returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?
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  1. #1
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    Mar 2012
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    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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    Default returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Every year I struggle with this dilemma of wanting to get the wet supers cleaned by the bees, not wanting to do it as an open feeding (though I did that in previous years) ,and not wanting to spark a robbing frenzy. I think I'm going to try putting on a box on each hive in the beeyard so they're all equally preoccupied with cleaning the super, and also will do this as it's getting dark. What are some other strategies that work for folks?

    Another curiosity: i really wonder how the bees respond if you add a wet super into the stack above the QE and not above the inner cover. They always seem to get very agitated, and maybe some of the apparent robbing is the bees in a frenzy to get into the box in their own hive. I wish I had an observation hive so I could see how they deal with this sudden excess of exposed honey.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    Bedford, Massachusetts, USA
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    Default

    Funny you say this as yesterday I put out 3 frames that I took honey from. They are foundationless so there is not much on them. I put them about 8 feet in front of my 3 hives. Max I saw on them were 5-10 bees and one Bumblebee. This morning I put out a big SS bowl that had what was left of the draining, so maybe 3/4 cup?. I'm not home all day so hoping for the best but 2 of my hives are being fed inside.
    You gave me an idea as to put my inside feeder bin inside a Deep and that gives me enough room to hang the 4 used frames above it...... hmmm wonder if that would work for them just cleaning them or drawing them?
    -Linda

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
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    373

    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    My approach to harvest is this: I only have three, sometimes four hives. Double deep broads, 10 frames in the bottom and 9 in the second, frame feeder is never removed. Right now I have two supers with eight frames on and I extract every two weeks (if I can, if not I add a super).

    From now on until August, I inspect and pull frames every second Friday pm. I go through every frame, 2/3 or more capped frames are taken out. I don't use QE's out of principal and move frames with broad to the outside. I usually end up with one box (eight frames) of harvest every two weeks now until late July, then slowly getting less. If I have more then eight frames from a hive, I leave the space empty. My time from pulling to extraction is one day. I add the wet frames right back to the hives a day after pulling them, randomly and have had no problem with robbing. I do this too later in the season, but then remove a cleaned-out super after a day or two. It seems they take the honey from the top added super and move it down, never had any problem that the started filling hastily again, unless their is still good flow coming in.

    JoergK.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    Wakefield, Rhode Island, USA
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    593

    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Karenarnett "What are some other strategies that work for folks?"

    First, I do move or give honey via frames or whatever to hives in the Fall. I never move a frame of honey from one hive to the next but I will use some to start nucs. Reason is hygienic practice. I try not to move long lived pathogens from hive to hive.

    Complicated evolution for me: I just installed an old freezer in my little Bee-room along with a dehumidifier, a heater when need, along with the extractor. My room is about 90F + now from freezer and dehumidifier heating. This is great for early knife de-capping efforts and extractions (lucky me). I spin my frames to get them really dry ( fixed my dancing extractor and it works great. now). After extracting I freeze frames for several days to kill pathogens like Nosema C before reusing either before or after I water wash them. I will not put frames from the same hive back into that hive. I am planning on marking them soon - somehow - to help with summer reuse. I wash everything else out and feed my septic tank.

    I have no way of knowing if the extra work is effective. I have lost one hive in two years in an apiary averaging 10 hives to an unknown pathogens or undetected queen issue. I have "seen" Nosema C issues prior to this process along with serious internal pooping. I will continue to watch - maybe get a scope to "see" Nosema C.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Catskills, Delaware Cty, New York, USA
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Holcombe View Post
    Karenarnett "What are some other strategies that work for folks?"

    First, I do move or give honey via frames or whatever to hives in the Fall. I never move a frame of honey from one hive to the next but I will use some to start nucs. Reason is hygienic practice. I try not to move long lived pathogens from hive to hive.

    Complicated evolution for me: I just installed an old freezer in my little Bee-room along with a dehumidifier, a heater when need, along with the extractor. My room is about 90F + now from freezer and dehumidifier heating. This is great for early knife de-capping efforts and extractions (lucky me). I spin my frames to get them really dry ( fixed my dancing extractor and it works great. now). After extracting I freeze frames for several days to kill pathogens like Nosema C before reusing either before or after I water wash them. I will not put frames from the same hive back into that hive. I am planning on marking them soon - somehow - to help with summer reuse. I wash everything else out and feed my septic tank.

