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I just put out all the supers I have. Some are completely built out, some are "checkerborded' with foundation next to built out. Its early in the flow here in the Hudson Valley NY but the reason I did it was : the hives that already had 2 supers were working hard some even had capped honey. The other reason is that I figured it was the best natural way of preventing wax moth to the on the supers to put them on the hive rather than keeping them in the hot shed.

Now a beekeeper tells me that too many supers too early (some hives have 6 on them one two deeps) stresses them out or cools them too much. Is that true? Is it bad to 'over do it' with supers?
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

"all beekeeping is local", this applies here. if it is warm out too much space is not a huge problem for a strong colony. too little space and the swarm committee will start having meetings. supers can get drawn and filled quickly this time of year. you will notice that I posted no number of how much super space, even with a similar climate only a few hundred miles more west than north of you there is not an exact answer.
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

I don't know about it being too cool to put on a stack of supers. If you have a big booming hive doubt it is too harmful if your nights are no longer cold.

Checkerboarding drawn combs with foundation on the other hand tends to result in a mess. Foundation is best drawn placed as tight together as possible with more foundation. Put a bait frame of drawn comb in the middle to get the bees working in the foundation if necessary.

Since waxworms seldom attack foundation, it might be better to take the foundation off until the drawn supers are partially drawn then undersuper with the foundation. That works great if your flow is intense and long enough.
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

I was told by a Master Beekeeper to "over super in the Spring". They'll fill what they can, but can never have too much space.
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

I don't think it has anything at all to do with "stress" or cooling, particularly in the honey supers - brood areas are different, where stress and cooling play a role. To me its about providing the proper amount of space as needed by the colony. It may take a few seasons in one particular area to get a good sense of what is the "proper amount". Now, if you had all drawn comb, then throw it at them - as much as you want, with consideration of populations of course. However, when you're asking them to draw foundation, you need to move in much smaller increments. I definitely agree with all the advice given by Vance in post #3, particularly the part on not checkerboarding foundation. I like to give whole boxes at a time when working with foundation (10 frames at a time in one box). I find you get less mis-drawn comb this way. I drop back to 9 frames (evenly spaced) the following season once I have comb that is nicely drawn.
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

9 frames in a 10 frame super cuts down on the amount of uncapings and labor for extracting. for commercial operations this is a factor to consider. more honey less wax, less time.
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

I think the major factor is what do you expect in the way of nectar flows? I'm thinking in your area you will have great flows so adding all supers at once should be great. The way I figure is this: So long as the bottom deep or two bottom mediums are drawn and full of bees, then adding multiple supers should not cause a problem at all. The strength at the bottom entrance will give great defense of the hive, and they will start moving honey up as flows come in. In some ways, I think the bees may work harder to fill space they have, so long as they are strong at the bottom entrance. But then you get the situation of an area where the flows are not long and strong, which is what I deal with. If I add too many supers, the bees tend to tunnel up through them raising brood, as the flows are not strong enough to keep the brood laying down with honey coming in fast enough to keep moving up over the brood. So in my case, I don't want to add too many supers too fast, or the bottom boxes end up empty as the brood keeps moving up.

I agree with not checkerboarding foundation frames in with drawn frames. They tend to over draw the already drawn frames and it makes a bit of a mess. I normally put two drawn frames in the center of a box of foundation when adding more boxes.
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

9 frames in a 10 frame super cuts down on the amount of uncapings and labor for extracting. for commercial operations this is a factor to consider. more honey less wax, less time.
I have used 8 for years now.
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

the general rule is to put another super on when the other is 80% full Before the flow ends remove any empty supers and crowd them so they will draw out the corners of the frames
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

If you have drawn comb and do not have small hive beetles you can stack on all you think they need and one more. They won't get full in the shed. If you are drawing foundation one at a time is best, putting on another box after the last is well started to half full.
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

If you throw on all the supers you have does it create a problem in the fall with half filled supers? (tunnel hive?)
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

>I just put out all the supers I have. Some are completely built out, some are "checkerborded' with foundation next to built out.

This is a very bad idea in the supers. They will fill the drawn comb and fatten it until it almost touches the undrawn foundation, making it impossible to get any of the frames out without flipping the box over and removing the box from all the frames.

>Its early in the flow here in the Hudson Valley NY but the reason I did it was : the hives that already had 2 supers were working hard some even had capped honey. The other reason is that I figured it was the best natural way of preventing wax moth to the on the supers to put them on the hive rather than keeping them in the hot shed.

As far as how many supers, you can pretty much double the space the bees have if they are occupying the space they have. So adding three medium supers when they have two deeps is no problem at all. More depends on other issues like SHB etc. Here I have no issues with SHB so I would pile them on a strong hive.

>Now a beekeeper tells me that too many supers too early (some hives have 6 on them one two deeps) stresses them out or cools them too much. Is that true? Is it bad to 'over do it' with supers?

It's all about the time of year, the strength of the hive, the coolness of the nights. With a really strong hive I don't think you can really overdo it. With a weak hive you can certainly overdo it. With a medium strength hive the weather etc. may have more of a bearing but you might be able to overdo it.
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

If they have tons of excess drawn comb they won't build much if any more - which includes minor repairs to existing comb and finishing partly drawn frames to a certain expense. If you don't get new comb built you can't retire old comb.

Last year I had lots of extra comb because of winter loss, and my honey was harvested out of rather ragged frames because of that - which made uncapping and extracting a much bigger chore.

This year I sold a lot of comb in nucleus hives, and had to use a lot of foundation. Low and behold I have just lovely comb to work with now because the ugly comb has been fully drawn out. Still making a good honey crop too BTW.
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

So, if I have strong hives, you feel it is ok to add 2 or 3 supers at a time to each hive, rather than adding them 1 at a time like I've always done? That is a whole new idea from what I was always told and what I have always done. I had one hive that swarmed last Friday......maybe additional supers would have stopped this?
 

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Re: Is is bad to put on too many supers?

So, if I have strong hives, you feel it is ok to add 2 or 3 supers at a time to each hive, rather than adding them 1 at a time like I've always done? That is a whole new idea from what I was always told and what I have always done. I had one hive that swarmed last Friday......maybe additional supers would have stopped this?
Yes.

"I want to REPEAT something I have said thousands of times, but some people just don't seem to understand. BEES DO NOT GATHER HONEY! THEY GATHER THIN, WATERY NECTAR! Since nectar might be 80% water and honey is only about 16%-18% water, bees might require 5 supers of drawn comb to store all that thin watery nectar until they have time to evaporate the water from the nectar and ripen it into honey that makes just 2-3 supers of honey. If there is NOT enough super space for the bees to store all this thin watery nectar, maybe collecting as much as 20 pounds a day, they will build BURR comb in every nook and cranny of the colony WARNING YOU THAT THEY NEED ROOM, and finding no more space, SWARM. Was that the bee's FAULT or yours? Take out "insurance" by providing too much space and provide it AHEAD OF TIME."

George Imirie's Pink Pages
 
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