Brood in the super
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  1. #1
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    Default Brood in the super

    I made the decision to overwinter with two deeps and a super. So far so good. I'm still crossing my fingers. I made a mistake last fall but the bees may have overcome.

    I wanted the super to make sure they had enough food for winter. The cluster seems to move a fair amount depending on the cold. Below zero and they drop down. When the temperature rises to above 15 or so I can see them through the upper enterance.

    I'm going to make an assumption that when the queen starts laying eggs she will undoubtedly lay them in the super. Don't really want brood in the super if I can help it come harvest time.

    Can I just place a queen excluder below the super and allow the brood to emerge. No more eggs laid should then allow for honey storage. Would that be correct?
    4a

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    Good idea to leave an extra feed super on the hive for winter. The extra honey left on the colony will almost insure that the colony has enough feed to get to spring. That extra honey is turned into brood. I do the same, and over the years I have made it my default hive setup. Of course you can place an excluder under the super so the brood will emerge and they will use the super to store honey. But, won't you want the same setup for next winter? So, why not just reverse the hive? The super will wind up on the bottom for the 2017 season, leaving a deep on top. Spring 2018, the colony is reversed and the super will be back on top. Anyway, that's how I manage my hives in the north and the plan has serverd me well over decades of beekeeping.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    If the bees raise brood in the super in the spring, you will get pollen storage in the super also, which is something you don't want if you intend to keep using the super as a honey super. Pollen in the combs attracts wax moths and small hive beetles. Making sure the queen is down below in the brood chambers, and adding a queen excluder under the super will get the super brood free in 3 weeks or less. Or, another thing you can do is to put the super on the bottom board as Mike Palmer said above, and the brood boxes above that. If the super still has lots of honey in it when you put it on the bottom, the bees will move the honey up higher (bees don't like honey stored too close to their entrance) and use it for brood rearing. Chances are, the queen will not lay again in that bottom super, although you may get lots of pollen storage in it, some colonies like to pack lots of pollen in the bottom box for some reason.
    Last edited by jmgi; 02-04-2017 at 06:27 AM.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    be careful of queen excluders if it's still getting cold... she may get left behind

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    Quote Originally Posted by Norcalkyle View Post
    be careful of queen excluders if it's still getting cold... she may get left behind
    Yes, don't add the excluder until the weather is warmer on a regular basis.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    I am with Michael On this. I do not like my honey in comb that has had brood in it. I know, I know, Homey is antiseptic. Just me I guess. When I lived in Massachusetts I used the same configuration as Michael. with splits and combines at times I ended up with hive that were 4 mediums, That worked just as well also.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    I see you have joined last may, that suggests this may be an issue of wax management that considered keep in mind you will not want to use an excluder while there is a possibility the bees cluster at night and your queen could be isolated from the cluster ,rotating your boxes before you can use an excluder may be best for wax management , in the event you do rotate you should ensure feed is avaliable in the upper boxes it is possible thay may be reluctant to move down

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    Quote Originally Posted by Aroc View Post
    Can I just place a queen excluder below the super and allow the brood to emerge. No more eggs laid should then allow for honey storage. Would that be correct?
    No. I wouldn't place an excluder below the super until the temperatures are higher so that the queen won't get trapped below the cluster. If this is a shallow super, you could likely get away with it, but I think that it's bad form. I am in a different area than you, my winter clusters are likely smaller, and I use all mediums, so you may do well getting advice from others.
    David Matlock

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    ...The super will wind up on the bottom for the 2017 season, leaving a deep on top. Spring 2018, the colony is reversed and the super will be back on top
    I never thought of this. Per your recommendation in the past, I too use two deeps and a medium as the default volume. Two question:

    1. Rather than exchanging the top and bottom; would there be any merit in simply rotating the the top to the bottom? In your example above, during the spring of 2019, the medium would then end up in the middle?


    2. I know a medium is just a volume. But they still have to draw it out as its own separate entity. Don't the bees tend to use that space for honey and perhaps some brood? Doesn't it become a honey dome and prevent brood in the supers above it?
    7 years; 3 colonies.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    Quote Originally Posted by Beerz View Post
    1. Rather than exchanging the top and bottom; would there be any merit in simply rotating the the top to the bottom? In your example above, during the spring of 2019, the medium would then end up in the middle?


    2. I know a medium is just a volume. But they still have to draw it out as its own separate entity. Don't the bees tend to use that space for honey and perhaps some brood? Doesn't it become a honey dome and prevent brood in the supers above it?
    1. You could reverse the top to the bottom, but I have issues. The top box will likely have brood when you reverse. The bottom box will likely be empty. So, by doing as you say risks isolating brood when an empty box is between a box on the bottom with brood and a box on the top with brood.

    2. Draw it out as its own separate entity? First, I'm note really a fan of the honey dome theory. At some point, the bees will use the top of the cavity for honey storage. Surely on the Fall flow. By spring, if the colony is properly provisioned, the brood rearing cluster has moved up into the top two boxes and the honey dome is nonexistent. If the top super remains full of capped honey in the spring, too much honey was left on the colony or it is a dink colony.

    Then when the colony is supered and then reversed, the bees are always able to move upward. This eliminates the downward pressure from a nectar flow pushing the queen down. And when properly supered during the flow, No so called honey dome forms anyway.

    One thing you might consider. Get the super in the middle...between the deeps. Then the deeps are reversed around the medium. Then, when you have a very strong colony that you want to split, you can use the medium as the split by pulling it from the middle.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    Quote Originally Posted by Tenbears View Post
    I do not like my honey in comb that has had brood in it. I know, I know, Homey is antiseptic.
    In past years I always thought that honey in what had been "brood" comb was not considered appropriate for human consumption (I never personally had a problem eating it). Is my stance a personal decision, or is it conventional practice to not harvest "brood" comb honey?

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    Interesting question Philip. You make get a better response by starting a new thread. I for one woul like to here peoples response to this.
    4a

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    I agree Aaroc, Philp should start new thread. I guess I always thought brood comb honey was sacrosanct as well. It sits there during 'treatments' so I think I always thought it was 'strictly for the bees'.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    Quote Originally Posted by BDT123 View Post
    I agree Aaroc, Philp should start new thread. I guess I always thought brood comb honey was sacrosanct as well. It sits there during 'treatments' so I think I always thought it was 'strictly for the bees'.
    You guys are right. My bad.

    Phil

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Brood in the super

    There are observations and opinions relevant to this in "pollen box" topic threads and some essays in the point of view area. Walt Wright's "Nectar Management" articles are quite interesting. I personally have no history of harvesting honey yet, but I'm hoping for a cataclysmic change this year. I may get a bottle or two.
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

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