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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    grand rapids, michigan
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    451

    Default Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    I still have medium honey supers on top of two double deep hives. They are partially filled with capped honey from the late Golden Rod flow. My deeps are in good shape in regards to weight so I just want to pull the mediums off for the winter and extract the honey for me.

    One of the supers still has a lot of bees in it. Forecasted high temps are low 50ís at best in the next couple days and then 40ís and lower after that. I was hoping these low temps would drive the bees down out of the supers.

    What is the best way to clear the bees from the super with these temps?
    Also, Iíll freeze the partial frames and not extract them. If I donít have enough freezer space for all of those frames what other options do I have?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    McClure, OH
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    1,017

    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    If you still have bees in the supers, chances are that there is a patch of brood somewhere in there.

    I just pulled 2 supers last weekend and it was in the high 50s. I had about 2 handfuls of bees in the lower super. Everybody else was in the brood boxes. I cracked the top and used the smoker to drive them down. Then I pulled the frames and brushed the bees off on top of the brood box.

    Another option (especially if you don't have the space to freeze partial frames) is to leave them on the hives.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Spanish Fork, UT, USA
    Posts
    388

    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    When it gets this cold fume boards rarely work. You may have to remove each frame and brush the bees off into the lower box.

    In answer to your second question. As the temperatures drop with fall weather, you should be fine storing your partially fill frames in a shed or garage where it will be cold.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
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    3,779

    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    You can store them in a cool area. You can also try pulling the supers and setting them to the side overnight. Most of the bees should abandon the "off the hive" supers and you can bring them in come morning.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    McClure, OH
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    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenseye View Post
    You can store them in a cool area. You can also try pulling the supers and setting them to the side overnight. Most of the bees should abandon the "off the hive" supers and you can bring them in come morning.
    You're walking a fine line here. If it is cold the leftover bees can just cluster in the supers until it warms up (and they will not abandon brood if there is any). On the other hand, if it's flying weather, it is also robbing weather and you could come back to couple of boxes of perfectly clean and dry wax

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    grand rapids, michigan
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    451

    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    If there is much brood in the box should I wait for it to hatch out? They will be valuable winter bees I assume?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    McClure, OH
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    1,017

    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    I usually let it hatch out. You're right, they are winter bees and it takes about 30 days to replace them (and a lot of work keeping them warm during this time)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Grosse Ile, Michigan, USA
    Posts
    2,901

    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    I would wait for a pretty cold night, say in the 30's or lower and go out the next morning and peek in the top to see if there are any bees in the super. The cold night should contract the cluster significantly and hopefully they will all pull back into the brood chamber, then you can pull the super off quickly and get the top back on before the bees know what happened. If they are still in the super after a real cold night chances are there is some brood as others said or they are planning to start wintering up that high in the hive, so you'll just have to let the super stay on till spring. If you leave the super on, then it needs to be near full because the bees are going to move upwards through the winter and you don't want them running out of food. You might want to put on some fondant or dry sugar if you think that top super may be too light.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Pepperell, MA.
    Posts
    3,779

    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    You're right, they won't leave brood but when I set aside boxes it's mid afternoon and I grab the frames the next morning. Never had a problem. At the very least, I have far less bees to work with.
    "My wife always wanted girls. Just not thousands and thousands of them......"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Strafford County, NH
    Posts
    796

    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    Is there anything wrong with leaving the supers on there as they are, and extracting excess in the spring?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    grand rapids, michigan
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    451

    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    I'm the OP and I just took a quick look. Lots of bees in the supers. Probably 7 seams of bees in one super and 4 or 5 seams in the other hive. The upper deep on each was loaded too.

    So I think my plan will be to check again after a 30 degree night (in just a few days). Thanks jmgi.

    If they are down in the deeps I'll pull the supers.
    If not I'll leave the supers on top the double deeps for the winter.

    Sound like a workable plan beeks?

    There was capped honey in each super and bees fanning up the hole in the inner cover and bees with their heads deep in open cells working away.
    Last edited by frankthomas; 10-19-2013 at 02:53 PM. Reason: error

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
    Posts
    28,284

    Default Re: Pulling supers in cold but still lots of bees

    I have taken supers off w/ 6 inches of snow on the ground and bees up in the supers. We cracked the supers a part and took each frames out at a time and brushed bees off of them. Ended up w/ a small cluster of bees on each shoulder and on the top of my head.

    Just because bees are up in the mediums doesn't mean that there is brood up there too. But if there is, consolidate those frames on a couple of hives.

    As far as partially capped frames of honey, especially at this time of year, extract them all. Don't worry about moisture content.
    Mark Berninghausen
    The answers are the end. The questions are the journey. Journey on.



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