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Discussion Starter #1
That time of year when all us (we?) newbs fill the forums with the same old questions about foundation, queenlessness, supering, and so on. Haven't found exactly what I was looking for using search, so here goes:

For the thousandth time, when to super?

My first year, I didn't super until 70 or 80% of the top deep had nectar stored in it, and was beginning to be capped before adding a super for "surplus" honey (kind of like when getting foundation drawn). The brood was essentially confined to the bottom deep. This system left good winter stores, about twice what my frugal Carnies ended up using that winter, but only six medium frames to extract, as I supered near the end of the flow using this approach.

Last year, I supered as the flow started, and got a deep of honey per hive in the super(s), BUT, almost no stores in the brood nest. We have almost no flow after blackberries end in June/July. I was forced with putting the super's honey back down in the brood boxes, and/or feeding syrup to make weight.

This spring is similar. Other than the two outer frames in each box (ten frame/two deep brood nest), there is no honey stored in the hive bodies. It's all bee bread and brood, and our flow is about to start.

So, what to do? I want to super now, to get all of the flow I can, but what entices the bees to put stores in the hive bodies for winter AND overhead both? How do you guys and gals get honey stored in the brood boxes when all of the spring flow is feeding brood, not being stored, the summer flow is short, with no fall flow for winter stores?
 

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Drawn comb works much better than foundation for honey production. Not a very helpful answer if you have none, but bees fill drawn comb right away, but only seem to draw foundation for me to put finished honey in. Very slow, and they leave a good deal incompletely drawn many times. Take very good care of your drawn comb over the winter, protect from wax moths and keep it dry.

Put all the boxes you think they will fill on the hive before the main flow starts. Make sure you have healthy bees and a strong hive -- you may want to feed early in the season, long before the flow, to get the bee numbers up. Use both pollen patties and dry sugar if you do, or syrup. You want lots of healthy bees if you have a short season.

You may also not get a very large amount of honey in your location. If that is the case, I would personally let them put the honey in the supers and feed them back up to weight in the fall with syrup. Not the best way to do it, but if you have limited nectar I don't know how else you will get honey.

Peter
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thirty five pounds is what the state tells us is "average" for western Washington. So, some are getting 150# and some nothing, I'm sure. Thanks, I'm leaning toward supers on as the flow starts, and see where I end up. I have drawn comb from last year, and some capped syrup/honey mixed frames in freezer from deadouts and frames rotated out to feed back.
 
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