View Full Version : How many honey supers for a new hive?

03-19-2006, 12:06 PM
I was wondering how many honey supers I should have on hand for a first year hive? How about the second year? I am in central Michigan. Also, can anyone tell me how to make a fume board? I can't find any plans for one. Thanks.


03-19-2006, 12:26 PM
Are you starting from a package??? Buying a complete hive??

The first year from a package is marginal at best.

03-19-2006, 12:33 PM
Fume boards are simple things really.

Make a frame out of 1 x 2's.

Staple felt to the frame.

Staple Aluminum roof flashing on top of the felt. Paint it black for faster heat up.

03-19-2006, 12:35 PM
And use Fischers Bee Quick, (no kick back from Jim needed)

Michael Bush
03-19-2006, 12:42 PM
I'd try to always have a couple of extra supers for every hive. Some years you get a bumper crop. Some years they barely survive. If you get down below two supers per hive to spare, order some more.

Fume/breeze boards:

03-19-2006, 01:00 PM
I was going to post the link to Jims site for you but Michael beat me to it.
Have your supers got drawn comb or foundation? 'cause if you've got drawn comb the bees will fill 'em quicker, therefore you will need more than if it were just foundation.

03-19-2006, 01:04 PM
Its always nice to have a nimimum of two supers for each hive. You can extract one and not be under pressure to get it back on the same day. With at least two, you can rotate.

Walt McBride
03-19-2006, 06:37 PM
Out here in the west south, a piece of brown corrugated cardbord are my fume boards. It works well.
At the end of the day I toss it. Cost is $0.00.

03-19-2006, 07:59 PM
Can you be even cheaper, and roll it up and use it in the smoker?

Craig W.
03-19-2006, 10:46 PM
What do you use to remove your bees from the supers?


Michael Bush
03-20-2006, 07:25 AM
>What do you use to remove your bees from the supers?

It depends on the time of year I get around to it. Usually chilly nights. On a chilly night the bees all move down to the cluster. First thing in the morning there usually aren't any bees in the supers. If it's warmer and not during a flow, I sometimes use a triangular bee escape (NOT a porter bee escape). I brush off the stragglers. In a flow I might do abandonment just before dark. In other words, pull the supers off just before dark and set them behind the hives and let the bees leave to go home. After dark I pick up all the supers. This is a REALLY bad idea during anything less than a main flow.

03-20-2006, 09:24 AM
Completely capped supers are normally free of most bees. Its when your taking off half capped stuff, and the beesare still working it, thats when many bees need to be moved.

If you don't want to use chemicals and fume boards, you may try undersupering. The top most filled supers are easy to take off and the bees will be much less. More work up front, but it does allow you to take supers off many times with nothing used.

Dave W
03-20-2006, 10:45 AM
jah72577 . . .

>how many honey supers I should have on hand . . .

For my 1 hive in 3 deeps chambers (2 brood, 1 bee-food), I have 5 "shallows" for honey collection. After filling about 3, I start removing them, one at a time, extract and return to hive, never have used them all. Last year the hive produced over 8-1/2 gallons of honey.

Ive never used a fume board. Never needed one for just one hive. smile.gif It easy to remove a frame, brush off bees, place in bee-proof container and repeat for each capped-over frame.

03-21-2006, 08:18 AM
"This is a REALLY bad idea during anything less than a main flow."

Why is that?

Dan Williamson
03-21-2006, 08:58 AM
Too many is better than not enough. When totaling up equipment needed this year I used 7 boxes/ hive. All med equipment. 3 meds for brood and 4 for honey supers. If I don't need them all fine. If I need more I can extract and put them back on.

Depends of what type of hive you are starting with as Sundance was trying to ascertain above. Packages won't require very many maybe even just one if you are fortunate. Nucs I would have at least 2 supers. Overwintered hives I would have 4 unless you want to extract more often. Just my opinion.

>>"This is a REALLY bad idea during anything less than a main flow."

Robbing would be a real problem.... You wouldn't get to take the honey home.

[ March 21, 2006, 10:13 AM: Message edited by: Dan Williamson ]

Michael Bush
03-21-2006, 03:54 PM
>>This is a REALLY bad idea during anything less than a main flow.

>Why is that?

As Dan said, robbing. A full robbing frenzy in an apiary is a frightening thing to see.

Walt McBride
03-21-2006, 08:39 PM
You folks that run more than several hives, say 20-40 hives in a yard. Have you ever tried removing the tops of all the hives at once before removing the supers when harvesting, if the bees are inclined to start robbing? I have often wondered if it realy works. That is, no robbing starts as each hive is at even exposure to it's neighbor and on guard.

03-21-2006, 08:47 PM
Can you be even cheaper, and roll it up and use it in the smoker?
That's funny.