    I have no way of knowing if the extra work is effective. I have lost one hive in two years in an apiary averaging 10 hives to an unknown pathogens or undetected queen issue. I have "seen" Nosema C issues prior to this process along with serious internal pooping. I will continue to watch - maybe get a scope to "see" Nosema C.
    Hi Robert, it is difficult to discern n. cerana spores from n. apis spores. N. apis is the poop one, where as n. cerana is different, dwindling etc.
    Proverbs 16:24

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Campbell River, BC, CA
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    1,910

    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Quote Originally Posted by karenarnett View Post
    Every year I struggle with this dilemma of wanting to get the wet supers cleaned by the bees, not wanting to do it as an open feeding (though I did that in previous years) ,and not wanting to spark a robbing frenzy. I think I'm going to try putting on a box on each hive in the beeyard so they're all equally preoccupied with cleaning the super, and also will do this as it's getting dark. What are some other strategies that work for folks?

    Another curiosity: i really wonder how the bees respond if you add a wet super into the stack above the QE and not above the inner cover. They always seem to get very agitated, and maybe some of the apparent robbing is the bees in a frenzy to get into the box in their own hive. I wish I had an observation hive so I could see how they deal with this sudden excess of exposed honey.
    I used to worry about getting supers 'cleaned' before winter, but no more. We stack em up in storage as wet frames, then they go on the following season over the excluder still smelling like wet honey. Takes about 5 minutes for the bees to move up when we do it that way. Another huge benefit to having wet frames in storage, wax moths will avoid frames still wet with honey. If they dont, they get stuck in the honey and fail to reproduce.

  8. #7
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    Mar 2012
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    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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    432

    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Wow! Wouldn't that be nice. I live in an area that has a very large ant population, so wet supers would end up being an ant magnet. Good to know that the honey keeps the wax moths away.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Quote Originally Posted by karenarnett View Post
    Wow! Wouldn't that be nice. I live in an area that has a very large ant population, so wet supers would end up being an ant magnet. Good to know that the honey keeps the wax moths away.
    If the boxes are left unprotected, then the bees will first get the honey, then the wax moth will arrive. We have a small warm room where the supers go before extraction, it's bee proof. We stack all the wet supers in there for winter storage.

  10. #9
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    May 2015
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    Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Robert
    I never move a frame of honey from one hive to the next but I will use some to start nucs. Reason is hygienic practice. I try not to move long lived pathogens from hive to hive
    That's all nice and dandy for a few hives, how are the bigger guys are suppose to do this? I feel the bees are smarter than us, (particularly me) and they will have conventions anyway, spreading what can be spread. Perhaps are in gods country with warm, dry summers and cold, dry winters and many of the wet climate problems don't bother us.

    grozzie2 puts it in a commercial perspective and I feel he has a point.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  11. #10
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Quote Originally Posted by grozzie2 View Post
    I used to worry about getting supers 'cleaned' before winter, but no more. We stack em up in storage as wet frames, then they go on the following season over the excluder still smelling like wet honey. Takes about 5 minutes for the bees to move up when we do it that way. Another huge benefit to having wet frames in storage, wax moths will avoid frames still wet with honey. If they dont, they get stuck in the honey and fail to reproduce.
    I didn’t know that! Great idea.
    Proverbs 16:24

  12. #11

    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Wet supers attract moths more than dry ones, at least here where I live. Also wet honey supers must be kept dry and can't be stored outside, because of the air moisture. Activates the yeasts. So in my location and my conditions storing wet supers don't work too well. I store them dry.

    I simply stack the supers upon a hive. A sheet of plastic with a bee exit hole in between. Needs two days for the bees to clean the supers up. Even multiple supers. To avoid robbing, give the supers during rainy weather preferably.

  13. #12
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Biermann View Post
    I feel the bees are smarter than us, (particularly me)
    I disagree. If the bees were smarter than you, they wouldn't have moved to Alberta, it's to cold for people, never mind honeybees over there on the wrong side of the rockies....

  14. #13
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    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    Wet supers attract moths more than dry ones, at least here where I live. Also wet honey supers must be kept dry and can't be stored outside, because of the air moisture. Activates the yeasts. So in my location and my conditions storing wet supers don't work too well. I store them dry.
    Interesting, different folks with differing experiences.

