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During an ideal nectar flow, how fast can a 9 medium frames in a super be drawn and filled? We have had all the primers to have an outstanding flow here. We had enough chill hours this winter for anything that grows in Alabama, we had an unusually cool late winter that has pushed the blooming back further and tomorrow the sun is supposed to shine. We had a wet year last year and we've had an average to wet late winter and spring. Our main flow has just started but thing will break loose here with a few days of sunshine and low 80 temps that are predicted by the weather guessers. I don't want the bees to get ahead of me, and I need some idea of how often I need to check to see if a super has been drawn and filled. I have ZERO drawn supers, other than the one each hive is currently working on. When I add another super would it be advisable to pull half the drawn/full frames from the super beneath and checkerboard or should I just put 9 empty frames on top of the other super? Or do you add supers under the full super? I know many people add the new super to the top instead of underneath but I haven't figured out why, just yet....
 

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We are looking about the same here. Daddy is going around every day and putting on more supers as we build the frames and pop in the foundation. When a strong hive really gets to work they can draw and fill a super in 4 to 5 days.

If you only have foundation put in 10 frames not 9 or you will end up with a mess. Put the 10 frames of foundation on as a unit, don't checkerboard. If you do they will draw out the existing frames super wide and the foundation thin which is a mess.

You can top super or bottom super either one. But if you have a lot of hives you will get tired of pulling off full super to put new ones under them. We top super.

Johnny
 

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If I have one deep(Iknow your asking about mediums Ihave way to many hives to operate with anything other than deeps)I put on one super.If I have two deeps I put on two supers.If I have three deeps I put on 3 supers.Mathematically I figure 2 mediums 1 super if your supers are mediums.4 mediums 2 supers.I find it easiest for me to just put them on and be done with it .When I come back through to do routine inspections I can see the progress sometimes I seed some times don't need to.Even though I don't run mediums I hope I helped give you some idea.Somewhat similar to what Broke-T does but I put all my supers on at once.Just as Broke-T stated You'll get tired of pulling off full supers to put new ones under. I do it with a small twist by putting them all on right from the get go.I have too many hives to keep pulling supers I like to do it all at the same time.
 

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As Johnny says a medium can be filled quite easily in a short week with good conditions. I have always top supered and checkerboarded 3 or 4 frames per box. The thickness to which bees will draw out foundation when checkerboarded is entirely dependent on the intensity of the flow. The slower the flow the fatter the drawn combs and the thinner the adjacent foundation but I consider it hedging your bet because in such a slow flow it's also quite difficult to get bees started in a full box of foundation particularly if you are above an excluder. In an intense flow bees will draw out a whole box of foundation without an issue and if checkerboarded the foundation ends up nearly as thick as the drawn comb. Beware, though, if you are putting on a whole box of pure beeswax foundation in a light flow as bees will occasionally chew out some of the foundation in the outside corners.
 

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What Jim says is very true.That's exactly what they used to do when I ran with foundation.It has worked well for me to run foundationless in honey supers.The bees Go up than work down jump over and repeat.What are your major nectar sources in SD?
 

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Good info! Brad, we're just a little farther south than you and the forecast is looking great after all the rain we just had. Also, just noticed the privit is just starting to bloom, so that will add to all the clover that is blooming now! Last year being my first I started with 4 NUCs with fresh wax foundation and averaged adding one medium 8-frame super every 10 days to my strongest hives. But the way it sounds, I should check every 4-5 days with my strongest hives as they all made it through their first winter. Cool!!! :banana:
 

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Jim
Can you explain exactly what you mean by checker boarding? Sorry I didn't understand.
Thanks
As Johnny says a medium can be filled quite easily in a short week with good conditions. I have always top supered and checkerboarded 3 or 4 frames per box. The thickness to which bees will draw out foundation when checkerboarded is entirely dependent on the intensity of the flow. The slower the flow the fatter the drawn combs and the thinner the adjacent foundation but I consider it hedging your bet because in such a slow flow it's also quite difficult to get bees started in a full box of foundation particularly if you are above an excluder. In an intense flow bees will draw out a whole box of foundation without an issue and if checkerboarded the foundation ends up nearly as thick as the drawn comb. Beware, though, if you are putting on a whole box of pure beeswax foundation in a light flow as bees will occasionally chew out some of the foundation in the outside corners.
 

