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What to do with supers after harvest

3944 Views 22 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Wisc_beek
I will be extracting several supers in the next few days. Is it best to put them back on the hive for cleanup or set them out away from the yard? Also is it OK to spin comb honey frames?
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I will be extracting several supers in the next few days. Is it best to put them back on the hive for cleanup or set them out away from the yard? Also is it OK to spin comb honey frames?
Freeze them for next year if you have the space. If not let them clean them up but the bees will destroy lots of the comb cleaning it up.
bosco, I have ten supers. No way I can freeze them. Put them on the hives or set them out? I don't want to start robbing.
I agree with them being damaged if you put them out in the open especially if there is a dearth; even the mid rib gets torn out. More apt to start robbing also. It is more trouble but safer results to put them on a hive above an inner cover with a feed hole and cover again on top. Sometimes they will start to fill them instead of cleaning them up. In that case I put them on upside down! I have started feeding back my partially filled supers that I see they will not have time to cap. Not something you would be playing with if you had a lot of hives and little time.
Thanks guys, I have dealt with and still am dealing with a small amount of robbing. I want to get the honey but I don't want to make things worse or create robbing.
I have the opposite experience. It has not always happened but when I have put wet supers on top of hives many times these hives will become robbing targets. I put them about 150 feet from the hives, set them on end and I spread them out. The bees rob them and indeed there is some wax left behind but I've never had the comb destroyed to any degree. I wouldn't know if the wax bits that I have found are simply bits that were left during extracting or from bees chewing but either way it was never enough to be concerned about.

I think most books say place above the inner cover. Maybe just make sure they go on the strongest colonies.

Once mine are dry I stack them in a sunny spot and have never had wax moths in them. YMMV
I use to put them back on the hive, and let the bees clean them up like that. Now, I just stack them 90 deg, to each other and let the bees clean them up. Normally, they are clean in a couple of days. After that, I stack them one on top of each other, about 8 high, then put a lid on them. I also place moth balls half way, and on top. Remove the moth balls about a month before you plan to put the supers in place on the hive.
I had this same question so I looked back in the archive and found many different ways to clean supers after extraction. Last year I placed the supers in the yard about 100 yards away from the hives and they become mostly attended by yellow jackets so I wanted to try something new.

Many people have commented on their strategy of putting their wet supers onto of an empty super onto of the inner cover. These people claim that the bees will treat the wet supers as a source outside of the hive and move all the extra honey down into the hive bodies. While searching the archive, multiple people commented on how the bees started refilling the supers and that resulted in partially filled comb by winter (not ideal).

My idea to prevent any foragers from bringing new nectar in is by convincing the girls it is a raining day by putting a sprinkler over the hives for a few hours. I believe all the foragers would be forced to do work inside of the hive like cleaning the upper supers while being unable to bring in new nectar. Your thoughts? A second question I have is what prevents the girls from moving nectar/honey from the hive bodies up to the empty supers?

I am a second year beekeeper, so I appreciate any feedback. Thank you!
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I wish this Thread had started last week. I put the extracted supers back on the hive this weekend, but I put the wax out for the bees to clean up. There are nothing but tiny scraps left. I'm not sure the bees did it. I figured it was a possum or some other "varmint".
I put mine in the freezer for 3 super at a time. After the 3 days, I let them thaw out and seal them up in a trash compactor bag (thicker than garbage bags...don't want to tear). Then I stack them out of the way until next year. Next spring I put them on the hives a little early so the girls can clean them up.
I really have doubts about the sprinkler idea. My bees fly in the rain all the time. Not complete downpours but if it is a shower and I have anything sweet around during the day they will fly. I think the sun will make them fly no matter if you have a sprinkler on or not.
One of the main things that I learned the hard way is that once the main flow is over the entrance reducers have to go on. I leave only about a 1"X3/4" hole for the entrance unless the hive is super loaded and then I make it bigger. It is so easy to loose a hive from robbing and it isn't always the melee that people describe. Google, "progressive robbing". You will find some interesting reading.

I like the idea of packing the supers away in thick bags after freezing.

I use BTA which is the active ingredient in Certan.
I also live in Chi--NW side-just extracted (July 18-19) 120 #'s of fully capped honey from 30 medium supers and 6 deep frames..2 separate hives.. Put the 6 deeps back in hive same day..
left 1 super on table adjacent to hives overnight... alot of activity-- bees, flies, wasps/yellow jackets.. put other two supers on each hive... very next day completely clean !!! --- all wax and honey removed- damaged comb (from extraction) being repaired.. Amazing!! They are still gathering nectar/pollen.... I expect to harvest more honey before September... This was my first extraction---- Outstanding!!!
Nice job garbear, That's kind what I am hoping to do. My area still has a lot of flow till fall gets here. I want to get them empty so they can maybe fill them again. When the main flow of goldenrod comes in I have it everyware on about 200 acres between me and the nature club across the road. I think I will place them back on the hives.
I assume you dont actually live in Chi... Most likely NW burb-- I would love to have 200 undeveloped acres next to me!! I live in a typical Chi lot-- 30 ' x 125'. Bees still find nectar/pollen though.. Our chickens (4) dont bother them.. I would love to see your operation !!
garbear, I am down state central Illinois. I live on 700 acres that is classified conservation. We have 128 acres of old growth restored prairie. Restoration started in the early 50's and continues today. I have a conservation club property across the road that in total is about 200 acres. The other three sides are hunting/fishing clubs and some crop ground. I will admit My girls are spoiled, they have a lot of good land to roam.
Three hours, You ever get down let me know I will show you around.
Why does your location say Chicago if you live three hours from there?
I too wish this thread was up last week before I extracted. I've put my supers back on the hives Sunday and now fear with I'll see when I look at them tomorrow. I guess I've left them on a few days too long :( I think my nectar flow is over down here in Southern Indiana.
I'm a second year and guess I screwed up yet again. I think this year's learning curve was much harder than my first year.
Internet provider. What is seen from a connection is the providers major hub. Central Illinois on my provider would be seen as Chicago. I would hope your not done. There are still several plants that have yet to bloom. Goldenrod and Iron weed for two. And they should be a ways out yet. Ashy sunflower are just starting.
I understand you to say after freezing you store them in a heavy trash type bag- Would it be okay to do them and keep them in my basement. Where is the out of the way place you stack them? Basement, Garage, shed?? Will they be safe from gross bugs since they have been frozen. This might be the way to go for me- once I remove them off my hives from the bees quick clean up of the wet extracted frames.
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