Supers top or bottom?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    132

    Default Supers top or bottom?

    For almost 10 years I have added supers to the top.I am now using single deeps with a queen excluder and was watching U Tube videos about single deeps and they put the supers on the bottom above the excluder? Does anyone know the reason for putting supers on the bottom versus the top?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Izard County, AR, USA
    Posts
    128

    Default Re: Supers top or bottom?

    I think that's called "under supering."

    They usually like to have honey directly above the brood nest. So if you use a queen excluder you know where the brood nest is. And if you keep putting empty space above the brood, they hopefully work a little harder to fill that space with honey.
    8 years, 30 colonies, no chemical treatments

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1,436

    Default Re: Supers top or bottom?

    Bees configure the hive with pollen below and beside brood nest. Honey is directly above brood nest and outside pollen on sides of brood nest. So where do bees place honey when brood nest is contained by a queen excluder or a honey dome above the brood nest. It is the lower honey super.

    If one under supers, bees go about moving honey in supers down to lowest honey storage space. Why waste the bees energy moving honey down?

    If one puts on three supers during the flow, ripest honey is always in lowest super.

    I run with three supers, ripest in lowest position and wet super on top. I always harvest lowest super and return wet super to the top. If one does this weekly during the flow, you harvest 45 lbs of honey weekly. During the canola flow, one needs to harvest every four days during the peak to keep the brood nest open on a good hive.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    132

    Default Re: Supers top or bottom?

    Very interesting. Our weather has been nothing but rain and even the next week looks like rain. This appear to be the condition for northern Illinois and Wisconsin, perhaps other areas in the midwest.I am looking at a very low honey production and I would be surprised to see only one super on some hives.

    Now I understand why some of the videos with one deep were placing their supers directly above the brood box.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,746

    Default Re: Supers top or bottom?

    I dont have a link to it, but remember reading that there is a difference between strains of bees in there preference or tolerance of space between top of brood and bottom of a honey ceiling. The way I dimly remember it, top supering vs undersupering benefit could be one of those, "It all depends" situations.

    If you have 50 or so hives and a sudden flow comes on I know few people will come home from their day job and pile the existing supers off in order to put empties on the bottom of the stack! If you have them off for brood inspection my inclination would be to put empties or less full ones on the bottom.
    Frank

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1,436

    Default Re: Supers top or bottom?

    I have tried both ways and little doubt for me where I get most honey production. Bottom supering results in uncapped /wet honey in all the supers. Keep the fullest super in lowest position above the queen excluder and the sooner it will be dried/capped, and can be harvested. Every 4-7 days I can extract bottom super and return a wet super to top of stack.

    I also like lifting an 80lb super off from position three rather than from the top of five deep stack. Top position on five deep hive can result in a cranky back.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,746

    Default Re: Supers top or bottom?

    It sounds like you are using deeps for supers; that isnt going to happen here at cornercroft farm!
    I have never tried deliberately moving supers to the bottom to get them capped. Will have to see if that works for me. I dont get the intense flows like you will get from canola.
    Frank

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    1,436

    Default Re: Supers top or bottom?

    I run a mix of deeps and mediums. Started with deeps and hence have a supply of drawn comb for supers.

    If one can get a honey dome in top brood and full deep(honey and nectar) in first honey position, one can ditch the queen excluder/honey excluder. Also keep brood nest open by inserting the occasional blank foundation frame and storing a side full honey frame out of the brood for later use.

    If one can extract the lower super and get wet comb to place on top, bees immediately clean the wet frames and begin to refill.
    Zone 3b. If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    4,746

    Default Re: Supers top or bottom?

    Here is a quote about Caucasian bee honey storage habits. How consistent and measurable these differences are is a total guess.

    "Another trait of the Caucasian bee is that is stores honey near the brood, typical for a mountain bee. It also uses a minimum number of combs for storing the honey; in other words, it doesn’t proceed to a new comb until the previous one is completely filled. The advantage is that at the end of the harvesting there won’t be half or partially filled combs, a great advantage for capping and extracting the honey".
    Frank

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