First winter - is it too late to remove a partially empty super from a weak hive??
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default First winter - is it too late to remove a partially empty super from a weak hive??

    I'm in Rochester NY where it's cold (25 degrees today). This is my first year beekeeping and first winter (got two hives this past spring). I have two hives, one is very strong and one is weak. Both currently have two 10-frame deep supers (brood box + feeder box). The strong hive is packed full of bees and honey and I'm optimistic the hive will make it through the winter. But the weak hive has a second super with mostly empty frames in it. I looked this morning and there is some comb built up a few inches on the center couple frames and some bees on it. I read that it's not a good idea to leave a mostly empty super on a hive over a cold winter—especially a smaller weak hive. I suppose I could remove the second super, but what if the queen is in there, or I lose a bunch of bees when I take it off? It's already winter and weather is cold in. If there's a chance it will die either way, I'd rather make the least risky decision. What should I do?

    Thanks for any input!

    -g

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Derry, New Hampshire
    Posts
    2,103

    Default Re: First winter - is it too late to remove a partially empty super from a weak hive

    assuming "feeder box" just means box with all honey and not a box you are putting feed in? you should have taken empty boxes off months ago and consolidated the hive. i doubt the queen is up there if there is not sufficient honey. When you take it off give it a few hits and the bees should fall down. shouldn't be a lot of bees up there. try and do on a warmish day 45+ and sunny so if they fly they might make it back to the entrance.
    You should put on a feeder shim and give them fondant or sugar bricks as insurance if they are small cluster.
    Terrence

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: First winter - is it too late to remove a partially empty super from a weak hive

    Quote Originally Posted by kaizen View Post
    assuming "feeder box" just means box with all honey and not a box you are putting feed in?
    Correct, by "feeder box" I mean the second super is filled out with honey for them to enjoy over the winter.

    Quote Originally Posted by kaizen View Post
    You should put on a feeder shim and give them fondant or sugar bricks as insurance if they are small cluster.
    By "feeder shim", do you mean a 2" or so frame around below the inner cover providing enough space for a hardened sheet of fondant to lay horizontally across the top of the frames?

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