    Our experience, even with dry supers, outside storage was a total failure. First year we moved onto this property we had no place to store supers inside, so they ended up on palettes outside, covered with tarps. That turned into a total loss for us, between mice and wax moths the whole stack was virtually nothing left to salvage. So in talks later that year with old timers around here, one of them said the moths will prefer the supers that had brood, ie cocoons in the cells, another told us they wont go into stickies. so that year we started doing things different here, supers are supers and never see brood. Mediums go over the excluder, deeps under. After extracting, supers go back into the warm room if they are not going out on hives again, and they stay in there until it's time to go on hives. Since we built the honey shed and started storing that way, have not had issues with wax moths, so, we aren't changing up how we do it now.

    I know another fells, does something somewhat similar. When they take the bees out to the fireweed for summer flow, every hive gets a deep box of new frames to draw out. Those get extracted in the fall then stored. In the early spring he uses them to hive a package, which becomes multiple nucs in time for spring nuc selling season.

  15. #14
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    Sep 2018
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    Northern Lower Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    rather than 1 wet for each hive , "IMO creating a bigger frenzy" I add the wets above an empty deep on a weak hive I need to feed.
    then the big full hives do not get fuller and the ones i need to feed get a head start.
    So I do like 5 or so on each Hive I want to feed a bit.

    Did worry about the hive it came from vrs the one I place it on, no longer worry about that.
    Do insure the holes in the supers, inner cover etc are all closed, as if bees can get in they will start to rob.

    I add mine after dark or very early AM when the bees are not flying.
    Week or so is enough to clean.

    GG

  16. #15
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    Jun 2009
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    Lyndhurst, va
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    When robbing is a problem, I wait until it gets dusky at night. Return the wet comb to the hives. Bees clean the comb during the night, and there is no, or very little robbing.

  17. #16
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    Santa Fe, NM, U.S.
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Quote Originally Posted by BernhardHeuvel View Post
    I simply stack the supers upon a hive. A sheet of plastic with a bee exit hole in between. Needs two days for the bees to clean the supers up. Even multiple supers. To avoid robbing, give the supers during rainy weather preferably.
    One of the better uses of old political yard signs, ten are still lighter than one 20"x16.5" of plywood/crown board and store so easily. People will stare when elephants and donkeys are in the same corral, lol. We get very little rain so I do it an hour before sunset.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    I just stack them back on the hives above the inner cover. Outer cover seals the boxes, if I remember I put the access slot in the inner cover down.

    Never had an issue with robbing by putting wet supers on, but they do occasionally start to fill them back up on me. Usually by mid June we don't have any significant honey flow, but this year they built burr comb in the empty spots in a couple supers, and started filling up the frames in the boxes above the inner cover. I'm leaving a couple supers on each hive in the hopes I'll get some fall honey this year, but typically they will empty them and move it down into the two deeps (or a deep and a couple mediums) I use for brood boxes late in the summer.

    I store them dry, but have had to use moth crystals to keep the wax moths out. Lots of crystals, since I'm up to 40-50 boxes of various frames to store, some for honey and some from deadouts, etc. This year I'm investing in duct tape to tape the boxes together, hoping to keep the paradichloro benzene in and the wax moths out.

  19. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Travis, TX
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    7

    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    Return them at night.

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    frederick, md
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    841

    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    We put ours on the hives above the queen excluder. We put on a empty super then stack 2-3 wet supers on the hive, leave for around a bit less than 2 days, remove, all damage fixed, all wet is gone. No robbing issues. We put them on every hive. We put them on the hives first thing in the am, our day temp was heading to 90 plus.

    Afterwards freeze the frames, store in the basement until next year. I keep screening on the very top super to keep any stray moths from wandering in.
    Zone 6b: 27 hives in Maryland, Carniolan, Italian mix mutts: Still learning - started bees spring of 2014.

  21. #20
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    Jan 2013
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    Lumpkin County, GA
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    Default Re: returning wet supers after extracting; how to avoid robbing frenzy?

    I no longer put wet supers back on the hives. It is a hassle to clear the bees off the frames once they are cleaned. Additionally, the bees will begin filling the super again.
    I open feed the wet frames. Placing the supers on a lid will capture all of the wax that gets ripped up from the bees feeding. The bees will leave the supers at dusk allowing me to collect them for storage.

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