Honey Supers full, again.. what to do?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    SE Wisconsin
    Posts
    2

    Default Honey Supers full, again.. what to do?

    Hi,

    Live in SE Wisconsin and looking ahead to the start of fall. Currently have 3 hives, running 2 deeps each with 2 honey supers on each of the 2 stronger hives. About a month ago we spun the honey supers harvesting about 80lbs which was awesome... Afterwards, put the supers back on the hives so the bees would clean em up and start filling again. My plan was to start syrup and leave whatever was produced between now and winter as insurance along with mite management and emergency food etc.

    I went down this morning to check and was shocked that one of the supers had almost 8 frames of CAPPED honey with the 2nd super on the same hive almost filled but not yet capped. The 2nd hive had both supers being filled but only a partial frame capped. At this rate we could have 4 full honey supers by mid September!

    Now I don't want to be greedy but assuming they have enough stores below, which I believe they do. Should I pull all the supers off for the winter once capped and process again? Or leave one super on each for insurance and then start syrup?

    Last year I pulled them off and fed to get them through the winter so if by leaving one on insures I won't need to feed, seems like a better approach.

    Love your input, especially if your from the Midwest area!

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Almond, NY, USA
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Honey Supers full, again.. what to do?

    My hives are in SW NY State & we share a similar climate. This is what I did last 2 years with great results and am doing the same again this year:

    I always move the capped supers to on top of the uncapped ones. When the bottom supers gets capped I remove both supers, extract them, and place one of them back on the hive (just a single super...#1). Keep an eye on this single super for being filled & getting capped. How long that will take depends on what amount of fall nectar flow and the bee population in the hive. I had one hive last year that I put all new plastic foundation in the super in mid-late August and they drew it all out, filled it and capped it in only one week! The other hives near it filled their just extracted comb only about 1/3 in the same amount of time (nothing capped). I Add another super (#2) of extracted comb below each #1 super when it's about 90% capped.

    Around last September 20th I removed two full & capped supers (#1 & #2) from each hive. I didn't add any supers after this late harvest. I OAV treated all the hives for mites at this time and let the bees fill up any available cells they could in their brood boxes. About this time we start getting frosts, so nectar will disappear very soon and their population is declining.

    If your hives seem underweight after the killing frost you could feed them 2:1 sugar syrup or put sugar bricks on. I was worried that I took too much honey last fall, but was happy to find they managed to fill their brood boxes up to wintering weight by late October, so I didn't need to feed them syrup. I left no supers of honey on my hives for winter the last two years because I found my my bees are very stingy and they still have honey remaining when the spring flow starts. I do place sugar blocks on them around Thanksgiving for insurance, and they seem to ignore them until April.

    Each hive, each year, and each fall flow are different, so I adjust my plans accordingly for each individual hive.

    I haven't lost a hive since starting 3 years ago...100% overwintering success...but it's probably in my future.

    Others will disagree with what I do and that's OK. I do what works well for me and my bees.

    I do suggest you monitor them every week or two from this point on, to assess what they need for wintering. If you want to leave a super of capped honey on your hives you won't hurt the bees by doing so.

    Good luck!
    Zone 5A 2,200 ft.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    SE Wisconsin
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Honey Supers full, again.. what to do?

    Wow, thank you for the thoughtful response and insight into how you manage your hives. Being new to all this it can be very overwhelming and the fear of screwing something up always has me second guessing.

    Your approach was similar to mine last fall although I think I took my supers off too early. I've read quite a few posts on various forums where more experienced folks are taking their supers off in early August which didn't make much sense to me. September feels about right in my part of the world and still gives me time to treat for mites before the big chill.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,761

    Default Re: Honey Supers full, again.. what to do?

    Harvest. Just be sure to heft the hives after you remove the supers to make sure they have enough weight for winter. If they are light put a box back on...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    Hubert, North Carolina
    Posts
    374

    Default Re: Honey Supers full, again.. what to do?

    This time of year I'm managing honey stores more than managing the bee's. Some I have to remove frames to keep them from getting honey bound and others I have to give a frame or two of honey. I left more honey on my hives this year. It's nice being able to take a honey frame from one hive and give it to another. So far I'm saving money normally spent on sugar.

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