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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I apologize if this is listed somewhere, but I looked and nothing popped out to specifically answer my question.

This is the start of my second year and my bees survived the winter (Woohoo!). I have twenty frames in my two deep bodies, all completely drawn. The bottom box is nearly void of honey, but the top has 5-6 frames completely full of honey. Should I add a honey super as soon as things start flowering, or wait until the existing comb is filled with honey/larva?
 

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Yes, I would add just like normal. If you see that they have filled most of the top box, go ahead and add another. I've seen hives that store everything in the upper boxes and have the bottom totally for brood, filling every cell with brood and no room for honey or pollen. If they want it down in the bottom, they will fill those cells in first with honey and then move up, from what I've seen.
 

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I think I might put that empty drawn bottom hive body on top if there is no brood in it. I would make sure that the bees have some open combs for the queen to lay in right next to the brood nest. Use the search function and read about checkerboarding is my advice. Good job getting your bees thru the winter when so many lost theirs!
 

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In addition to checkerboarding, there is also a couple of very recent interesting threads on reversing the two brood supers.
 

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I'd put the super on right away. Waiting for existing boxes to be full, is to late. If there is nectar coming in, the bees need extra space for storing and drying nectar.

Last spring, at this time, we were putting supers on our hives, all the local folks telling us it's way to early. Not only did they start bulding comb in the ones that weren't built, when other folks were thinking about putting on supers, I was extracting the capped maple honey, and putting wet frames back.

I think it was Michael Palmer that suggested, the bees cant store anything in supers in the garage, they need to be on the hives.
 

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Grozzie2 has a point. Many of us here in the PNW let the bees keep the tree nectar "to raise brood" thinking it's too early for supers, and the flow too weak. A couple of my friends who supered in March were selling maple honey in May.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the advice. I opened the hive for inspection and they already had way more nectar gathered than I anticipated. Super added!
 

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question to rsjohnson2u and grozzie2....

Have you all added honey supers to your hives already? I'm also here in the NW and am watching my hives, it's still been pretty cool here at night (mid 40's) and struggling to get into the mid 50's in the daytime. We have some decent foraging going on with a light flow , but my (3) overwintered hives are still behind a bit. Tihs upcoming week for us should be a turning point with the decent weather and highs (finally) over 60 for the first time...
 

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I am considerably north of you, so, I would expect your stuff to be at least a couple weeks ahead of us.

I have not supered any hives yet. Spring is somewhat behind where it was last year, and the bees are still in just one deep. What we are seeing now, over the last couple of days the blooms have popped out on some of the early fruit in our neighborhood, and the maples are just starting. Bees are on 6 or so frames in the deeps, with brood on 3 of them now. Still getting down to within a degree of freezing at night, with more rain than sun daytime. What I do see in all of our hives, the drone frames have been filled with nectar, with brood frames beside that. They are getting started, but, until they are covering at least a box of frames, I'll leave the supers in the garage. There is still a lot of drawn comb in those boxes, thats empty and unused.
 

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I'd super now. I'll be putting another box on my "too many boxes" hive soon, as there are quite a few bees in there in spite of being all the way up to the top. Had a super of partial frames they never emptied out last fall on there, but they ran out of stores anyway. I want them to have room to process honey, we have quite a flow going with bees roaring in and out all day long, lots of pollen.

I have not managed to get into the hive for a full inspection, probably Thursday afternoon, Wednesday if the weather cooperates. I expect to find a super of nectar and the next two boxes down (mediums) full of brood, but we shall see.

Last year my brother and I were discussing when to harvest the spring honey when our beekeeping friend was discussing when to put his supers on... They can't fill them if they aren't available.

Peter
 
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