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Will leaving an empty super on my new hives cause problems?

1607 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Mike Gillmore
Hello, first year beekeeper here. I have 2 hives from packages that grew to fill two deeps each. June 25 I put medium supers on both hives as they seemed to be over flowing with bees. Now, however, neither hive has drawn comb on any of the wax frames in the supers. It is my understanding that there is a significant nectar flow in August, so will it hurt to leave the supers on till then? Also, I have heard that I should not take honey this first year, but then I have also read that you should remove supers in September. Did I jump the gun by putting on these supers in the first place? I welcome any and all advice.
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You are doing fine. Do you have them in 2 10 or 8 frame deeps below the medium super? Are they drawn out yet? If not, I would pull off the super and feed 1:1 sugar water to get that drawn out in the deeps. They won't draw anything now. I am just down the road from you and we are entering the summer dearth. No nectar coming in = no wax being made to draw out frames unless you feed. But you don't want to feed with a honey super on because then you will harvest thick sugar water. Hopefully there will be a good goldenrod flow this late summer/fall. If your deeps are drawn out and full, then your bees will fill/draw the supers with goldenrod/asters this fall. You'll know when they are by the smell of your hives. I always take any honey in the supers off and have never had a hive starve the past 2 winters. Others may have a different take on that.
I have them in 10 frames and they have 8 frames drawn out in the top boxes. The top boxes seem to be filled with honey, brood and nectar. I haven't ventured to see what is in the bottom box for some time, but I'm guessing it is full. So I will leave the supers on and wait till later this summer. I have a lot of Japanese Knotweed as well as Aster and Goldenrod in my vicinity. What will my hives smell like, can you describe it? I did taste a little of the honey recently and it had a citrus taste which I thought was interesting. Thanks for the quick reply.
I did what you are asking my first year. Added a box of foundation and... nothing. Week after week I would check and no activity. Then middle of September and whamo! Drawn and full in a week. Amazing. They build comb when they need it. You'll be fine.:)
...Goldenrod in my vicinity. What will my hives smell like, can you describe it?
Goldenrod smells like dirty gym socks! You'll know it when it starts to come in.
I would do a complete inspection bottom brood chamber too. Move and brood down and honey up.
In your Fall flow, with Goldenrod and Aster, don't expect them to be drawing much comb. At that time of year they will not be wasting any resources on comb building, but will be filling every cell already drawn with nectar.
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