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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Dodge County, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Replacing supers after extraction on hive with big population

    One of my hives has a huge population, lots of bees in the two brood boxes and five supers (three full of capped honey). In the evening when the girls are home there are so many bees they hang out the front of the brood boxes, and under the inner cover which is pulled back slightly for ventilation. We are planning an extraction within the week. If we pull frames on the three full supers, should empty frames be installed immediately in the supers, thus creating a hive with two supers partially filled and three supers with empty frames? Seems like the population needs a place to live, especially to reduce swarm tendency, but on the other hand maybe with all that empty space they wouldn't fill it very evenly, and make a fall extraction impractical. This may be especially the case given the drought, and possible lack of nectar flow.
    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    682

    Default Re: Replacing supers after extraction on hive with big population

    Your post is a little confusing. If your objective is to secure an additional honey crop then pull the (3) supers off and extract the comb and give one or two boxes back to that colony asap. If the flow is still on your likely to assist them in storing additonal honey right away. Monitoring honey flows is criticle and requires experienced observation by someone familiar with the local bloom. Your post asks if 'empty frames" should be immediately installed in the supers? If you extract the frames and return them to the colony your are returning wet comb and fully drawn frames not empty frames. If you want to have additional foundation drawn you could also place one super on this colony as it should be readily drawn on a good honey flow. So you might give them back one or two boxes of wet comb to continue the flow, but I wouldn't give them back all three. If you want to have another box of foundation drawn then give them one box of that, but I wouldn't give them back the drawn comb at the same time. You also mention your drought, which makes one wonder how your hive secured 3 boxes of surplus nectar during a dearth? If you do want them to draw another box of foundation then bait it with a couple frames of wet comb to get them into this box right away.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    1,958

    Default Re: Replacing supers after extraction on hive with big population

    It has always seemed to me that X number of bees give off the same amount of heat regardless of the amount of space that they inhabit. So when I have taken 3-4 supers off, I used to be kind of surprised that they all fit back in the two deep boxes with about the same bearding as before. Now I just accept it. I have never had to add boxes back to have a place for the bees to live when removing honey supers. I think that they just fill out the bottom box more than before. I'm sure that there are exception hives, but I haven't had one in 20 years.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Dodge County, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Replacing supers after extraction on hive with big population

    I appreciate both of your replies!
    To clarify, there was good nectar flow up until just now, and my concern is that if the nectar flow stops then I will have to feed them, and I would rather not feed them when the supers are in place. I would like to remove the surplus honey before they consume it, assuming the drought is killing off the flowers. And regarding new frames vs drawn comb, my friends and I will not be able to extract the frames for a few weeks, hence installing using new frames as replacements.
    My conclusion from your collective experience is that it sounds like it would not be critical to provide equal space after removing the supers, but I can install a box of empty frames if I want them to work on drawing comb (in which case no box of drawn comb at the same time, only a few frames to lead them in).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    orange, virginia usa
    Posts
    79

    Default Re: Replacing supers after extraction on hive with big population

    John,
    I think you have you answer on the supers, but what are you going to do with your supers full of honey for two weeks? I think I would pull them as you are ready to extract. Pull them two weeks ahead of time is asking for wax moths and hive beetles!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Dodge County, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Replacing supers after extraction on hive with big population

    Toad, I was planning to remove the frames from the supers and store them in plastic tubs (with lids) in my house after clearing them of bees. Is that still a potential problem?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    682

    Default Re: Replacing supers after extraction on hive with big population

    John
    Its always best not to leave capped honey supers around for any length of time. Pull it when your prepared to extract it. You also mentioned "surplus" honey and being worried about having to feed them. I always make sure that it really is surplus and I have enough honey for all my hives to get them through winter without having to feed them sugar syrup. But thats another long story in itself. Leave them all the honey they need. The rest is true surplus.
    "Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay".....Krishnamurti

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Dodge County, Wisconsin, USA
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Replacing supers after extraction on hive with big population

    I would always leave the honey in the two large brood boxes for winter feed, but plan to harvest the honey in the supers. The syrup during the drought would be so the bees don't have to consume the stores intended for their winter use. But your comments are valuable, thank you for them!

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