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checkerboarding is alternating drawn frames with frames with foundation in the boxes.

I would not do that, you get very fat combs and next to nothing on the foundation most of the time, they do better with all foundation, although they can be reluctant to draw it. Getting frames out when the comb extends under the top bar of the next frame is a pain.

If you use capped frames, they won't upcap and expand them and you get more normal comb.

Next year you can switch to 9 frames in a 10 frame box, evenly spaced. They will draw the frames fatter, which is easier to uncap (no digging out the cappings on shallow spots) and you get a little bit more honey that way.

Peter
 

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checkerboarding is alternating drawn frames with frames with foundation in the boxes.

I would not do that, you get very fat combs and next to nothing on the foundation most of the time, they do better with all foundation, although they can be reluctant to draw it. Getting frames out when the comb extends under the top bar of the next frame is a pain.

If you use capped frames, they won't upcap and expand them and you get more normal comb.

Next year you can switch to 9 frames in a 10 frame box, evenly spaced. They will draw the frames fatter, which is easier to uncap (no digging out the cappings on shallow spots) and you get a little bit more honey that way.

Peter
We use only 9 frames whether we are drawing new foundation or not and I'm not sure I have ever seen bees build anything more than occasional "bridgework" between the frames. We typically put on around 2,000 boxes per year set up D,D,F,D,F,D,F,D,D. Occasionally D,F,D,F,D,F,D,F,D. We have them set up in the winter as we are assembling frames as superintendent season can get pretty hectic. The only problems (and they are minor) are that occasionally the uncapper will not cut quite deeply enough to properly uncap the foundation if it was a weaker hive or a slower flow but it is a very minor problem in the extracting room and once they have drawn it out to any depth it can be treated like any other drawn comb the next time you use it. If I just had a few hives I would probably add foundation as needed to each individual hive to tailor the number of foundations to the strength of the individual hives but in our case we simply don't take the time to decide anything more than how many boxes a hive may need.
 

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During an ideal nectar flow, how fast can a 9 medium frames in a super be drawn and filled? We have had all the primers to have an outstanding flow here. We had enough chill hours this winter for anything that grows in Alabama, we had an unusually cool late winter that has pushed the blooming back further and tomorrow the sun is supposed to shine. We had a wet year last year and we've had an average to wet late winter and spring. Our main flow has just started but thing will break loose here with a few days of sunshine and low 80 temps that are predicted by the weather guessers. I don't want the bees to get ahead of me, and I need some idea of how often I need to check to see if a super has been drawn and filled. I have ZERO drawn supers, other than the one each hive is currently working on. When I add another super would it be advisable to pull half the drawn/full frames from the super beneath and checkerboard or should I just put 9 empty frames on top of the other super? Or do you add supers under the full super? I know many people add the new super to the top instead of underneath but I haven't figured out why, just yet....
Just curious ...do you have any drawn out foundation on these empty frames? Or are they just empty plastic foundation?
 

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Re: How fast can combs be drawn?

Semantics: frames are not drawn, frames are built by humans. Combs are drawn/built by the bees.

The answer, for me, is that it varies. Some colonies build foundationless combs on top bars or in frames, in about 24 hours or less, while other colonies do so much more slowly, taking several days, or never beginning or never finishing the task, at all. With all other conditions optimal, the best colonies can get it done lickety-split, and their queens fill them with eggs, as quickly as the cells have their bases formed. I prefer those, the slower ones I try to improve their status to be more like the quicker ones.
 
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