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Discussion Starter #1
I have 3 hives that are side by side. The first one is going like gangbusters. The second is doing okay. And the third {a swarm I got in May} is not doing to well, I think it swarmed again. So here is the question. The first hive has 5 supers about full. The second has 3 almost full. The last has 4 on it not even close to being full but the are slowly working on it. I don’t have any more supers to add so …..I don’t plan on harvesting any honey this year {1st year} and want to leave it for the bees to winter on. Would swapping out the empty supers on the weak hives and replacing them with full supers from the strong hive be acceptable? That was the plan for later on when it got colder so all hives would have plenty of winter stores. I guess I could buy more supers but it would be a week or more before receiving them and don’t think the strong hive will wait that long. Any advice or suggestions would be great.
 

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In my opinion (newbie here) you OK swaping supers.

Are these deeps??? If they are........ Why are you going to winter them with 4 or 5 supers??? In your climate a single deep would probably be OK. 2 deeps at the most.

How many frames of brood in your boxes??

Of more concern would be your mite load. Have you tested by either a screened bottom board or sugar roll??
 

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Just make sure each hive has enough honey for winter and harvest the rest. There is no point leaving on a bunch of honey they won't use. Sounds like you had a great first year. Enjoy your success! For your area I think roughly the equivalent of one deep full of honey is enough for winter. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.
You can shuffle honey frames and brood frames between hives to get your hives consistently prepared for winter. Just don't shuffle any bees around unless you use the newspaper method.
 

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You are planning on leaving on way too much honey. They only need about 60# of stores to winter successfully in your area, up here it would be 90-120#(total weight of hive). If you leave that much on they won't use it anyway, and you'll have to deal with it next year in order to reuse the supers. Harvest some honey, make sure each hive has enough to winter (upto 2 deeps would be more than enough), and enjoy your bee's hard work.

peggjam
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am using all mediums, should have included that info. 2 and half meds are full of brood and pollen in all hives and in #1 hive has 4 supers on top of that, and 2nd hive 3 supers on top, and forth hive 3 supers. But they are not full, so I did move frames of honey around to try and equalize and gave the 1st hive one empty super. Hope that works, Thanks 4 the feed back
 

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I wouldn't worry too much about equalizing, as long as all of them have enough honey in the brood area to make it thru the winter. Here in MN I would want 3 mediums with plenty of honey in them to make it thru the winter; you're going to need less. Take off the supers beyond what you need for winter, extract if you can, and keep the rest for emergency feed.

Sounds like you have had a very nice first season.
 
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