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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What happens to a hive when it's full of honey? Even if it's four supers deep, if it's completely full, will the bees seek to swarm so the queen can keep laying eggs? Do the bees not slow down in bringing in honey even if the hive is full and the queen doesn't have space to lay eggs? Is it risky for the survival of the colony to abandon the hive to swarm when their supers are full?

If a beekeeper shows up to their apiary, and see their hives are full, will taking honey from the top supers be sufficient in providing them with space? Will the queen crawl up to the top super, even if it's four deep, to lay eggs up there? Or will this simply prevent the bees from filling up the brood chamber with honey, allowing the queen to lay eggs in the brood chamber?

If a beekeeper notices that the hive is completely full and does a honey extraction on the top super, should the beekeeper ideally take frames from the brood chamber, and swap them with the empty, extracted frames up top?

Would simply placing an empty super on top of a full hive, provide the bees with the space they need so they don't swarm?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Recently, I needed to add a super to my hives, to give them extra space for the spring that's happening now in Australia. Each hive was a little different, but they were all quite overdue for an extra super and was running out of space. I thought they would swarm possibly, but there wasn't much actual bees in the hives and I couldn't find any queen cells.

One hive was a single deep, it had a detachable base. Instead of adding a super on top, I decided to lift the whole thing off the base, and add a super underneath. I did this because the super was quite full of honey, and I figured I'd be creating more space for laying brood by placing the empty super where the queen prefers to lay, on the bottom super. Was this a mistake, or is this a good practice?

Another hive I had didn't have a detachable base. It only had two deep supers together, which were both quite full, especially the super on top was full of honey. I only had a manley sized super to add, so I decided to put the empty manley super between the bottom, and top super. The practice seems to usually be add the manley on top, deeps to have as brood chambers down below, but if I was adding a super to expand the brood chamber, to keep the queen laying and mitigate chances of swaming, did I do the right thing?
 
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