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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks, I have two healthy overwintered hives here in southern New England, both with two nice full supers I'm about to harvest. I'm debating what to do next - leave them off for the season or put them back on for a while. I've had the best luck overwintering in two deeps, no supers left on for winter. There's not a ton blooming at the moment, but we should get a nice flow from August into September. Both hives have moderately good capped honey stores already, but could probably use a little more. They way I see it:


1. Leaving the supers on means all the incoming nectar goes in the brood box, getting them well-provisioned for winter. BUT I don't want them to get honeybound or feel cramped and try to swarm.

1. Putting the supers back on will give them space to work with (maybe even another small harvest). However I don't want them putting all their resources up in the super instead of the brood boxes, just to leave them short and dependent on syrup once they come off later.


What do you guys typically do?
 

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Extract now, and consider extracting a few full honey frames from the brood boxes to make a bit of room if there's not much room for the queen to do what she does.

I like to keep my extracted supers on the bees to keep the risk of wax moth depredation low. If in the fall I have a super with honey that I don't want to extract, I put it below the brood supers (after picking open any capped areas), and they'll move it upstairs into the larder.
 

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I suggest you do alcohol washes on both hives now. If you need to treat, take them off for the season and treat. If you don't have any mites, or are well below thresholds, you can risk leaving them on to catch a Fall flow.

Keep in mind that my climate and season are vastly different than yours, but by July, I usually cannot afford to continue with honey supers on. I have to get my supers off and get my hives treated before August, or I will have mite loss.

Due to the severe heat here at that time, I do not have options that allow me to treat with supers in place. I put Apivar strips in half of my hives last weekend and I will put them in the remaining hives this weekend. I pulled my supers off on July 4. They will not go back on until next spring.
 

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I watch my supers for high percentage of capping. Some of my hives have four supers on. I start removing capped frames and whole supers in Sept. I try to be finished for mid-Sept. I leave the Golden Rod, Asters and Japanese Knotweed for the hive. I start looking for Varroa after I am finished. I then feed 2:1 syrup by mid-Oct to make up any short falls; weigh the hives in early Nov. to know if any hive is still short. I like 80 lb. plus for the winter; "plus" for big forageing hives. I do not feed again until next Fall. Your schedule could be a bit earlier as you are inland from me.
 

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Bork:

You have other beekeepers from New England chiming in. I defer to them. I was splitting hives in February when you were probably shoveling snow. Their experiences will be much more relevant to your situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, everybody. I've got my mite routine down pat, so no worries there. Now that I'm overwintering successfully, figuring out honey/nectar management is a big help. Much appreciated.
 
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