I think that makes sense to me, that once a super is full of nectar to add another.  If they fill three supers with nectar, which is condensed to one super of honey (pay no heed to the numbers as they dont really matter) will the bees move all of the honey down into one super before capping it?  Or will they at least condense the nectar from each super into a few frames as they evaporate off the water?  thanks

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forrestmk
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2004, 10:45:17 PM »

Have you really tried what you said the master bee keeper would do? I sure would like to know what the results were, what are the shims for? I myself would only put in 9 frames if it were already drawn out and use the metal spaces to make sure that everything would turn out even, making the job of extracting easier. I'm not quit sure I even understand what you want him to do. Please answer with alittle more information. Do you want him to follow your directions,even though he does not have any supers that have been drawn out? I don't use any queen excluders at all. My personal experience has been the bees will not draw out the new comb as readily. and I haven't had any brood ever develope in the supers. Please write more Robo.

Mark
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2004, 06:30:07 AM »

Quote
Not to be a ney-sayer, but I have different thoughts on supering.


Robo - I totally respect Bee Masters (educated ideas are always interesting to listen to) lets us know your experiences, I usually stick with what works well for me. I have NO LUCK at getting bees to draw out comb if I over stack my boxes, they just sit there and look at them - sometimes for months. Let us know.

John
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Robo
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2004, 07:56:16 AM »

Quote from: beemaster
I have NO LUCK at getting bees to draw out comb if I over stack my boxes, they just sit there and look at them - sometimes for months.



I absolutely agree with you if it is just foundation, never put more than 1 super on at a time,  they won't draw it out.  I would only suggest over supering if the comb is completely drawn,  then it gives them space to continue to store thin nectar while it ripens.
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2004, 12:01:45 PM »

Now THAT makes more sense Rob. I thought the question was related to foundation NOT drawn - if they have storage, and don't need to waste time drawing, surely they would spend more time filling them.

If that were the case though, I'd hae a second super below an excluder to make room for the surge of bees needed to handle the added undertaking - they'd have the queen cattle ran to readied cells much faster (at least to her limits) for her to lay in - and surely the hive could build up quick in food stores if EVERYTHING is ready for prolific laying.

John
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justgojumpit
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2004, 06:44:42 PM »

so if i'm understanding correctly, no queen excluder until they start drawing comb? or until the comb is completely drawn? will they draw all the comb before filling it?  will the queen lay eggs in the super if i dont have a queen excluder in so they will draw the comb, which she will then lay eggs in before they are done?  I'm CONFUSED!!!!  Or should i just hope for the best?  huh  huh  huh

ah well, i'm sure y'all will help me out... you always do  cheesy  cheesy
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2004, 07:33:58 PM »

Quote from: justgojumpit
so if i'm understanding correctly, no queen excluder until they start drawing comb? or until the comb is completely drawn?


correct - you need something to entice the bees to squeeze their way thru the excluder.  Foundation isn't going to draw them cheesy  I would say no less than half before installing the excluder, but that's my personal opinion, I sure other think differently.

Quote from: justgojumpit
will they draw all the comb before filling it?


Nope,  just like the queen will lay eggs in a cell before it is complete, they will fill the cells with nectar as the build.

Quote from: justgojumpit

 will the queen lay eggs in the super if i dont have a queen excluder in so they will draw the comb, which she will then lay eggs in before they are done?


There is a good chance she will lay eggs in it (Murphy's Law).  On the upside, there is nothing more powerful (besides a queen) than brood to entice the bees thru an excluder.  Just make sure the queen is moved back down when you install the excluder, and the brood will hatch and then the cells filled with honey.

Quote from: justgojumpit

  I'm CONFUSED!!!!  Or should i just hope for the best?  huh  huh  huh

Humans make it complicated by trying to manipulate the bees to do what we want instead of just allowing nature to do what it wants.  That's why a lot of folks,including myself at times, prefer the simpler unlimited brood nest method and not use a queen excluder.  This however does not support cut comb, ross rounds or other fancy types of unextracted honey which you don't want any brood reared in the combs.

Quote from: justgojumpit
y'all

I have a suspicious feeling your one of those Southern imposters wink
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justgojumpit
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2004, 10:40:40 PM »

Quote
I have a suspicious feeling your one of those Southern imposters Wink


haha, yep!  gotta love all the different accents to be imitated and adopted as you visit different places...  Smiley
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forrestmk
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2004, 12:37:53 PM »

Robo, I still wish to hear more on your experience that took place when you even added two more supers, instead of four. And please explain what the shims are that you speak of, and their purpose foR doing so???

All I can think of is wooden shims that may allow the bees to enter directly between the supers from the outside to make it quicker for the bees to empty their nectar. But I myself think that would make that hive more easily robbed by other bees that don't belong there.

Also I believe that would make the hive more susceptable to wax moths and ants, making to much area unguarded for bees to do there job.

when you get time please explain for my knowledge.  Thanks

Mark
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Robo
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2004, 05:42:53 PM »

You got it with the shim,  it just provides additional entrances for foraging bees to reduce congestion.  This also allows the bees quicker access to where they would store, and not have to progress up thru the brood chamber & an excluder.  



I however just used auger holes on the supers to provide these additional entrances.  Some prefer not to put holes in the supers,  but I find it easier than having yet another piece of equipment to manage as well as deal with brace comb built in the additional space.  However when used properly, the claim is brace comb is not an issue.

The only draw back that I have found is when manipulating, and as you get down into the brood area, you have field bees returning looking for an entrance that no longer is there.  Whereas, with just a bottom entrance you never have the additional comotion of field bees looking for the entrance.  I find it a minor draw back.

As far as robbing and wax moths.  For a strong colony, there will be plenty of bees to guard the minimal entrance area increase.  If your hive is not strong enough to fend off ants and wax moths, they ain't gonna be strong enough to store excess honey.  In fact, on my non-DE modified hive (no ventilation box) I elevate the outer cover as well which also increases the entrance area that needs to be defended.  Robbing is not an issue when there is a honey flow, or at least I have never had a problem with it.

The excess supers also give room for the bees to spread out more and reduce their temperature.  With the extra supers, I find less bearding in the hot weather.
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forrestmk
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2004, 06:41:22 PM »

Thanks for the clarafication. Now even your original post makes good sense to me. I'll keep this idea for a really strong hive that I still have, the one that already swarmed this year. I wasnt sure all along about the shim you spoke of. Now that I see your sketch of the drawing, I fully understand. Before I wasn't sure if you meant he shimed all four corners allowing space all around the perimeter of the box. Thats why I was concerned about guarding issues. I have seen others with upper entrances before and that is all it is really. Thanks alot!

Mark
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« Reply #17 on: June 23, 2005, 10:54:25 PM »

Rob,
        I read your advice about a 2nd entrance. I have a strong hive of Buckfest on their 2nd year. The first 2 supers went fast this year. But I added 2 supers of foundation on top? I placed the 2nd entrance with feed to draw out the comb. It is between the first 2 supers and the 2 supers of foundation. They seem to have slowed down and after about 2 weeks are just now starting to build in the upper supers. The hive is very large. Busting at the seems...LOL But I did get a nice side effect. They have built comb on the bottom of the frames above the 2nd entrance. it is 3" high X over 2 inches thick the length of the bottom bar. We are just going to use it for cut comb.........
I tried to put a picture in here for you. But I don't know how.........err angry

Tim[/img][/list]
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